Mark Reckless: “To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department plans to support the European Year of Citizens 2013 campaign.”
Brandon Lewis: “No.”
It hasn’t been an easy few weeks for BBC News director Helen Boaden. First she was accused of blocking the Newsnight Jimmy Savile exposé, and now she has had to take to the witness stand to defend the Beeb over another alleged cover up. Twice looks like carelessness.
This time round Boaden was facing questions over why the BBC are refusing to answer a freedom of information request asking which scientists attended an infamous 2006 climate change seminar. The BBC Trust have admitted that the seminar led to an unprecedented editorial decision to no longer give equal airtime to opponents of the climate change lobby. Boaden and co’s refusal to disclose who spoke during this all-important discussion is suspicious to say the least. Why would they not want us to know who these “scientific experts” that dictated their editorial policy are? The legal costs billed to the license fee payer are rumoured to have hit six figures…
UPDATE: Tory MP Peter Lilley and former Chancellor Nigel Lawson have today written to the BBC complaining about bias in their coverage of climate change stories. Lord Patten has a lot on his plate…
The printed Hansard costs us a million pounds-a-year, or £1,538 per MP. With MPs now offered digital tablets on expenses should the 200-year-old transcripts of parliamentary debates ditch the printed version and go digital? You decide…
As we go to pixel 28 Tory MPs have now signed the rebel amendment calling for the EU budget to be reduced in real terms. One insurgent co-conspirator has passed on to Guido a document produced by the backbench rebels counter-whipping operation, accusing their own party whips of peddling “mis-information and spin” over the vote:
It’s all boiling down to a very difficult day for Dave tomorrow…
£90,000-a-year Communication Workers’ Union fat cat Billy Hayes managed to boost his salary by another £29,580 this year by converting backdated unused annual leave into cash. Normally annual leave must be taken in the period it is due but Hayes has been able to accumulate unused leave over twelve years and write himself a five-figure cheque. Furious CWU members have written to union bosses accusing Hayes, who seems to earn so much he has lost count, of “deliberate abuses of the union’s money”.
They also claim the CWU’s pension schemes are haemorrhaging money and have left the union “on the verge of a financial meltdown”. Not exactly what you call performance-related pay…
In spite of his rough ride at Leveson it seems Gordon Brown got off lightly considering the evidence that wasn’t heard by the inquiry. Guido understands that Linklaters, the law firm contracted by News International to conduct interviews with employees over phone-hacking, possesses a wealth of evidence on the Prime Mentalist that Leveson decided was outside his remit.
Sources close to Linklaters whisper to Guido that while Leveson only asked for specific evidence from 2008 onwards, they collected testimony from Fred Michel dating back to the crucial election-that-never-was period in 2007 that was not heard at the inquiry. This includes embarrassing details of failed attempts by Brown’s aides to lobby Murdoch for support and more significantly evidence that sources at the law firm believe show Brown lied under oath when he denied the truth of the infamous ‘declare war’ phone call. If anyone at Linklaters feels like doing the public a service, they know what to do…
Boris Not Moving to Uxbridge | Scrapbook
Cameron Toast if Scotland Votes Yes | Isabel Oakeshott
How to Spin the Referendum Result | Rob Hutton
Anti-Immigration Party Lets Left Into Power | Mark Wallace
Tories Well Ahead on Economy | Standard
Madrid Unveils Margaret Thatcher Plaza | Breitbart
Journalists Are Not Above Criticism | Media Guido
Guido’s Column | Sun
Carney is a Feminist | Kathy Gyngell
Middle Class Moralism of Owen Jones | Spiked
Booze-Fuelled Fight at Palin Party | Times
Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:
“Sunday, May 10, 1998
Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.
After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.
I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.
They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].
I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”