UPDATE: Guido understands that the BBC political teams have been told not to go away over the weekend.
For all their talk of engaging online and being so technically advanced, sometimes politicians painfully show just how of touch they really are. Most Twitter users at some point in the last week would have received a message from one of their followers or friends that said “haha is this you?” with a link. Classic spammer trick, it then spreads to all your followers. Harriet Harman has gone into full hysterical mode claiming in the House of Commons that her account had been “hacked” when Alan Duncan, a new gaffe-potential convert to the Twitterati, replied to what he thought was a genuine message from his old sparring partner. Far from Twitter proving this lot are in touch, more often than not it makes them look like morons. Perhaps it would be a more appropriate use of MPs time to be working on fixing that £178 billion deficit rather than messing around trying to look like they are down with the kids.
Guido understands that Andy Burnham is about to be in some deep trouble. Yesterday he said he “did not believe that a lengthy, adversarial inquiry would be in the best interests of health care in Staffordshire.” Today it has emerged that in 2007, as a Junior Health Minister, he signed off on one of four stages of the Mid-Stafford Hospital’s elevation to Labour’s coveted Foundation Trust status. This was despite four formal alerts about the hospital’s dangerous practises. The rest they say is history.
No wonder Dave was asking about this at PMQs yesterday. Guido just got off the phone with Julie Bailey of Cure the NHS, a local group campaigning for a full inquiry into the case, who said she had to go because “we’re just about to start filming” as Andrew Lansley was on the way.
After Burnham’s “tired and emotional” outburst at Lansley last week for the death tax posters, Guido senses he may be dodging Nokias by the end of the tea time news…
Without a hint of irony Alastair Campbell has broken cover and spoken out about Number 10 bullying. Not because he has had a sudden bout of atonement for his past sins, but in order to weigh into bashing Andy Coulson. If Bad Al and Prescott going on the attack against the media is all Labour can muster then things must be worse that was first thought. Alastair Campbell lecturing about bullying, who next? McBride?
The same edition of The Guardian managed to print this corker from Ball’s spokesperson too: “Mr Balls had always advised Mr Brown to stay out of any ‘move to oust’ Mr Blair.” They are not even trying any more. The lies just get more blatant every day.
“In the middle of the coup, the former welfare minister Frank Field went to No 10 to plead with Blair not to give way to Brown. “You can’t go yet. You can’t let Mrs Rochester out of the attic,” he said. Blair roared with laughter.”
– Andrew Rawnsley
After Guido’s story yesterday about the controversial and murky “Friends of Speaker Bercow” fund-raising group, it seems a member of UKIP in the Speaker’s constituency has put a complaint in to John Lyon about a letter he received. Guido imagines Bercow wouldn’t have been so stupid to have used the Speaker’s stationary to beg for money, but the secretary of the fund has said Bercow was responsible for drawing up and passing on names. If the allegations that potential donors were invited to the Palace of Westminster are investigated then this could be a serious problem for the embattled squeaker…
Phil Heatley, a politician in New Zealand immediately tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister when it appeared that a $70 receipt for two bottles of wine at a party conference had been accidently claimed on his expenses. Heatley told the press “I believe I’ve failed to live up my own standard and for that I’m embarrassed and immensely sorry.” He immediately repaid the money.
In other news it is thought that over £100,000 of the £1.2 million set to be repaid by British MPs is still outstanding, three MPs are awaiting trial and some of the worst troughers are still in government.