MPs dropped a clanger on steel for Big Ben job: ANDREW PIERCE reveals British manufacturers never stood a chance of winning the contract

It emerged that British steel manufacturers never stood a chance of winning the contract for the extensive steel scaffolding that surrounds the Elizabeth Tower

It emerged that British steel manufacturers never stood a chance of winning the contract for the extensive steel scaffolding that surrounds the Elizabeth Tower

The appalling decision to use foreign steel for the £61 million renovation of Big Ben’s clock tower — which will be silent for four years during the works — has already been condemned by MPs.

But now it’s emerged that British steel manufacturers never stood a chance of winning the contract for the extensive steel scaffolding that now surrounds the Elizabeth Tower.

Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP in charge of the Commons Commission, let the cat out of the bag.

In a written answer he claimed: ‘It would have been unlawful to impose a requirement for the material used to be British.?

'The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 prohibit [us] from insisting on the use of products “of a specific origin”.’

The contract for the refurbishment had been awarded to developers Sir Robert McAlpine who promised to ‘achieve the most economically advantageous outcome’ — so they opted for cheaper steel from Germany, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

The Palace authorities appeared to go against the 2012 Public Service (Social Value) Act which requires the benefit to local communities and businesses to be considered ahead of mere cost when awarding public contracts.

‘The Act’s provisions cannot formally be applied to Parliamentary contracts,’ Brake claimed.

No wonder Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, whose Aberavon constituency is home to the giant Port Talbot steel plant, called on Parliament to adopt a ‘patriotic procurement policy’ so that ‘British steel, the best steel that money can buy, made right here on our doorstep’ is used in future.

?The Palace authorities ignored the 2012 Public Service (Social Value) Act which requires the benefit to local communities and businesses to be considered when awarding public contracts

?The Palace authorities ignored the 2012 Public Service (Social Value) Act which requires the benefit to local communities and businesses to be considered when awarding public contracts

...........................................................................................................................................Few were surprised in the Lords when it was revealed that former head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake, is to advise Comrade Corbyn on how to prepare for government.?

In his Civil Service role Kerslake had to be impartial and took his place on the independent Crossbenchers when he was made a peer in 2015. But many believe he’s sitting in the wrong place.?

In the last 60 votes in the Upper House he’s sided with the Tories only once, and Labour all the rest. So much for an independent voice.?

They do drone on....?

It’s not just voters who aren’t impressed with the quality of MPs.?

Impressionist Rory Bremner insists today’s crop of politicians are depressingly bland.

‘Philip Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, Chris Grayling, Michael Gove — a bit like a wasp in a jam jar, slightly drony,’ he protests in Country Life.?

....................................................................In public he insists he has no wish to take over from Theresa May as leader of the Tory Party.?

But old Etonian Jacob Rees-Mogg has nevertheless revamped his website, replacing in particular a picture of him looking down with one of him with a beaming smile.?

Filmed in front of photos of Winston Churchill and Theresa May, he talks about his role as a ‘champion’ of his constituents, and argues for a blizzard of ‘new ideas’.?

Sounds like he’s on manoeuvres to me.?

....................................................................Communities Secretary Sajid Javid shared a platform with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, both sons of immigrant Pakistani bus drivers, at the announcement of the design chosen for a UK Holocaust Memorial.?

Javid said: ‘A bloke came up to me, saying I was doing a fantastic job and could he have a selfie??

We shook hands and then I saw him get on the phone to his mate. He said: “Guess what, I’ve just met Sadiq Khan!” ’?

?

First he lost his job as Deputy PM after the humiliating 2015 election result. Then Nick Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam.

‘I have a small insight into the anguish of political defeat,’ he writes in the New Statesman.?

First he lost his job as Deputy PM after the humiliating 2015 election result. Then Nick Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam

First he lost his job as Deputy PM after the humiliating 2015 election result. Then Nick Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam

‘Crashing out of office after five years as Deputy Prime Minister was still an abrupt collision with electoral reality . . . but, in the end, all you can do is stare defeat in the face, accept it, and move on.’

So why is Cleggy trying to overturn the Brexit result of 16 months ago??

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