More Question Time Briefing Leaks

Seems the last minute nature of the panel – it was supposed to be a Ken, Boris, Brian & Jenny Question Time until the BBC changed their mind – has prompted some hasty preparation.

This was found in the Marquis of Granby pub…

Leaked: Diane Abbott’s Question Time Preparation Notes

It’s amazing what you can find in a photocopier in SW1:

Drafted by Abbott’s staffer Gabe Trodd a former government spinner it is incredibly patronising given that Diane has been a TV professional since Gabe was wearing nappies.

Guido particularly enjoyed the preparation for dealing with “Dimbelby” (sic), the “listen to, write down and refer to the names of people that ask questions”, and the advice to at least try and look as if you’re not reading the “lines to take” notes from Labour HQ…

Mayoral Election Reduced to Whining

Just when the Mayoral election was getting a little bit dry, the fine people at Oddbins have lined up a special selection of wines relevant to each candidate:

Boris is apparently a Diane de Belgrave Haut-Medoc Bordeaux. “Just like the current Mayor, the wine has been around since 2008, is classic old-school with a posh upbringing and a fruity side” Guido would have gone with Blue Nun…

Thirsty Ken Livingston is paired off with a Cape Chamonix Pinotage. “The perfect wine for Ken must go with newts, carry real weight and also have legs – as it doesn’t look like he is ever going to retire.” He’ll have a crate of it, though surely he’s a Cuban rum?

Paddick is apparently a Berton Paddock Shiraz. The name aside apparently it has “liberal fruity characteristics”. Not your average jungle juice…

You may be able to win these in the caption contest tomorrow. Guido will get back to you on that…

Ken’s Tower Hamlets Allies in Vote Fraud Investigation


The Beeb and Standard are both running heavily with voter fraud allegations in Tower Hamlets. Ken’s allies in the council have been investigated by the Electoral Commission and today the  Met were called in. With just a week to go, this will be one to watch next Thursday…

Bryant Caught With Pants Down

When Guido leaked information before it appeared at Leveson, it had not been obtained via special access to the Inquiry, instead it had been acquired through good old-fashioned journalism. When Lord Justice Leveson tried to make him sign a confidentially agreement he refused. Chris Bryant on the other hand did sign one when he accepted Core Participant status…

When he ran hot and heavy to Parliament yesterday, Bryant had seen documents about Cameron’s meetings with Murdoch, which he had only received in advance of today due to his special status with the Inquiry. The Telegraph splashed it today…

After the good judge criticised Bryant this morning, albeit without naming him, the Tories are calling for him to apologise and surrender the status. Warsi has gone to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. When the DCMS Select Committee report comes out on Tuesday, the extent to which Tom Watson used his special access to that committee for commercial gain will become clear…

Clegg Adviser Helped Murdoch and Michel Seek “Easy Win”

The LibDems are continuing to claim that they are untainted by BSkyB bid revelations this week. While it is true that Cable’s SpAd Giles Wilkes set the example of how Adam Smith should have been dealing with News Corp spinmeister Fred Michel, the email chains are still damning for the party. When Wilkes rejected a meeting it seems that Michel went to other LibDem spinners and found success with Jonny Oates, the former Bell Pottinger director turned Clegg SpAd, who as Guido reported yesterday was happy to help and brief. But he didn’t stop there…

Paul Marshall, the founder hedge fund Marshall Wace, is a LibDem donor. Crucially he’s also an adviser to Nick Clegg.

Here not only does Marshall acknowledge a meeting with James Murdoch to discuss the bid, he also gives further advice, in writing, for Fred Michel to pass on to his boss:

He recommends BSkyB beef up their PR team and goes so far as to recommend his friend and Brunswick chief Alan Parker. All of this is so that BSkyB can get the “easy win” that Marshall clearly supports adding: “I wish you luck. You have built a great business and it must be very frustrating to be penalised for your success.” It doesn’t sound like all the LibDems were at war with Murdoch…

Watson Says Hold Your Nose For Ken
Digs Hole With Rebuttal

Labour’s part-time Campaign Chief Tom Watson is clearly regretting his outing on LBC this morning where he said: “Those Lab voters thinking of going to vote for Boris, hold your nose, vote for Ken.” Realising his mistake, Watson rushed to his blog to try to blame his own loose tongue on the vast right-wing conspiracy of a Standard hack tweeting the comment. In justifying his words, however, he has dug himself further into a hole:

“There are a number of people who tell us on the doorstep that they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow but are currently considering voting Conservative because they either a; like Boris Johnson or b; don’t like Ken.”

The Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party, with the responsibility for campaigns, casually concedes that his own voters are not backing their candidate. Stick to the Murdoch-baiting Tom…

UPDATE: In other news Ken is now said to be rowing back from his promise to release full set of earnings signed off by an accountant. Quelle surprise!

UPDATE II: LBC have made the full quote available:

“For once, I’m being totally candid with you. I’m saying to you, those Labour voters that are thinking of going to vote for Boris Johnson, hold your nose, vote for Ken, because that’s the way that you will help Labour. Let me also say, that having worked with Ken Livingstone, looking at his interview in The Guardian this morning, he has a beautiful dog. He’s got a Labrador. I shouldn’t say this, but there is an American maxim that when a politician is in trouble, get him a dog.”

Guido thinks Watson doth protest too much…

Hunt Defence Crippled By Home Secretary

Jeremy Hunt may have bought some time yesterday but he is by no means out of the woods yet. Miliband is touring the studios this morning calling him a “firewall” for David Cameron. Andrew Mitchell was sent out to Newsnight to defend Hunt last night and deployed the ‘Gordon Brown didn’t go when his SpAd resigned’ line. True, but two wrongs do not make a right…

Mitchell was curve-balled with a quote by the Home Secretary Theresa May from last week. Her words on the deportation saga are being pushed around this morning: “If any of my officials made a mistake, that is my responsibility…” 



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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