5th June 2009
Ian Gibson Resigns Seat with Immediate Effect
Dr Ian Gibson has resigned his Norwich North seat with immediate effect. The decision comes after earlier this week Labour's National Executive Committee banned him from standing for the party at the next General Election following revelations by the Telegraph that he had "used his parliamentary expenses to pay for his daughter's London home before selling it to her for half its market value".
5th June 2009
Purnell Quits Cabinet Urging Brown to Step Down
Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell dramatically quit the Cabinet after the close of polls for the European and local elections. In a damning resignation letter, made public to a number of newspapers, Purnell writes to the Prime Minister "I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more, not less likely" continuing "I am therefore calling on you to stand aside to give our Party a fighting chance of winning. As such I am resigning from Government".
5th June 2009
Alan Johnson has become Home Secretary following Jacqui Smith's resignation. Andy Burnham moves to Health, replaced by Ben Bradshaw as the new Culture Secretary. Bob Ainsworth has replaced John Hutton as Defence Secretary after he quit the Cabinet and also announced that he will not stand at the General Election. Lord Adonis replaces Geoff Hoom as Transport Secretary after the Cabinet stalwart quit. Yvette Cooper replaces James Purnell at Work and Pensions. John Denham takes over as Communities and Local Government Secretary from Hazel Blears. Sir Alan Sugar has been hired by Brown in a business and enterprise advisory role and receives a Peerage. Alistair Darling is to remain in the position of Chancellor, while the others remaining in post include David Miliband, Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson, Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy. Click here for the full Cabinet listing from Downing Street.
28th May 2009
Kirkbride and Moran to Stand Down at General Election
The BBC is reporting that Labour MP Margaret Moran has said that she will stand down at the general election, saying in a statement "It is with great sadness that I have today informed the General Secretary of the Labour Party, following discussion with my family, that I intend to stand down as MP for Luton South at the next general election" continuing "However, it is very important that I make it absolutely clear that I have done nothing wrong or dishonest in relation to my claim for expenses and have at all times acted on advice from the House of Commons Fees Office in relation to my family home in Southampton". Conservative MP Julie Kirkbride is also understood to be standing down, writing in a letter to Tory Leader David Cameron "I truly understand people's anger about MPs' expenses, but I have been subject to a barrage of distorted press stories which I have sought to rebut".
22nd May 2009
Gurkha Settlement Policy U-turn
The Government has announced that all former Gurkhas who have given service in the British Army for at least four years and who retired prior to 1 July 1997 are to be eligible to apply to settle in the UK with their spouses and dependent children. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said ""We respect the will of the House of Commons on this issue and that is why I have now announced a new policy, the basis of which we have worked on with the Home Affairs Select Committee and Gurkha representatives".
21st May 2009
Lib Dem Chief Executive to Step Down
Lord Rennard has announced that at the end of the summer, he is to stand down as Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats. Writing to party members, Rennard said he wanted "to have something of a more normal life outside the Westminster bubble" in order "to be able to work more flexibly in future" due to a need "for family and health reasons" and that he has "struggled to maintain good diabetic control with the rigours of a very demanding lifestyle". Leader Nick Clegg praised Chris Rennard saying "It is impossible to exaggerate Chris' immense contribution to the Liberal Democrats over the years. Without Chris' unique skills as one of the country's most astute and effective political campaigners, I doubt that the party would now have the largest number of MPs in decades".
21st May 2009
Lords Suspended from the House
The House of Lords unanimously accepted last week's recommendation that Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor of Blackburn should be suspended from the service of the House until the end of the Parliamentary Session.
19th May 2009
Commons Speaker Quits
Michael Martin, Speaker of the House of Commons, made a statement at 2.34pm: "Since I came to this House 30 years ago, I have always felt that the House is at its best when it is united. In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of Speaker on Sunday 21 June. This will allow the House to proceed to elect a new Speaker on Monday 22 June. That is all I have to say on this matter".
18th May 2009
The Speaker's Statement on Members' Allowances
Speaker of the House Michael Martin made a statement on members' allowances in the House, addressing more the "men and women of the United Kingdom" than sittig MPs saying "we have let you down very badly indeed. We must all accept the blame and, to the extent that I have contributed to the situation, I am profoundly sorry. Now each and every member, including myself, must work hard to regain your trust. As a matter of urgency and within 48 hours I am calling the Prime <inister and party leaders, including the minority parties, to meet with me and the other members of the House of Commons Commission" wanting the "discussion to centre on the Additional Costs Allowance and all those matters that have caused the greatest controversy and most anger with the public".
15th May 2009
Malik Steps Aside over Alleged Breach of Ministerial Code
Justice Minister Shahid Malik has stepped away from his current position over allegations in the Telegraph of the payment of subsidised rent on his Dewsbury constituency home and whether this broke the Ministerial codes on financial benefits. Gordon Brown has asked advisor Sir Philip Mawer to investigate. Malik said "I spoke with the Prime Minister this morning and we agreed that the best way forward in the face of this specific allegation was for me to step to one side as an interim measure and allow Sir Philip Mawer to look into the matter. I'm pleased to have this opportunity to clear my name. I would like to make it clear that this inquiry has nothing whatsoever to do with my expense claims but relates to an allegation regarding my rent which, if true, would breach the ministerial code".