Thursday, November 13, 2008

Clive Efford MP: Lame excuses that make him look like a liar?

Yesterday I posted and linked to this story about Clive Efford, MP for Eltham. He basically told a constituent the following in a letter dated the 10th November,
"I am unable to sign Early Day motions as I am now a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS). Unfortunately, ministers and PPSs are prevented from signing Early Day Motions through parliamentary conventions"
According to the House of Commons Information Centre he isn't a PPS though. What's more what is this? An Early Day motion from yesterday, the 12th November, which Clive Efford has signed.

This raises a number of questions, is Clive Efford MP a liar? Has he broken the rules he so proudly espoused he had to follow? Or has he just used a lame excuse which has backfired?

Update: Clive Efford MP has responded to his constituent saying,
"The current list of PPSs have not yet been published as it is not yet complete.

As a PPS to a minister I am bound by collective responsibility and therefore cannot sign EDMs which call on the government to take action however sympathetic I might be to those EDMs.
Hmmm, the list was updated again yesterday and still nothing. The HoC Information Centre says they "aim to update this list within one working day of changes being announced" so let's see how long it takes.

Worth noting as well that his reply in November was to a letter written in August. He says, according to a comment, he was made a PPS in last couple of weeks.


Bob said...

Quality mugging of the incompetent there Dizzy.

Ps stabbing in Eltham Park on early Sunday am.

Anonymous said...

Mr Efford makes no mention on his website of being a PPS - I note his biography appears to have last been updated in August. Although he proudly mentions having been on the Transport Select Committee for 7 years, there is nothing in the Parliamentary Section of his website of this claimed promotion.

Martin S said...

Obviously some sort of anti-beer nutter. As well as being a liar, that is.

Anonymous said...

I expect the department which appointed him a PPS hasn't yet told the Commons Information Office about the appointment: the office will only update its list when it receives information from a department. Note that Ian Lucas is still on the list despite being appointed as a whip last month.

There may well be a convention that PPSs do not sign EDMs, though it isn't against the rules of the House.

Anonymous said...

I just called his office.

Efford is a PPS to Margaret Beckett.

The House of Commons list is "incomplete" say his office - ie missing his name.

Regarding EDMs, his office say PPS do not, by convention, sign motions which call on the government to do X or Y. But they can sign motions which do not impinge on government policy. Hence the contradiction twixt letter and the motion he signed.

His website has not been updated as his webmaster has buggered off.

See Dizzy. Much easier if you just pick up the blower.

(And I've no idea whether the stuff about EDMs is true, or whether he really *is* PPS to Beckett, I'm just reporting what his office said! No reason to disbelieve though...).

Charles Orton-Jones

Anonymous said...

Quite a few missing commas in that letter, too.

dizzy said...

"See Dizzy. Much easier if you just pick up the blower."

Charles, if you actually follow the link to yesterday's post by me you would not have had to waste the time because I did it already.

J J said...

The plot thickens!

Martin S said...

Ah, but Dizzy. Why would people bother to read what people write?

And as for Efford not bothering to help his constituents because he is a pps, perhaps Efford should give his constituents the contact details of another MP who would be arsed to help them?

Anonymous said...

But you didn't ask about the main point: why he signed EDMs but earlier said MPs don't sign EDMs.

His office provided a coherent explanation.

Not saying it is a good answer - but has a logic to it.

Does mean his answer to the Beer mob was rather misleading though (he should have said "these types of EDMs"), but not quite the barefaced lie you were/are suggesting.

If you really want to clear up his PPS status call Margaret Beckett (though Efford would have got to her first no doubt, assuming he really was making stuff up from the word go.).

As I said, pick up the blower. Get Beckett to answer definitively. Premature to call a guy a liar unless you've got all the answers.

Ps: To beg a question means to avoid answering a question by use of circular logic. Not to raise a question.

dizzy said...

Have fixed the beg.

Anonymous said...

David Borrow, MP for South Ribble, did the same thing a couple of years ago. Must be a standard bit of NuLab get-outery.

Anonymous said...

what a non story! a standard letter with a mis-print has been leaped upon by bloggers with too much time on their hands that don't understand Parliamentary convention. Still, lets not let facts get in the was of sensationalism...

To be clear, the convention is that members of the government don't sign edms that call on the government to change policy, or take action about something. the idea that this is a 'nu lab get out' is a little bit laughable really.

Is Efford a liar? no, not on the evidence here. Does he need to keep a tighter grip on those that send out mail merges in his office? yes!

Anonymous said...

I spoke to my MP: Efford was made a PPS sometime within the last fortnight - odd he hasn't bothered to update his website.

Bob said...

Why would he get a promotion now? Unless it is to protect himself from a putch with the SE London Labour party. Big rumours that the male half of the power couple wants a crack at Efford's seat.

Would allow someone into his seat, and then his mrs into their seat.

Thing is, Efford should lose the seat based on a decent swing to the Tories.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 18.33: being a PPS does not make you a member of the Government.