The Darling of the BBC

So another good day for Labour Uncut, with a second round of leaked extracts from Darling’s “Back from the brink: 1000 days at No 11” this morning. Guido’s literary eyes-and-ears, who have seen a copy of the book, reckon yesterday’s snippets were bang on the money and deserved the follow-up coverage that they got. While yesterday there was silence from the BBC, today they have leapt all over one line about bankers:

“My worry was that they (the bankers) were so arrogant and stupid that they might bring us all down”.

Search as he might, Guido’s man can’t find this quote anywhere in the book. There could well be some Beeboid red faces next week if it turns out to be nonsense. Guido isn’t sure how lifting a blog story fits in with their triple sourcing lock, but they wouldn’t want anything to get in the way of a good banker bashing now would they?

Their print cousins also seem to have got things a little wide on the mark. Compare their article from November with their one yesterday:

Don’t believe everything you read in the papers…

UPDATE: The BBC get in touch to point out they did run the Darling story yesterday. On the website

They also say that they checked out yesterday’s quotes with the publisher. But are “attributing today’s to Labour Uncut”. Read into that what you will…

Polly Toynbee tells Guido…

‘You have devoted your life to poison and malevolence’

Gordon Brown when asked about Darling’s book:

“I am not going to get into politics today”

Ed’s PPS and MoD Lobbying Links
Dugher Denies Defence Meetings Dodgy

Barnsley MP Michael Dugher was chosen to be Ed’s PPS for a reason. It quickly became clear Chuka Umunna was way out of his depth in the role, so who better to replace him than a man who knows the party inside out and has worked in Downing Street, the MoD and various other government departments? However it’s not just Ed who has spotted Dugher’s talents in the past…

Though he ended up as Gordon’s Moussa Ibrahim at the end of the last government, between his days as Geoff Hoon’s Special Adviser at the MoD (2002-’05) and becoming Gordon’s last spinner in October 2008, Dugher took time out in the private sector, becoming Head of UK Public Affairs for global data giants EDS. He left the MoD just before the 2005 election and went to EDS in 2006, via a role in the Leaders of the House’s office overseeing Privy Council matters.

When Dugher took the role of EDS’s top UK lobbyist, the company said he bought a ‘wealth of experience from his under-standing of the parliamentary process’. However that’s not all he had to offer. A rather interesting FoI shows that EDS’s public affairs team, headed up by Dugher, lobbied MoD officials and Ministers some thirty-three times between 2006 and 2007. Crucially Dugher was meeting with Lord Drayson, who was in charge of procurement of equipment and support.

The relationship built up between the MoD and EDS paid off handsomely for the latter. In government Labour paid EDS a total of £4.2 billion for IT during their years in government. Including £2.3 billion for the troubled Defence Information Infrastructure contract which was signed when Dugher was still Hoon’s SpAd. The MoD paid EDS a further £570 million during the period Dugher worked for them. All very cosy. 

Surely there are rules against this sort of thing, Guido hears you ask. Well yes there are:

‘Under the terms of their contract, special advisers are required to submit an application to the head of their former Department for any new appointment or employment they wish to take up during the two year period after their last day of paid service.” 

Guido spoke to Dugher last night who claimed that the move was cleared by the Cabinet Office. However this clearance was only in relation to his last role working for the Leader of the House/Privy Council. Dugher says that the both the Cabinet Office and EDS were well aware of the move and possible conflicts of interest. However, the MoD tell Guido:

“We do not hold any data to confirm that Mr Michael Dugher has submitted an application to the MoD under “The Business Appointment Rules for Civil Servants” for permission to seek an appointment with EDS as a lobbyist. The requirement for Michael Dugher to notify the department of his intention to commence employment with EDS under Business Appointment Rules only applies for two years after his last day in service and therefore this requirement ceased from 2007’

Though he cleared it with the Cabinet Office, Dugher was back lobbying the MoD within two years of leaving as a SpAd, which doesn’t look so good. This is often the way with the giant revolving door of government and Guido only raises this all for one particular reason. Dugher is currently in charge of Labour’s own long-overdue defence procurement review. We all know how badly Labour’s spending on MoD contracts went. Dugher certainly has some inside knowledge of what went wrong…

The Glasgow Kiss

There are plenty of candidates willing to step into his half-moon glasses and whacky ties. Pop your suggestions below and Guido will do a round up at some point…

The Son of Brown Strikes Again

Adopting his old hero’s modus operandi, Ed has called for a coordinated G20 response to the latest financial crisis. Apparently it’s time for a “global Plan B”. Not content with being out of touch in the UK, Ed seems to be trying to tell every elected global leader that they are wrong too. Embarrassingly though, he doesn’t seem to realise that Gordon was actually Prime Minister when he was trying to carve a position on the international stage…

This one can be classified as a genuine Awkward Ed Miliband Moment.



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Quote of the Day

Boris tells the Sun:

“I think it’s a measure of his desperation, isn’t it, that yesterday we had one of the most absurd political spectacles that this country has ever seen. Not since the Tsar and Tsarina prostrated themselves and asked for economic guidance from Grigori Rasputin, has there been such a ridiculous political pilgrimages as the mission of Ed Miliband – the heir of Keir Hardie for heavens sake – to seek economic guidance from Russell Brand.”

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