Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tories Tipped That Ruffley Row Was About to Go Very Public
Conservative Staff Threatened With Sack if They Joined Protest

It has been briefed that it was a ‘pincer movement’ from the Chief Whip and the Party Chairman that sealed the deal for Ruffley yesterday. They were kicked into action, finally, by the leak of this letter from the Dean of Bury St Edmunds, and tens of thousands of people signing an online petition. Crucially the Tories were also made aware yesterday morning of a letter planned for Wednesday’s Times from dozens of women affiliated with the Conservative Party. “Women problem” is an understatement.

Guido has obtained a copy:

We are writing to share our concerns about the behaviour of David Ruffley MP.

We consider it unacceptable that a man who has accepted a caution for assaulting his partner should continue in his position.

This Conservative-led government has a proud record of acting to prevent domestic violence.  On 2 July 2014 the Prime Minister asserted the importance of  Clare’s Law in relation to abusive partners, and on 8 March 2014 the Home Secretary said: “I am determined to see a society where violence against women and girls is not tolerated, where people speak out.” It is disappointing, therefore, that despite the Government’s strong moral stance on this issue, our own party has been slow to take any action against one of their own Members, who has accepted a police caution for assault of his partner, one of the crimes we are trying to prevent.

When Andrew Pelling MP was arrested under suspicion of assaulting his wife in 2007, the whip was immediately withdrawn, pending an investigation by the party’s ethics committee. We are pleased that the new Chief Whip, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP decided last week to launch an investigation into this matter, however, given the serious nature of the offence for which Mr Ruffley has accepted a caution, which is an admission of guilt, we feel that the Conservative whip should be immediately withdrawn.

The public has the right to be served by representatives who abide by the legislation that they pass through Parliament.

We are proud to be members of the party who first gave women the vote, produced the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons, as well electing the first female party Leader who went on to be the first female Prime Minister. For generations, the Conservative Party has lead the way in advancing equality of opportunity and equality under the rule of law.  Two people die every week at the hands of an abusive partner, and our party must demonstrate that no matter who you are, domestic violence is unacceptable

It was about to blow up, and blow up very publicly.

To those MPs who emotionally blackmailed and even threatened their female staff with disciplinary measures to stop them signing the above letter – and then grassed the plot to CCHQ – Guido says this. I know who you are, and you know what you have done. What I have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you…

HuffPo Bizarrely Equates Help for Heroes With Gaza Campaign

The political direction of HuffPo is becoming more niche every day, Mehdi Hasan divides his time between broadcasting on the Qatari government funded Al Jazeera channel and setting the tone of HuffPo UK’s coverage, which schizophrenically runs bikini-clad starlet stories next to Middle East coverage with a consistently anti-Israeli line. Last week they managed to combine the two issues by running a story attacking IDF soldiers’ girlfriends for sending selfies of themselves posing in their underwear with “I love IDF” slogans…

Al-HuffPo is covering itself in glory again this morning with a bizarre attack on the Help for Heroes charity for wounded soldiers. After England cricketer Moeen Ali was told he would be facing investigation for wearing “Free Palestine” and “Save Gaza” wristbands yesterday, a Mehdi minion writes for Al-HuffPo

“The ICC [International Cricket Council] should be braced for accusations of hypocrisy after they became the latest institution to embarrass themselves over the Gaza conflict. England bowler Stuart Broad revealed their Test shirts against India featured the “Help for Heroes” – the charity formed to help those wounded in Britain’s current conflicts – slogan.

In 2011, the England national football team were initially denied permission by Fifa to have poppies emblazoned on their home strip for a November friendly with Spain. Eventually, Fifa backed down and agreed a compromise with the Football Association that allowed the players to feature poppies on their black armbands to mark Armistice Day.”

The key difference being that the poppy campaign and Help for Heroes are charity campaigns to raise money for wounded soldiers and war heroes. “Free Palestine” is by definition a political statement. Not to mention that poppies and Help for Heroes support soldiers from the country for which Ali plays, rather than another country. Al HuffPo say the ICC should be “braced for accusations of hypocrisy”, but from whom?

Ruffley Resignation Raises Recall Row

The Recall measures announced in the Queen’s Speech would mean MPs on the Standards Committee, not local voters, will decide whether disgraced politicians should be booted out. David Ruffley’s announcement last night that he would be standing down at the election shows why it is crucial that parliament passes a proper Recall bill, not Nick Clegg’s fudge. 

Who pushed the Ruffley story and forced him to fall on his sword? Not his fellow MPs on either side of the House, who were either silent or actively trying to keep him out of trouble. The people saw things differently though…

Ruffley went mainstream because of the admirable work of women both inside and outside of the Tory party; from the Dean of St Edmundsbury’s devastating letter calling for him to quit; to the voices of women’s groups both locally and nationally, to the petition that amassed more than 40,000 signatures organised by an outraged woman. Guido understands 15 Tory women were going to publicly and openly protest Ruffley’s candidature tomorrow, some of them high profile. They were under immense pressure not to go ahead from within the party.

Ruffley will remain as the MP for Bury St Edmunds for ten months, earning more than £50,000 from his salary and pension contributions courtesy of the taxpayer when he should arguably be leaving parliament immediately. He cut a deal with the Tories and remains on board the gravy train. A Recall Bill that lets MPs decide whether their fellow MPs will face a vote is not going to work. David Ruffley shows more than ever why we need a proper Recall Bill to democratically boot out morally bankrupt politicians once and for all…

You can see all Guido’s stories about how the Ruffley story unfolded in full here.

Tories Map Ed’s Inadequacy in Labour Quotes
Interactive One Nation of Labour Criticism

This morning as Labour continue their summer assault the Tories are reminding everyone of the Labour Party’s own doubts about Ed Miliband with a new website, JustNotUpToIt.com:

justnotuptoit

The interactive map is populated with pins, click on a pin and a local Labour critique of Ed pops up. The map is, to coin a phrase, Ed’s One Nation Labour in their own despairing words. Have a browse here

Monday, July 28, 2014

BREAKING: David Ruffley to Stand Down at Election

UPDATE:

Chief Whip Michael Gove said:

“David Ruffley MP has given a huge amount to Parliament both on the Opposition Front Bench and as an outstanding member of the Treasury Select Committee. I am sorry that he will be standing down at the General Election in May 2015, but fully respect his reasons.”

UPDATE: 38,000 Sign Petition Calling for Ruffley to Resign

Senior members of David Ruffley’s Suffolk Tory association say they see nothing wrong with having a man who assaulted his girlfriend remain as their MP.

Do you disagree?

Then sign this petition calling for Ruffley to resign.

At the time of going to pixel over 33,000 others already have.

Add your voice here

UPDATE 5:00pm: 38,000 have now signed.

UKIP Steal Council Seat In Miliband’s Doncaster on 20% Swing

Guido would call Doncaster Miliband’s ‘backyard’, but given the Labour leader barely spends any time there, he will stick with ‘Ed’s constituency’. Either way UKIP are in the ascendency in Ed’s constituency, as proved by Thursday’s stunning Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council by-election that saw a 20.5% swing away from Labour in Edenthorpe.

UKIP took 41% of the vote to Labour’s 38%.

Suddenly Farage’s plan to hold UKIP conference in the area does not look so brazen…

Top Tory: Nothing Wrong With an MP Who Assaults His Girlfriend

Seven million listeners will have heard Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 phone-in on David Ruffley this lunchtime, many in Bury St Edmunds. The discussion was most notable for the bizarre comments made by Bernard Sergeant, an important local Conservative figure. Asked if Ruffley should resign, Sergeant laughed and replied: “We do have these odd female organisations that look for equality and I think they’ve got it these days.” Pressed further by Vine on whether “you can have as a candidate a man who beats up his girlfriend”, Sergeant replies: “Well why not?”

Guido wondered if that is the official line, before he remembered there isn’t one…

Spooks and Tories Jet Off on Israel Junket

Fair to say the Conservative Friends of Israel trip this week might not be ideally timed. The latest conflict has not deterred a hardy half-dozen politicians, including former spy boss Baroness Neville Jones and Jack Lopresti, the army commando turned Tory MP, from jetting off to see what is going on for themselves. Also heading off on the junket are Edward Garnier, Andrew Percy, Guto Bebb and Bob Blackman. All expenses paid, natch.

It’s Official: Guido is a Feminist

Guido was tickled this morning by the words of Andrew Speed, the chairman of Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association, who has dismissed critics of David Ruffley as “minority feminist groups”. Guido has always believed that this is a minority feminist blog…

That said, you have to wonder what Refuge, the country’s leading domestic violence charity, think about being labelled “minority feminists”. Not to mention the growing number of Westminster staffers up in arms. Let alone the members of Ruffley’s own local party who are increasingly losing patience with their MP…


Seen Elsewhere

Mysterious Case of Ruffley’s Missing Letter | Speccie
All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie
Left-Wing Anti-Semitism is Nothing New | Dan Hannan
Coe Pulls Out of BBC Trust Race | Mail
It’s Not How You Look, Ed. It’s How You Think | Hugo Rifkind
Mehdi Hasan’s Israel Spin Debunked | Breitbart
Labour’s Muddled Cam Attacks | Janan Ganesh
Ed’s Policies are a Pile of Fudge | Damian McBride
What Ruffley Standing Down Tells Us About Gove | James Forsyth


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Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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