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…” 

Labour Too Positive About Economy

On the day the recession returned with GDP coming in at what Gordon Brown would describe as “negative growth” the Labour Party released their first fancy Obama-style infographic on Facebook.

Unfortunately it was what is known in the trade as a ‘SMOG’ – a Social Media Own Goal. The bar chart was all too positive…

Speaker in Gay Harassment Scandal

The Speaker has been forced to deny allegations that he had harassed an openly gay male staffer. The adviser claims that he was only hired “for the purpose of pursuing a sexual relationship” and was harassed in person and by text message. Australia’s Parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper has stood down temporarily, but strongly denies the allegations, saying they came as a complete surprise…

Yellow Hands Are Dirty Too

The one time LibDem DCMS spokesman Don Foster said in the House earlier: “Politicians have been cosying up to the media for too long. Given press perception and actual impartiality, it is improper for politicians to make decisions about media ownership”. He would know:

Are the LibDem’s hands really clean here?

They have their own people in Murdoch’s world – take Sky’s Head of Policy David Wheeldon who was a former senior member of LibDem policy unit. Despite it being a matter for BIS and then Culture, the emails released yesterday are full of meetings with Jonny Oates – Clegg’s adviser who is a former director of Bell Pottinger and one of two controversial lobbyists at the heart of the Deputy Prime Minister’s team. Vince’s team were also calling Fred Michel unsolicited. There is no doubt that Vince hated Murdoch, but to suggest the LibDems are somehow saintly is a joke. They are trying to pretend they didn’t go to the News Intrnational party out of choice, when in reality they were not invited…

Ken Promising Full Silveta Accounts

Ken Livingstone has a tendency to shoot his mouth off and says things which are inadvisable, like criticising politicians for cosying up to News International when he himself is no stranger to Wapping:

Incidentally when Guido tweeted this picture yesterday twitter-idiots claimed it was a fake. It is absolutely genuine.

At the London Jewish Forum last night under pressure about his tax affairs Ken promised again that the certified Silveta accounts would be published online “shortly”. No sign of them yet. Only 20 days since he first promised he would..

Murdoch Calls Brown “Unbalanced”

While Hunt waves/drowns in Parliament Murdoch has been shining some light on Brown. The key quote from when the Sun switched to supporting the Tories in in late 2009 Murdoch confirms that Brown called to say:

“Your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative but to make war on your company. It never occurred to me that our lack of support for Brown would lead to obstacles in our plans for a takeover of BSkyB.”

A claim denied at the time…

+ + + Hunt SpAd Adam Smith Quits + + +

Hunt’s SpAd has been resigned for apparently speaking to News Corp without Hunt’s permission, but it does not stop there. Section 4 of  the Special Advisers code states:

“The responsibility for the management and conduct of special advisers, including discipline, rests with the Minister who made the appointment.”

That is also confirmed in section 3.3 of the Ministerial Code:

“All special advisers must uphold their responsibility to the Government as a whole, not just their appointing Minister. The  responsibility for the management and conduct of special advisers, including discipline, rests with the Minister who made the appointment. Individual Ministers will be accountable to the Prime Minister, Parliament and the public for their actions and decisions in respect of their special advisers. It is, of course, also open to the Prime Minister to terminate employment by withdrawing his consent to an individual appointment.”

With Hunt up at 12.30, Guido is wondering how he’s going to try claim his SpAd was acting rogue when last night he said the contact was authorised?

UPDATE: Adam Smith says:

“While it was part of my role to keep News Corporation informed throughout the BskyB bid process, the content and extent of my contact was done without authorisation from the Secretary of State. I do not recognise all of what Fred Michel said, but nonetheless I appreciate that my activities at times went too far and have, taken together, created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department, contrary to the clear requirements set out by Jeremy Hunt and the permanent secretary that this needed to be a fair and scrupulous process. Whilst I firmly believe that the process was in fact conducted scrupulously fairly, as a result of my activities it is only right for me to step down as special adviser to Jeremy Hunt.”

They have now admitted that there was wrong doing. The rules are very clear…

Adam Smith picture from Steve Back.

Rupert Murdoch tells Mr Jay:

“If you want to judge my thinking look at the Sun.”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Double Dip Misery Index

Despite the news that the UK is officially back in recession, the slump in GDP and year on year surge in this month’s Public Sector Borrowing figures have been padded by a fall in inflation and an 35,000 drop in […]

+ READ MORE +

PMQs LIVE: Murdoch Hunt Edition

[…]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + Double Dip + + +

UK GDP fell -0.2% in Q1 2012. Ouch…[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Ken Clarke tells the Ben Fellows trial:

“The idea that I would go strolling off in order to grope a man in an office is highly unlikely.”

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