Laura Kuenssberg has reported that Boris Johnson “stole Keir Starmer’s thunder” after he supported a ban on paid political consultants and lobbyists.
The Commons will today vote on an opposition day motion tabled by Labour calling for a bar on “any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant”.
But in a surprise move ahead of the debate, the prime minister announced he supported such a ban, in an apparent attempt to draw a line under the “sleaze” allegations engulfing his Government.
Labour was furious when ministers later tabled an amendment which simply described this as a “viable approach” and voiced support for work the Commons Standards Committee was doing to update the MPs’ code of conduct.
It would remove measures in the original motion requiring the Standards Committee to come forward with proposals for implementing the ban and then guarantee time in the Commons for MPs to debate and vote on them.
Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: “Labour has put forward a binding motion to start to clean up our politics after the Tory sleaze scandal. The Conservatives are trying to water that down.
“Boris Johnson has been backed into a corner and one minute accepts our motion in a letter to the Speaker but then comes forward with an amendment that will remove the central part that guarantees that action will be taken.
“This is typical Tory dirty tricks.”
Steal his thunder
But according toKuenssberg, the move was tantamount to stealing Sir Keir’s thunder, much to the annoyance of those on social media.
The New Statesman’s international editor tweeted that “from an international point of view, it’s pretty curious to see the UK’s public broadcaster framing a norm-rupturing government corruption scandal primarily as a story of opposition positioning.”
While Tony Farmery replied: “I think you meant to say ‘Guy with 80 seat majority forced to copy policy of the opposition leader’.”
Others just wrote “‘WTF are the BBC playing at?” in bewilderment.
And Gordon McIntosh added: “Amazing how the BBC manages to spin a corruption disaster for the government as getting one up on Labour.”