+ + + Sir George Young Returns as Chief Whip + + +

Yet another job for an Old Etonion.

Virgin and Treasury As One on Osborne Story

The Osborne train story has been blown out of the water by Mitchell, coincidentally  but it’s worth noting that Virgin Trains has come down on Osborne’s side over the train row. The Treasury spokesman claims:

“The Chancellor got a different train than planned due to diary change following a series of meetings in his constituency. As he had no seat reservation on the new train which was crowded, he decided to upgrade – and obviously intended and was happy to pay. An aide sought out the train manager and paid the ticket upgrade.”

 And the Virgin Trains statement echoes:

“Rt Hon George Osborne, Chancellor, was travelling on Virgin Trains’ 15:11 Wilmslow to London Euston service this afternoon (19 October). 

The Chancellor, who was travelling in First Class accommodation, held a Standard Class ticket. As soon as the train left Wilmslow an aide went to find the Train Manager to explain the situation and arrange to pay for an upgrade. It was agreed that the Chancellor would remain in First Class and an amount of £189.50 was paid by the aide to cover the upgrade for Mr Osborne and his PA. The situation was dealt with amicably between the Train Manager and George Osborne’s aide. At no time was there a disagreement or a refusal to pay for the upgrade. Nor was there any discussion between the Train Manager and Mr Osborne.”

Almost word for word. Can anyone think why the government might be back in favour with Virgin?

+ + + Andrew Mitchell Resigns + + +

Tories are having an absolute mare of a day. This has to be the first time anyone has sworn in resignation to the PM:

Well that should kill the Osborne story…

UPDATE: What did it for Mitchell?

This was denied on Thursday, despite Guido’s witnesses.

Sunday papers were also getting very close on another aspect of Mitchell’s life…

Do You Have a First Class Ticket Mr Osborne?

When the train with Osborne arrived the rest of us plebs were kept away by police and iron gates.

Guido managed to snap Osborne and his entourage being smuggled out of a side entrance.

PICTURE: Osborne Smuggled Out of Euston

The picture Virgin Trains PR bod tried to suppress…

Pic via ITV

Osborne Forks Out to Avoid Plebs

The Chancellor did not do a Mitchell, but this little pr disaster could have been avoided:

That better be out of his pocket given the very clear IPSA rules on MPs travel…

PM Still Stalling on Bryant Questions

Chris Bryant may have been rude and obnoxious at PMQs when asking Cameron about his Leveson evidence and emails to Rebekah Brooks, but that’s not to say he didn’t have a point. The Prime Minister is still refusing to directly engage with Bryant, instead referring him to this letter he sent to Harman yesterday:

Dear Harriet,

Thank you for your letter of 17 October about my evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

As you will be aware, on 25 April, Chris Bryant made a point of order in the House in which he suggested that I had misled the House. In making this statement, based on confidential information obtained as a Core Participant to the Leveson Inquiry, he broke an Order made under the Inquiries Act 2005.

The information he used was inaccurate and therefore the suggestion that I had misled the House was not correct. Chris Bryant has apologised to Lord Justice Leveson for his actions and he has apologised to the House for misleading it. However, he has not yet apologised to me.

I am, however, happy to respond to your questions in full. As you know, I set up the Leveson Inquiry. I have co-operated fully with the Inquiry and given them all the material that they have asked for.

I am placing a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.

David Cameron

Why not just answer straight up?

You Are Subsidising Andy Burnham’s Property Portfolio

The Manchester Evening News is reporting that Andy Burnham is a rent-swapper. They accuse him of letting out a London home while renting another property in the capital at the taxpayers’ expense. It’s a bit odd given that the Guido did some digging around Burnham this morning and found that he has been claiming thousands of pounds worth of mortgage interest for his home on expenses. Either way a member of the Shadow Cabinet is taking public money to subsidise living in his London flat while renting out another London property at the same time. The people of Leigh should remember that in 2015. Many, many more to come…

Friday Caption Contest (EU Peace Prize Edition)

There’s signed copy of Philip Gould An Unfinished Life up for grabs this week signed by Alaistair Campbell, Georgia Gould, Dennis Kavanagh, Danny Finkelstein and Stan Greenberg.

Usual rules apply…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Lobby Hacks Divided on Covering Rent Swapping Scandal

IPSA say MPs renting out property they own “is an issue of their own private financial affairs over which we rightly have no authority”,  hinting that they will review the loophole that allows MPs to rent from other MPs. It […]

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

Jimmy Savile said in 2011:

“When I’m gone they’ll say, ‘I always thought he was straight but he wasn’t — he was crooked.’”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tory MP Peter Luff’s Rent-Swapping Sob Story

Peter Luff was one of the worst expense troughers – his expensive tastes demands from the taxpayers last time around included a £625 china service, £1,583 on dining room table, £500 for Aga servicing, £809.91 for a TV and another […]

+ READ MORE +



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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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