Lisa Nandy sparks Commons row by accusing Tory MP of corruption for backing Boris after cash pledge

Lisa Nandy sparks furious Commons row after accusing Tory MP Bob Seely of ‘corruption’ over his admission that he backed Boris Johnson in confidence vote after PM agreed to look at giving his local council more money

Seely said he backed the PM in confidence vote after securing funding reviewNandy told Commons the admission ‘sounds awfully like corruption for me’IoW MP demanded she withdraw remark, denying he asked for ‘a bag of cash’

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Lisa Nandy triggered a furious Commons row today after accusing a Tory MP of ‘corruption’ over his support for Boris Johnson.

She clashed with Isle of Wight Conservative Bob Seely over his admission that he backed the PM in Monday’s confidence vote after he agreed to review funding for the island’s council.

He was one of the 211 Conservative MPs  to back the PM, allowing him to remain in post despite a rebellion by 148 others.

Speaking during the Commons second reading of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, Ms Nandy said the comment made in a statement on his website ‘sounds awfully like corruption for me’.

Her suggestion provoked an angry response from Mr Seely, who was in the chamber and demanded she withdraw her claim. He said he had simply asked the PM to rectify a ‘policy flaw’ that saw it get less cash than other islands.

He went on: ‘So, did I ask for a bag of cash? No. And it is completely untrue of her to say so and she can get up now and apologise.’ 

But her attempts to check his website drew the ire of deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, who lashed out at the Labour frontbencher for looking at her phone while being spoken to. 

Ms Nandy apologised and withdrew her corruption claim – instead saying the comments looked ‘awfully dodgy’.

She clashed with Isle of Wight Conservative Bob Seely over his admission that he backed the PM in Monday’s confidence vote after he agreed to review funding for the island’s council.

Mr Seely denied asking ‘for a bag of cash’, adding: ‘It is completely untrue of her to say so and she can get up now and apologise.’

Speaking during the Commons second reading of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, Ms Nandy said the comment made in a statement on his website ‘sounds awfully like corruption for me’.

But her attempts to check his website drew the ire of deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, who lashed out at the Labour frontbencher for looking at her phone while being spoken to.

Writing on his website yesterday, Mr Seely said Mr Johnson was ‘the only one ever to promise an improved funding settlement’ for the Isle of Wight.

He said: ‘I voted that I had confidence in the Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party, although not without some consideration and only after discussion with senior ministers.

‘It is clear that some foolish errors were made during partygate. Boris has apologised. I hope now that he can focus on governing.

‘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. I will keep islanders informed.’

Addressing Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove this afternoon, Ms Nandy had said: ‘I saw that the member for the Isle of Wight said he had voted for the Prime Minister to keep his job after receiving assurances that there would be a funding review for his council. 

‘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 for me.’

Mr Seely later described Ms Nandy’s speech as ‘pretty dire’ and her withdrawal as ‘pretty mealy-mouthed’.

He added: ‘For the record, for the Labour frontbench and anyone else who wants to listen, I make no apology for persuading Government to treat the Isle of Wight like every other island in the UK.

‘The island is the most under-represented place in this country. I have twice as many constituents, we are separated by sea from the mainland, and I have to fight three times as hard to get any government to listen to me.

‘I make no apologies for speaking with passion and determination and I make no apologies for fighting tooth and nail.’

Pointing to the Conservative benches, he added: ‘The reason why there are so many of us here, not only in this debate but in this House is maybe, just maybe because we have a reputation for delivering for our folks and that is something that I think the opposite side of the House may want to take into account. 

After the furore died down Ms Nandy urged Tory MPs ‘chuntering and heckling’ on the benches opposite to look at themselves in the mirror.

The shadow communities secretary said: ‘Every single honourable member who sits there chuntering and heckling rather than standing up for their own communities needs to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves whether they are doing a good job for their own communities.’

Conservative MP Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood) intervened, saying: ‘How dare she suggests that members on this side of the House aren’t standing up for their community, when we are quite obviously aggrieved with the allegation that she has just made against a fellow colleague. So yes, we have got a right to chunter at her comments.’

Shortly afterwards, raising a point of order, Labour MP Emma Hardy (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle) asked Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing: ‘I wonder if I can seek your advice on how we can continue to have this debate in a respectful manner and stop the incessant chuntering and rudeness coming from members opposite.’

Dame Eleanor replied: ‘I’m perfectly capable of working that one out for myself. Thank you very much.’

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