Friday, October 19, 2012

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

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?

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)

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 will be part of a public consultation next month and Guido suspects that the public are not going to like the fact that some 124 MPs have income from renting property they own and 27 of them are renting flats in London despite the fact that they already own property in the capital.

Despite this, Guido hears the more feeble parts of the Lobby are hesitant with hacks divided as to how heavy to go on this taxpayer subsidised property racket. Hacks for the popular press are grumbling that ‘the FT and Bloomberg are behaving like hand-jobs’ for MPs while the Telegraph, Sun and the Mail want to gun for them over the latest expenses scandal. The argument that because IPSA signed this off it must sounds dangerously like the defence employed in 2009. It didn’t last long that time either…


Seen Elsewhere

Comply or Die at Grauniad | MediaGuido
Labour Beats UKIP in South Yorkshire | LabourList
Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie


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