Video: May lies about AggregateIQ undeclared-meeting PMQ – and dodges it again

may brock
May’s discomfort at Deirdre Brock’s AIQ question

Theresa May’s dire performance at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) has drawn plenty of comment – if your best weapon is a smear by Chuka Umunna, it’s clear you’re in trouble.

But one scene that hasn’t seen much attention is the question asked of May by SNP MP Deirdre Brock – and May’s incriminating avoidance-response that included an outright lie.

Brock asked May about her meeting last year with AggregateIQ, the data company co-founded by Cambridge Analytica whisteblower Christopher Wylie, which was at the centre of the Leave campaign.

Brock pointed out that May had refused to answer written questions about the meeting, so she was asking it at PMQs – and she listed the information she was still trying to obtain:

  • Why did Jeff Silvester and Zack Massingham visit Number 10 last autumn?
  • Who did they meet?
  • Who invited them?
  • What was the purpose of the meeting?
  • most importantly, why was the meeting not declared in the parliamentary Transparency Database?


May’s response that she would provide a written response now made a mockery of the point of PMQs – Brock clearly wanted an answer right then and made no attempt to disguise her dissatisfaction.

But May’s claim that “[Brock’s] letter has not been drawn to my attention” was false – and Brock can briefly be glimpsed making that clear, too.

Deirdre Brock has asked her question at least twice – and on both occasions, Theresa May did reply, but without answering the question. And it’s not a recent phenomenon – she had the question almost six months ago:

brock may avoid.png

This is anything but a trivial question. According to the excellent Carol Cadwalladr of the Guardian, this graphic represents some of the links between the various entities, far-right figures and AIQ/Cambridge Analytica:


It’s possible, of course, that the question was answered by a staff member, but it beggars belief, on a question of honesty and protocol – about a topic that was creating major headlines and embarrassment at the time as the allegations about the behaviour of data companies during the referendum campaign continued to emerge and which led to the extinction of one of the companies at the heart of it, that she would have heard nothing about it from her staff.

And ultimately, Mrs May’s name is the one against the non-answers to questions she denied having heard about.

And of course, we still don’t have a response to Deirdre Brock’s very pertinent questions about the nature and purpose of the Downing Street meeting – and, most importantly, why it wasn’t declared in the Transparency Database.

What is May so eager to hide? Why was she meeting with an organisation linked to Bannon and Mercer – and through others in that graphic to Russia?

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  1. One thing’s for sure, there was a very good reason why the Tory grandees had her keep a very low profile during the EU referendum!

    1. No doubt the ‘free press’ will leap on this topic with unbounded enthusiasm and persist with it for months. Or perhaps, it will not be mentioned again!

  2. We shouldn’t forget that the Tories, just prior to the EU Referendum, were so desperate for us to vote to remain that they spent £10M of tax payers’ money on producing pro-EU propaganda booklets which they then sent out to every household – to help us ‘decide’….

    There was, and still is, an equivalent web of tentacles that makes up the pro-EU monster which is financed by businesses, the mega rich and the powerful.

    Now that we are leaving the EU there is a chance, should Jeremy Corbyn win power, that we can renationalise the railways and the utilities (something that is forbidden under EU law and is enshrined within Article 106).

    It comes as no surprise then, that Richard Branson is funding a campaign to block Brexit and is calling for a second EU Referendum. I wonder why…

      1. There is conflicting information (see link below).


        The EU blocked the UK (who wanted to protect jobs) from financially supporting its steel industry. The EU blocked a similar effort by the Italian government who also wanted to protect its steel industry to protect jobs.

        The EU does not allow state support of businesses.

        We can vote for the state (government) but we cannot vote for the EU. This is undemocratic.

      2. Ella – I’m simply pointing out that the situation isn’t as clear-cut as you implied in your original post. You know, as well as I do, that I could (if I could be bothered) dig out a whole load of links that support my perspective. The continual miss-information and the propaganda war surrounding Brexit is unhelpful.

    1. I don’t remember getting such a booklet, so I’m not able to not forget. The reality is that we were ALL bombarded with propaganda from both sides for months. And in the case of the millions of people who read the right-wing press – which accounts for over seventy percent of the national and regional daily papers – THEY were being fed anti-EU propaganda on a weekly basis for the previous twenty years or more.

      1. I wouldn’t mind so much if EU nationals were offered a vote on EU membership at regular intervals. But they aren’t.

        EU nationals are forced to pay taxes to a system that gives them a little bit less back. A system that feeds an army of fat-cat, unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels.

        It’s only by a fluke that the British were offered a vote and it went against the ruling class.

        This is why, since the vote, the mainstream media has never ceased demonising Brexit voters. All of a sudden businesses have lost their cheap supply of EU national labour (the true purpose of Freedom of Movement).

        The EU also turned a blind eye to austerity. When 90 plus sick and disabled people were dying regularly, week after week, through DWP/Atos assessment tests, the EU remained silent. The EU’s civilising force for good, which its supporters endlessly wheel out whenever they feel the need to defend the EU was nowhere to be found.

      2. Ella, given the time Brexit is taking and the aggravation it’s causing even between largely like-minded people like Skwawkbox readers – would you really want a referendum of 28 populations every 5 or 10 years?
        Voting could be done electronically with little technical difficulty but the implementation would be a nightmare.
        Might as well have EU-wide referenda on every little issue.

        Sure, the EU is led by donkeys but so is the UK isn’t it?
        I’d argue we should work towards fixing both with closer co-operation and mutual support between EU socialist parties.

        No one nation can fight worldwide neoliberal-controlled markets and win – we’ll need allies and we have shared interests with EU socialists.
        The existing EU infrastructure could as effectively service our goals as it does those of the right.

        I think I’m right in this but I haven’t heard contrary arguments yet, antisocial old git that I am.
        Fill yer boots 🙂

  3. It seems to me that the LP Manifesto seized the moment of the Leave vote to its advantage. What is less clear to me, is the ways in which it becomes compromised, depending on the kind of deal that we end up with. These issues are important to me, should the end deal go to parliament, or even to the people.

    The link that Ella offered above (and also earlier) is useful in that the comments section acknowledges that the EU rules wouldn’t permit “monopoly nationalisation”, but points out that the EU would allow municipal and regional “not for profit” provision of services. I am not sure where this leaves state aid and state Intervention. I understand that there are “circumstances” where it can be allowed, but clearly it’s not a carte blanche – less than ideal for some – a realistic prospect for others.

    1. I think the working class are in denial about the EU.

      Individual events, defined by EU policy, have created a monolithic warning. It becomes clearer that the EU is a neoliberal entity designed to realise the goals of the ruling class at the expense of the working class. These individual events are:

      The EU inflicted austerity on Greece which caused a spike of suicides and homelessness.

      The EU-driven attacks on French unions and workings hours.

      The EU turning a blind eye to 81,000 sick and disabled Atos deaths in the UK.

      The EU turning a blind eye to Spanish police brutality in Catalonia.

      The EU creating a privatisation culture for Italy’s infrastructure which also capped amounts spent on it. Some blame the EU for the Genoa bridge disaster as well as the Mafia.

      The EU blocking the British government from financially assisting UK steel industries to protect jobs.

      The EU blocking the Italian government from financially assisting the Italian steel industry to protect jobs.

      The Four Business pillars which prioritise profits over workers rights and overrides collective bargaining.

      Article 106 which promotes privatisation and forbids renationalisation.

      The way the EU is pushing Germany to privatise its railways. Germany has already started by privatising the track infrastructure first, which mirrors what happened in Britain.

      The Freedom of Movement rule which allows employers to hire EU nationals at the rate of the EU member state they came from – which may be a lower rate. In essence this is undercutting wages. This happened when Sweden joined the EU. Some companies replaced Swedish workers with EU nationals to cut wage costs.

      The EU imposed austerity on Portugal.

      The militarization of NATO.

      1. ://www.redpepper.org.uk/the-trouble-with-being-both-anti-austerity-and-pro-eu/

  4. I saw the question asked on BBC parliament, and also saw May’s body language then – it told the whole story. This is a good one, but why is it being left to the SNP ? This is one for our front bench.

  5. This article isnt about brexit it is about the very credibility of our ruling classes and another clear example of how they massage/ adapt/ modify/ change / steamroller the truth; not for their benefit but to cover for their audacious incompatence and explicit dishonesty that if applied to us would result in a catastrophic outcome such as clear and quick disciplinary action/ loss of job or something more serious. The personal credibility attached to my job and clients is based entirely on my honesty/ openess and trustworthiness and i hold them sacrosanct for a third of an MPs wage. I can only judge them by my own experiences and because of that feel qualified to call some of them (not all) coniving and duplicituous. Anyone who can stand in the highest office of the state and lie represents a position and lifestyle that is wholly unrepresentative of me, my family and community; we are far too honest to do that and even if we were not the consequences would be too great for us to try.

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