Lisa Nandy forced to withdraw corruption allegation
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Lisa Nandy accused the Conservative MP of the Isle of Wight, Bob Seely, of corruption concerning his support for the Prime Minister in the recent vote of confidence against Boris Johnson.The Labour MP suggested Mr Seely was in favour of the Prime Minister due to “assurances” of improved funding for his constituency. The Tory MP erupted in defence of his discussions with Mr Johnson as he claimed Ms Nandy’s allegations were “completely wrong.”
Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing was forced to intervene in the fiery debate and blasted the Labour MP as Ms Nandy appeared distracted by her phone during an address from the presiding member of the meeting.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Nandy said: “I saw that the member for the Isle of Wight said he’d voted for the Prime Minister to keep his job after receiving assurances that there would be a funding review for his council.”
She addressed Housing Secretary Micheal Gove as she added: “Can I ask the Secretary of State, did he have knowledge of this, did he sign it off, because, let me say to him, that sounds awfully like corruption to me.”
Mr Seely interjected to dispute the claims of the Labour MP as he said: “She completely misunderstands and she gets it completely wrong.
He clarified the events as he continued: “Several years ago, the Prime Minister realised that the Isle of Wight was the only in the UK that doesn’t have a multiplier – so, the Scilly Isles gets a multiplier of 1.5, the Scottish Isles gets the Scottish Isles needs allowance.
“I said to the Prime Minister, will you commit to rectifying this wrong, which is a policy flaw, and he said yes and I reminded him of that promise beforehand.”
Mr Seely added: “So, did I ask for a bag of cash? No, and it is completely untrue for her to say that so she can get up now and apologise.”
Ms Nandy continued: “I of course gave the honourable member the right of reply, but I am quoting, literally and directly, from a quote on his own website.
“So, if those are not his words and those are not correct, I leave it up to honourable members to judge.”
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The MP for the Isle of Wight continued his fierce defence as he added: “This is a very serious allegation, corruption has been alleged and there is no basis for it and it should be withdrawn.”
As the debate grew increasingly heated, the Deputy Speaker interrupted and said: “This is a serious allegation.”
Dame Eleanor continued: “I’m not in a position, right now, to weigh up one side of the argument against the other because I do not have the evidence before me of whatever words were published and whatever words have been said.
“So, I would ask the honourable lady -”
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The Deputy Speaker paused her address to the Commons in disbelief as she noticed Ms Nandy was ignoring her declaration and looking down at her phone instead.
Dame Eleanor said: “No, no, she can’t possibly be looking at her phone while I’m speaking to her, she can’t possibly!”
MPs in the background of the scene could be heard denouncing Ms Nandy as one member audibly described the behaviour as “shocking.”
The Deputy Speaker regained her composure as she continued: “I would ask the honourable lady to get us over this part of the debate and we can come back to this matter at another time.
“Would the honourable lady please withdraw the – “
Dame Eleanor’s address was once again interrupted as the opposition side broke into cries of disapproval.
She erupted at the disrespectful nature of the MPs as she said: “Don’t shout at me when I’m speaking from the chair!”
The Deputy Speaker paused before she, once again, continued her address to Ms Nandy: “Will the honourable lady please withdraw the allegation of corruption, which is a very serious one, and perhaps find some others word to say that she disagrees with what the honourable gentleman for the Isle of Wight has said and then we can proceed with the debate and, if necessary, come back to this point at another point.”
Ms Nandy reluctantly agreed to rephrase her questioning of the issue as she withdrew her accusations of blatant corruption.
It is unclear exactly which statement Ms Nandy was “quoting” during her Commons tirade, although a statement on Mr Seely’s website explaining his support of the Prime Minister read: “I talked again with ministers about why a fair funding package has not yet been forthcoming for the Isle of Wight Council.
“I have been assured they will look at this again and will do so in the very near future, ahead of the ongoing review of local government finance.”
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