Minister’s Murky Missile Mate

Further to yesterday’s exposure of the cosy relationship the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Defence Gerald Howarth has with the arms lobbying industry, it seems things get even murkier. Howarth gave Michael Wood of lobbyists Whitehall Advisers (whose clients included BAE Systems and Airbus) free reign of the Parliamentary estate in 2004. However it seems Mr Wood was not the only pass-holder sponsored by Howarth to be end up in defence lobbying:

Jefferson Communications spin for missile makers MBDASo Gerald, when did you last talk to Clark?

Exclusive : Prezza to Run for Labour Treasurer

The very idea of John Precott being in the Lords is one of the strongest arguments for reforming it. Though if that wasn’t enough, Guido understands the wheels are in motion for him to stand as the replacement of the newly elected Jack Dromey as Treasurer of the Labour Party.

Given this oaf somehow managed to reach the giddy heights of Deputy Prime Minister, he shouldn’t have too much problem sewing up this internal job. After Labour’s notoriously dodgy past of illegal donations, having such a competent and shrewd man liaising with the Electoral Commission can only be an improvement. Bad news for those who hoped John Prescott would just disappear into obscurity once in the Lords and spend all day at lunch. Guido has a feeling this is not going to end well though.

Even Now the Moaning Continues

The Guardian has a comprehensive round-up of MPs on all sides and of all ranks who are anonymously bitching about IPSA – the new expenses body, who have hilariously had to state that they will not tolerate abusive behaviour from Members. “We are being treated like benefit claimants. Why don’t they just put up a metal grille?”

Another said “What happens on a January night in London? I suppose I will have to take the tube, then a bus and then a long walk home. That is not safe.” Just like everyone else has to. Don’t these people realise that if the streets are unsafe then it is their fault?

It has also been announced today that the taxpayer subsidy on food on the Parliamentary Estate is to end, with prices being hiked up to just-across-the-street level immediately. While their expenses have now been brought closer into line with the real world, still they moan about only being allowed to claim a taxi after 11pm. Have they ever considered actually paying for one themselves?

Dave Beats Down the BackBenchers

A Prime Minister is never more powerful than those first days in office. Cameron has taken full advantage to this in his far-sighted curbing of the 1922 Committee’s power. While it could have backfired spectacularly, the Tory whips just left the committee room smiling and the vote to allow government ministers voting rights in the old backbench committee went Dave’s way – 168 to 118.

It was a big challenge and as one on the backbench whispered last night “he’s smiling while kicking us when we are down.” Nearly a half of  Cameron’s own troops voted against him but the measure will allow the Prime Minister far more control in the future. It was a risky idea, but he didn’t blink. Next big test is on the European stage later today…

Diane Dives In

While the line seems to be that Diane Abbott’s entry into the Labour leadership race is welcomed, spare a thought for young Andy Burnham whose launch day has been spectacularly derailed by the shock Today program announcement from the Hackney MP.

Burnham had written for The Mirror this morning and had the day’s media planned, yet that has gone out the window now the race finally has some diversity. Within two to three minutes of being in the race Abbott also managed to upset fellow left-winger John McDonnell who has instantly refuted her claims that he would not be able to get enough signatures.  Abbott’s no-love-lost attitude to the Ancien Régime might just make this an interesting  few months…

Quote of the Day

Lembit Opik explains his new career as a stand-up comedian:

“All I’m trying to do is attempt to spread joy and felicity around the world.”

Ed Balls Campaign Diary*

Yvette still isn’t talking to me, I think she might be getting it in the ear from the sisterhood about not running. She refused to support me at the launch, she says she is “still thinking about who to support for leader”. Even Sarah went on about how much she loved Gordon. All I ever hear is “please let go of my arm.” Did you see the people I had to  stand next to at the launch? F**k me, these are the people I have to listen to.  Think it went pretty OK, didn’t use surgical glue on the eyelids and didn’t blink or stutter.  Therapist called to congratulate me, proof Gordon’s old pills work even past their sell-by-date.

As ever that  Murdoch-bitch Burley gave me a hard time on Sky – it was all “Gordon this, Brown that, you’ve got a tiny majority blah blah blah.” She’s just some bigoted old woman.

On the train back from the launch I had to listen to He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named slagging me off on BBC Radio Leeds. He zeroed in on my line that the bunch of salad dodging chavs I have to represent voted BNP, Stan said that was a killer line. The cheeky fact-checking f****r said he was backing me and urging me on to victory. Nicola says ignore him and stay calm.

Talking of bloggers, it seems that Sion hasn’t f***ed up the Labour-Uncut project yet, early days yet. It was much easier setting up our own blog rather than having to suck up to  Straw’s toking son or Draper’s old intern – who seems to be in Miliband major’s pocket anyway. What with Kerry McCarthy now backing me, it looks like the Twitternets will be mine.

I will be Leader.  I will.

(*As leaked to Guido)



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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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