Latest updates: Dawn Butler ordered to leave the House of Commons after refusing to withdraw claims Boris Johnson ‘lied to the country’
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The Press Association has filed a longer account of what happened when Labour’s Dawn Butler was ordered to leave the Commons chamber for calling Boris Johnson a liar.
Butler highlighted questionable claims by Johnson, including his recent assertion that the link between Covid cases and deaths had been “severed”, rather than just severely weakened. She went on:
It’s dangerous to lie in a pandemic.
I am disappointed the prime minister has not come to the House to correct the record and correct the fact that he has lied to the House and the country over and over again.
Order! Order! I’m sure that the member will reflect on her words she’s saying and perhaps correct the record.
What would you rather – a weakened leg or a severed leg?
At the end of the day the prime minister has lied to this House time and time again.
I’ve reflected on my words and somebody needs to tell the truth in this house that the prime minister has lied.
If you are looking for some good books to read over holidays, you should read the Publishers Association’s list of summer book recommendations from parliamentarians and political journalists. It’s a good list, and it’s here (pdf). The press release is worth a read too, mostly for its use of the word quasquicentennial (125th anniversary). Boris Johnson is one of the contributors to the list, and he has chosen Evelyn Waugh’s journalism satire, Scoop. This essay, by Robert Hutton in the July edition of the Critic, explains why that is such an appropriate choice.
Alternatively, you could read Gordon Brown’s Seven Ways to Change the World, one of the best new political books that has landed on my desk in recent months and a reminder of what it is like to have political leaders who think deeply, with knowledge and creativity and moral urgency, about the biggest problems facing the world. It is an inspiring book, and an easier read than you might expect, even though the passages on global financial regulation are probably not what you would save for the beach. William Davies reviewed it well for the Guardian here.
In the early 2000s, Prime Minister Blair and President Bush discussed in private how the UK-US relationship might evolve. But what came forward from the Americans was something no British leader could be comfortable with: the possibility of the UK joining the US security apparatus as some kind of associate member, with the UK sitting alongside the president and vice president, the National Security Council, the FBI, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If this initiative had become known, there would have been a public outcry amid allegations that the UK was being treated not just as the 51st state but as a sixth agency. None of this transpired and the tried and tested system of high-level intelligence-sharing continues in its traditional form: for example, within the Five Eyes collaboration that includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK.
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