Multi-hatting Mike is rebuked in the Commons…

Mike ThorntonIn a bizarre exchange in the House of Commons earlier this week, Eastleigh’s MP Mike Thornton was put in his place by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

In a routine Parliamentary session on 5th November, “Treasury Questions”, MP’s were able to put questions to Treasury Ministers and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

As always, these questions covered a wide range of subjects including Energy Prices, Fuel Duty, Air Passenger Duty, Earnings/Inflation, Youth Unemployment and many more. The full list of subjects can be seen here.

Mike Thornton’s opportunity came after the first couple of question on Energy Prices, which can be seen here.

Wishing to move the line of questioning on to a different subject, Eastleigh’s MP, Mike Thornton (who still serves as Borough Councillor for Bishopstoke West) asked;

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer join me in congratulating the Eastleigh Liberal Democrat Borough Council on the large part it has played in bringing the local unemployment rate down below 1,000?

This earned a swift rebuke from the Speaker, John Bercow, who replied;

Whatever the worthiness of the efforts of the council to which the honourable Gentleman refers, unfortunately it has absolutely nothing whatever to do with Question 1.

The Speaker then moved on to the next question, which was about Fuel Duty, with Mike Thornton’s question remaining unanswered.

Speaking later in the week, on 7th November in a session on Transport Questions, Mike Thornton did mange to get the following question past the Speaker;

Given the major changes in the rural population over the past 100 years, which has made it increasingly difficult to provide an effective service based on the traditional mid-20th century model of rural bus services that is currently used, what research has the Department done to look at alternative 21st-century methods of providing a decent bus service in rural areas?

The reply, from Robert Goodwill MP, an Assistant Whip with responsibility for Treasury & DEFRA business, was notably short on goodwill;

I have already pointed out that in 2011 and 2012 we provided a total of £20 million in additional funding for rural areas. In some rural areas which are sparsely populated, there may be alternative solutions, such as dial-a-ride, car sharing or similar schemes, which may be more appropriate for the more remote rural areas.

These exchanges in Westminster are recorded in Hansard and can also be followed on TheyWorkForYou. We’ll also highlight some  of them here on Eastleigh News, from time to time…

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 


  14 comments for “Multi-hatting Mike is rebuked in the Commons…

  1. Rosie
    November 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I must admit I cringed when I read earlier in the week that Mike Thornton had asked for EBC to be congratulated! About time he dropped that EBC councillor hat and started acting like an MP!

    • david
      November 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      I cringe at Mike Thornton. .smarmy yes man

  2. Matthew Myatt
    November 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I am sure this was not Mike’s doing, but some stupid idea of Mr Keith House, who we all know is really pulling Mike’s strings.

    This will hurt Mike’s credibility within his own Fib Dem party and will only bring sniggers from the growing masses in Eastleigh who are just waiting to give the Fib Dems a right royal kicking, come the next local and general election.

    So I would ask the Right Honorable gentleman for Tatton, to join with me in congratulating the local Fib Dem clowns in Eastleigh, for being nothing more than a bunch of self serving, egotistical idiots.. IMO.!!

    • November 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      I have the same feeling Matthew, that the question was not of Mike’s doing but was an ill-advised suggestion from an advisor somewhere in Eastleigh..

      But he’s our MP and I would expect MIke to be astute enough to spot the pitfall of this sort of question, particularly whilst he remains a Borough Councillor. In effect Mike was asking the Chancellor to congratulate him…

      … as well as all the other Councillors and Council Staff of course…!

      The Speaker was right to kick it into touch.
      Well done John Bercow.

      • anonymouse
        November 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

        Having had the misfortune of hearing one of Mike Thornton’s speeches – ‘astute’ is definitely not a word that could be applied to him in any sense.

  3. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    November 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    At least he is getting up and getting involved – I think he is growing into the job and a huge improvement on his predecessor.

  4. November 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    So who exactly is pulling his strings?

    • November 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Well if Mike had got the answer he was seeking, I would expect “George Osborne congratulates Eastleigh Lib Dems” to be the headline on future issues of the Lib Dems campaign material, i.e. Focus, Standpoint etc. It would have been a real gift to them, politically.

      So I think the Puppetmaster (or mistress) is most likely to be found in the Eastleigh Lib Dems campaign team…

      • November 13, 2013 at 3:23 am

        Least we forget the other great Fib Dem newspapers. Like Eastleigh Voice, that assures us that the Fib Dems are protecting OUR countryside and green spaces. And who could forget that great colour magazine gem issued by Anne Winstandley (Deputy Leader of EBC And Fib Dem) on behalf of Chris Huhne,’SMILE’ magazine, in which the local Fib Dems went to great lengths to tell us what a dedicated family man the former Fib Dem MP was.!

  5. Sue
    November 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I really like John Bercow. He is a brilliant speaker of the house. As for Mike Thornton well he voted for the gagging bill and against a freeze on energy prices. I think he just does as he is told by his leader.

  6. November 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    So who is Mike’s leader?

    • Sue
      November 9, 2013 at 10:18 am

      in the house of commons I suppose he follows the Lib Dem whip. He’s become an MP for a party who are enabling the Torys to slash and burn. He is not a part of the Lib Dem party I thougt I knew.

  7. Steve
    November 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Think it is time the FIB Dems and Thornton were voted into obscurity – the local council make a mockery of the word democrat in their name. We have a council of yes men and women who don’t give a monkeys about the area or the people who live in it who change their standpoint to suit their whims at our expense (local plan being a prime example).

    Its time normal people not these political types (who follow their own agendas) became councillors. Sick and tired of the FIB DEMS in Eastleigh

    • Rosie
      November 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Well said! Had good experience of Lib Dem local councillors in the Winchester area some years back – they acted for the local communities and the local electorate. Not so here in the Eastleigh Borough area!

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