Guido hears movements are afoot at right-wing Tory group Conservative Way Forward. The once influential Thatcherite organising faction has been a bit down in the dumps of late, with moribund campaign events and a rubbish party at Tory conference. It needs a kick up the backside and it sounds like they may have found the person to do that. A new team has taken over led by Donal Blaney; Guido’s learned friend at the other end of the red phone and Chief Executive of the right-wing madrassa, aka the Young Britons’ Foundation. This should upset a few dour types…
You can see why Huhne didn’t fancy listening to them in the dock…
The Guidogram round-up of the week is going out shortly.
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John Denham has emailed all Labour Party members asking them if they would like to be the party’s no-hope candidate in Eastleigh:
“As I’m sure you’ve already heard, following Chris Huhne’s resigation we’ll be fighting a by-election in Eastleigh. There are only three weeks until polling day on 28 February. There’s a lot to do in the meantime but Labour Party members like you have achieved great results in by-elections over the last couple of years – and I know you’ll do it again. But before all that, we need a Labour candidate and I wanted to give you the opportunity to put your name forward. Apply to be Labour’s candidate in Eastleigh by emailing your CV.”
Hopefuls have until Saturday to get their name in. Apparently “If you’ve never been out campaigning before, don’t worry – there’ll be training available.” Looks like they are all but sitting this one out then…
When Ed fell into Dave’s trap and refused to back the PM’s EU referendum pledge, one senior party bigwig will have been particularly disheartened. Judging by his speech at the Resolution Foundation last night it isn’t just Europe that has policy guru Jon Cruddas at odds with the Labour leadership:
“So, here’s the nuts of this. Simply opposing the cuts without an alternative is no good.”
Who could he possibly be referring to?
Coincidentally, over the last few days Labour have put up adverts for three new wonk positions, all with fixed-term contracts.
A love of colouring in blank pages is a must…
The Special Adviser code states:
“19. Special advisers must not take part in national political activities, which are: holding, in a party political organisation, office which impinges wholly or mainly on party politics in the field of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the European Parliament…
20(ii) …if they wish to take part in a General, European or by-election campaign, or to help in a party headquarters or research unit during such a campaign, they must first resign their appointment.”
Despite this, Nick Clegg’s SpAd James McGrory launched the LibDem Eastleigh by-election campaign last night from the Cabinet Office. The Tories reported him to the powers that be and now the Cabinet Office say:
“James has already apologised for sending the email. He has been reminded of the rules.”
He’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s so so sorry. Who he has apologised to was not mentioned, but an interesting precedent has been set; abuse taxpayer funded position to politic and you are fine as long as you are “reminded of the rules”. Guido imagines that some people over at the Department for Education will note the wrist-slapping with interest.
UPDATE: McGrory apologised to the Cabinet Secretary.
If you thought Lambeth Council’s posters warning of coming cuts were bad enough, wait until you see the warning on their website:
“If you claim benefits, it is likely you will receive less and may have to find work”.
“By George, I think they’ve got it…”