Friday, August 30, 2013

When the Private Eye material writes itself

BBC --

A further 30 Conservative MPs - including a number of serving ministers - are reported to have missed the vote, which was called at short notice during Parliament's summer break. Among those, it has emerged that international development secretary Justine Greening and foreign office minister Mark Simmonds were present in Parliament but did not make it into the Commons chamber to vote. A spokeswoman for Ms Greening said she and Mr Simmonds, who is responsible for Africa policy, were discussing another foreign policy issue during the vote. The division bell, which rings across the Palace of Westminster to alert MPs to imminent votes, did not sound on Thursday evening, she added, and the two ministers were apparently unaware the crunch vote on the government's motion was taking place. "Mark Simmonds asked to speak to her [Ms Greening] about a separate Foreign Office issue and took her to the ministers' meeting room, which is a small room near the chamber which ministers often use between votes, and the clerks did not ring the bell," she said.  But a House of Commons spokesman said there had been no fault with the division bell. 

[So as not be too obtuse ...]