On 19 March, the BBC‘s political editor Laura Kuenssberg took to Twitter apparently to lament the fact that two newly independent MPs had lost their places on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee:
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 19, 2019
But her tweet left people scratching their heads. Not least because, as the Labour press team tweeted:
Select Committee and delegation places are allocated on the basis of the size of parties at the General Election.
It shouldn't need saying but it's entirely right and legitimate for Labour to fill our allocation – as every party does – to represent our voters in Parliament. https://t.co/rmyD8TSV2Y
— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) March 19, 2019
Many people couldn’t work out what “culture” Kuenssberg was talking about:
What 'culture', Laura? The one in which Ian Austin shouts abuse at Corbyn as he is apologising to dead soldiers' families over Iraq (who were present), the one in which he screams foul-mouthed & defamatory abuse at the Labour leader or the one in which he cheated the taxpayer…?
— People and Politics (@peepandpol) March 19, 2019
Very true – they have made no attempt to improve the culture in Parliament – abusing their ex colleagues constantly, misrepresenting policies of their ex colleagues, providing no policies of their own, rejecting democratic elections. We will be well rid of them soon.
— Greg Herriett #GTTO (@greg_herriett) March 19, 2019
Getting rid of two of the most enthusiastic fans of the war on Yemen and massive arms deals to dictators from that committee *might* actually be a start to the change in culture people want.
But then that's not the culture change you or the BBC would want
— Stan Monckton (@littlekeithy) March 19, 2019
In fact, rather than finding it ‘depressing’ news, many people celebrated the MPs’ removal from the committee:
Not depressing in the slightest – good news in fact
— Chris Cole (@Chris_Co1e) March 19, 2019
Not depressed at all..they forfeited their place when they left the party.
Austin in particular won’t be missed..example of his atrocious conduct to @MichaelRosenYes
Austin is also a well known bully.
— Janice Thomas☀️🐳 (@rednotgrey) March 19, 2019
One person was more direct:
Best news all day. About time the FAC got rid of warmongering gobshites in favour of people who have at least a passing interest in human rights and international law.
— Tom Gauterin (@Ruralmaestro) March 19, 2019
And another person pointed out it was the ‘analysis’ from Kuenssberg that was depressing:
This take from the BBC's political editor depresses me
— John Duncan (@Johntheduncan) March 19, 2019
No squatters’ rights for MPs
Kuenssberg’s suggestion that the Independent Group (TIG) might “change the culture” of Westminster was bizarre in its own right – as social media users highlighted:
I never thought for one moment @TheIndGroup would change the unearned sense of entitlement in Westminster. Seems I was right.
— Ed Poole (@edwardpoole1975) March 20, 2019
But as Labour’s press office highlighted, the party wasn’t acting vindictively – just following the rules for committees. Other people also called Kuenssberg out over this:
A journalist in your position should know this but in case you haven’t understood committee place are allocated by the strength of the party in Commons you wouldn’t allow members of another party using your allocation would you.https://t.co/OK0hQkOPGi…
— Lester Hickling #Welfare Rebellion✋ (@lester_hickling) March 19, 2019
Absolutely right that they should be replaced with actual Labour MP's! They're a private company, squatting in the seats they gained under false pretences and by-elections should be had asap for exactly the same reason – Labour voters actually being able to vote Labour! pic.twitter.com/ovZD3rjsJv
— TracieWaylingArtASMR (@traciewayling) March 19, 2019
That went well then…
It was left to Another Angry Voice to sum up the general mood:
The replies suggest this Tweet didn't go down quite the way you expected it too.
Presenting the likes of Austin and Gapes as some kind of fresh new challenge to the established order rather than living embodiments of it is really pushing the boundaries of Orwellian propaganda.
— Another Angry Voice (@Angry_Voice) March 19, 2019
Getting rid of MPs like Gapes, who was happy to go on what Channel 4 Fact Check described as a “Saudi charm offensive”, from anything to do with foreign affairs can only be a good thing. Especially for the people of Yemen suffering what the UN has called a “humanitarian crisis”.
Also, Kuenssberg, as the BBC‘s political editor, should really know better. Because this bizarre tweet which totally ignores parliamentary rules really does seem to be a new low.
Featured image via Twitter – BBC Politics
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