Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gillan’s Planted Shot at Dave

Welsh Labour MP Wayne David asked what seemed like vicious question at PMQs about the Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan:

WD: The Secretary of State for Wales has said that she is prepared to be sacked because of her opposition to Government policy on high-speed rail. Will the Prime Minister take her up on that very kind offer?

PM: I prefer to focus on the fact that in one year as Welsh Secretary, she has secured something that 13 years of Labour Welsh Secretaries never achieved, which is the electrification of the line between Paddington and Cardiff.

On first impression it looks like handbags at Welsh dawn, but when you consider that Guido saw Wayne and Cheryl enjoying a very public drink on the terrace last night, the plot thickens. As the HS2 debate warms up, did Gillan put her Welsh comrade up to remind the Prime Minister of her threat?

Exclusive: IPSA Makes Thousands of False Tax Declarations

The pen-pushers at IPSA are meant to restore confidence in the expenses system and avoid the pitfalls of paperwork cock-ups, deliberate or not, that have blighted Parliament for so long. Red faces all round then as it seems thousands of MPs staff will get a bit of a shock when they open their annual P60 certificate.

When IPSA was founded, they  hammered home the fact that Members would remain the legal employer of their staff. Their contracts make this very clear:

Staff pay-slips back this up. However, the P60 end of year tax certificates, sent to every staffer, state that the employer is “IPSA 7th floor, Portland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5BH”:

Simply not the case.

A P60 is proof that tax has been paid and the details are meant to be watertight. Guido understands this is what is known technically as “a massive cock-up” rather than a deliberate shift in the employment rules. IPSA have made clear they will replace the P60 with a correct one if staff complain, but it seems they weren’t going to announce the blunder publicly. MPs will be chortling into their subsidised pints that IPSA has messed up their own paperwork. The fact that IPSA can’t get something as basic  as Parliament’s P60’s right, doesn’t bode well for the rest of their duties…

Laura Kuenssberg Quits BBC for ITV Business Gig

An interesting move given she was tipped for the top Beeb job, though it doesn’t rule it out – Nick Robinson was poached back from ITV.  

Looks like it will be ITVLauraK on Twitter…

UPDATE: Seems it came as shock to ITV’s Political Correspondent:

UPDATE II: Laura will start as the newly created Business Editor in September.

Exclusive: Cam Rage Consultant On Permanent Leave

The consultant who flipped a switch when he saw Cameron, Clegg and Lansley in his ward with a camera crew who had not rolled up their sleeves, despite being told they did not have to by other staff, has been put on permanent leave by St Thomas’s Hospital Trust. A memo sent to staff on the 17th and seen by Guido explains lines to take regarding Dr David Nunn:

“Mr Nunn has requested leave. It would be inappropriate to comment further. At this stage we do not know when Mr Nunn will return to the Trust. Staff should be aware that media may phone without identifying themselves as media. It is imperative staff not answer any questions or provide information or personal opinions. If unsure, always decline to comment and terminate the phone call.”

Developing…

UPDATE: More details from the memo:

“For any requests for additional information or details about Tuesday’s incident, staff should always say:

I’m sorry, I’m not in a position to comment on that.

For any questions/approaches from media:

I’m sorry, I’m not in a position to comment on that.”

The Trust seem highly embarassed and went to great lengths to see the story shut down. Guido’s sources seem pretty sure Mr Nunn won’t be coming back anytime soon…

When Dave Liked The Generals Talking

As the Prime Minister tried to slap down his turbulent generals with a well rehearsed, off-the-cuff, “you do the fighting and I’ll do the talking”, Guido was trying to remember when he last heard Dave in such a combative mood. The last time the upper echelons of the armed forces spoke out so distinctly against the government was when Richard Dannatt hounded Brown’s handling of the Afghan war. Did Cameron tell the soldier to stay out of the politics then? No, he made him a Peer.

He then appointed the daughter of  General Sir David Richards, Danatt’s successor as Chief of the Defence Staff, to his personal office. Funny how General Richards has been putting a bit of stick about with those who have spoken out. However with more and more critics lining up left, right and centre to brief against the PM in the Telegraph, Miliband should be rubbing his hands as he prepares for PMQs. Unless he’s got some gimmick to try pull again this week…

Quote of the Day

PMQs LIVE: Greece is the Word Edition

Misery Index: Public Sector Dip Eases Pain

As the unions square up for a fight Guido’s Misery Index, the reality-based antidote to Dave’s blue-sky happiness index, is showing that people should be a little happier than they were in the last month. From the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics the decrease this month in the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement has eased the pain, slightly. The likelihood now that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is firmly in the hands of inflation-doves is that inflation will rip. One MPC member, Adam Posen, actually voted in favour of increasing the size of the Bank of England’s asset purchase programme (QE) to add fuel to the inflation fire.

Inflation has now been above target for two years, the Bank of England itself is predicting that it will continue to miss the target until early 2013. This could end badly…

N.B. Stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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