How Much Do Labour Love the NHS?

Well not very much if this afternoon’s debate on community hospitals is anything to go by…

Guidogram Going Out Shortly

The Guidogram round-up of the week is going out shortly.

Thousands of Westminster insiders read the Guidogram, everyone from Downing Street insiders to Fleet Street never miss it. Politics is back with a bang as Dave shuffles his pack. Don’t miss out on all the latest comings and goings.

Join the conspiracy and become a subscriber to the Guidogram, free, to keep in the loop. You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

No. 10: Dave Just Axing Not Chillaxing

Guido just put the Cameron drinking wine while sacking Gillan story to No. 10. Joe Watts of the Eastern Daily Press writes:

“Gillan’s sacking interview also appears to have irked. When she went in Cameron wielded the proverbial axe while drinking a glass of wine, I’m told; chillaxing perhaps. He didn’t offer her any though.”

As fun as some of the puns have been, it’s an official denial:

“Not true. He wasn’t drinking wine when he saw Cheryl and didn’t tell Caroline Spelman she was too old. Her replacement is two years older so that doesn’t even make sense.”

But then Dave also said no one cried, contrary to reports.

It’s been hinted this afternoon that Gillan and Spelman might be offered peerages, they might want to think about going on the record to deny tears and wine if they want that to happen…

Steve Field Scoop Confirmed Prime Minister's Spokesman Quitting for IMF

Guido was savaged when he wrote this piece back in May. No.10 denied the story on the basis that he hadn’t walked that day. Today the Prime Minister’s Spokesman Steve Field has announced he’s departing to join the IMF. A possible job Guido tweeted as follow up back in May. You’re either in front of Guido or…

UPDATE: Lest we forget what they said at the time:

Smirk.

Wandsworth Tories Worried About Whitewash

The news from Wandsworth Conservatives yesterday that a semi-independent inquiry into serious fraud covered up in the group has been greeted with scepticism by members involved in the exposing of the story. Two sources familiar with previous investigations are particularly unhappy. One emailed Guido saying:

“Every internal inquiry has produced a confidential damning report accompanied by a public “move along, nothing to see here” approach. They even made people sign gagging agreements in order to cover the discrepancies between the public smile and the internal stench. To reassure members and voters that Wandsworth Conservatives have not been complicit in fraud and electoral malpractice the Conservative Party need to commit to publishing the previous internal reports, this report in full and to rescind the previous gagging agreements. That those who know the facts and have been raising concerns have been ignored in this process points towards yet another attempted whitewash and yet another step closer to a full police and electoral commission investigation.”

Another added:

“Finally there is recognition of the huge black hole in the books. However, there is considerable concern amongst members that this inquiry is essentially just a way of killing a story before it gains any more traction. At the end of the day, the guy was sacked for charging thousands of pounds of personal taxi fares to party members and then falsifying accounts to cover it up. You don’t need to be a forensic accountant to work out that the law was broken, repeatedly.”

At the moment it would appear that the investigation’s findings will not be made public…

See also:

Labour's Absent Earners' Expenses Bills

David Miliband is earning £500,000 a year and rarely takes part in the cut and thrust of Westminster any more, but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the highest expenses claimants in the figures released by IPSA today. Miliband is the 20th greediest MP, trousering £170,500 in expenses over the last year. He needs it, they only pay him £116 a minute for his speeches…

Meanwhile the former Prime Mentalist claimed £127,197 despite the fact that he’s only spoken in one debate during the last twelve months.

Why are we paying so much for his travel when he never turns up?

Top 5 Piggy MPs

IPSA have released this year’s expenses figures. Here are the top five troughers:

  • Greg Mulholland, LibDem, £188,783
  • Stephen Gilbert, LibDem, £185,811
  • Alistair Carmichael*, LibDem, £185,389
  • Brian Donohoe, Labour, £182,003
  • Willie Bain, Labour, £180,923

Once again Tory MP Philip Hollobone was the lowest claimant at just seven grand.

More to come this afternoon…

*Carmichael has to fly to Orkney and Shetland so has an excuse for high travel expenses.

UPDATE: Greg Mulholland’s office has sent Guido this statement explaining his high costs:

Mr Mulholland’s staffing costs were higher in 2011-12 than in previous years as a result of the ongoing health problems of two members of staff in his constituency office, both of whom were unable to work for more than six months.    To ensure that he could continue to fulfil his parliamentary duties and work on behalf of his constituents he had no option but to apply to IPSA’s contingency budget, which provides additional funding to employ temporary staff to cover for sickness absence.   The additional costs were closely scrutinised and approved by IPSA.   Mr Mulholland is pleased that these problems of ill health have now passed and anticipates that his staffing costs will return to normal in the current year.

Video: Thick of It Episode One Teaser

Vince and Ed's Text Love In

Ed admitted after his speech today that he is in text contact with Vince Cable.

Balls was making overtures to Vince in the Indy today as well.

It’s as if there is a theme developing here…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Sour Grapes For Corby Tories Potential Candidate Not Posh Enough

Talking of Corby, Guido is picking up growing disquiet among local Tories – and not just because they are expecting a kicking in November. Corby Conservative council leader David Sims went rogue last week, slamming both Louise Mensch and the Tory campaign in his constituency:

“I will give her my full support but it’s going to be difficult. 

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Wind of Change in Corby

Writing in today’s Speccie James Delingpole has confirmed that he will run in Corby after all. Not for UKIP as previously touted, but as an anti-wind farm candidate:

“The stench from the wind industry and its many leech-like hangers-on is overpowering and it’s a disgrace that so few people are speaking up for the thousands of victims affected by it.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Shapps Tie Was No Lie

Guido called BS on Grant Shapps’ claim yesterday on the Daily Politics that his tie cost £4, but low and behold the new Tory Chairman has published the receipt:

This sartorial butchery shows just how much the party has changed.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Matthew Parris on the reshuffle:

“…not so much like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic as rearranging the sun-loungers on an increasingly aimless cruise around the Aegean.”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Full List of Sacked Ministers

Dave finally finished the reshuffle last night, appointing Sam Gyimah has his PPS. There were also knighthoods for James Paice, Edward Garnier, Nick Harvey and Gerald Howarth as well as a surprise Privy Council-ship for Lord Ashcroft. No.10 have published the full list of sacked ministers:

  • Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP
  • Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP
  • Rt Hon Sir George Young Bt MP
  • Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford
  • Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP
  • Rt Hon James Paice MP
  • Paul Burstow MP
  • Nick Gibb MP
  • Nick Harvey MP
  • Charles Hendry MP
  • Lord Henley
  • Henry Bellingham MP
  • Crispin Blunt MP
  • Jonathan Djanogly MP
  • Gerald Howarth MP
  • Tim Loughton MP
  • Peter Luff MP
  • Bob Neill MP
  • Stephen O’Brien MP
  • John Penrose MP
  • Andrew Stunell OBE MP
  • Sarah Teather MP
  • Baroness Wilcox
  • Edward Garnier QC MP
  • James Duddridge MP
  • Michael Fabricant MP
  • Brooks Newmark MP
  • Angela Watkinson MP
  • Bill Wiggin MP

Plenty of new enemies return to the backbenches.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Mitchell SpAd Transfer Mystery

As Tory MPs nickname their new Chief Whip “Fifty Shades”, backbenchers have been speculating whether Andrew Mitchell would be taking his Special Adviser Philipa Buckley over from the Department for International Development. Mitchell and Buckley are said to have developed a strong professional relationship, greatly aided no doubt by the extensive international travel required in his previous brief.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

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