Play the Chris Huhne Penalty Points Game!

Don’t have a date this Valentine’s Day? Why not console yourself by playing the Chris Huhne/Vicky Pryce penalty points game, courtesy of Mindwork Labs. Dodge the cameras and make sure those points don’t end up on your license. Huhne’s nine political lives are up, you better make the most of yours…

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. Dave and Ed never miss Guido, so make sure you don’t either…

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…

Eastleigh Naked Rambler Reveals By-Election Allegiance

The Prime Minister may have been in Eastleigh this afternoon but the LibDem campaign has received the biggest boost today: Stephen Gough, the local Eastleigh naked rambler, has declared he is a member of the LibDems and planted his yellow rosette firmly on his er, poll. They’ve got the big mo…

Via Southern Daily Echo

Dave’s Dinner and Ed’s ‘Surprise’

With Nick Clegg away somewhere, sadly we won’t learn what he is getting up to tonight for Valentine’s evening, but news of the other two party leaders has trickled out. Dave told an audience on the Eastleigh stump today that he had not done “that well at Valentine Day this morning”, so he is apparently cooking for Sam at the No.10 flat. Meanwhile Ed will be having a Chinese takeaway at his mansion in Primrose Hill. He told the Guardian that he would be catching up on BBC drama The Hour, adding sinisterly “There may also be a surprise.” Lets hope it’s a better costed one than his tax plan today…

Come Fly With Gordon

Last year the jet-setting Prime Mentalist came under fire for blowing taxpayers’ cash on flights from Scotland to London. Though most Scottish MPs take the train south of the border, Guido learns that over just a three-month period last summer Brown claimed almost £6,000 on expenses for air travel from Scotland to the capital. That despite not speaking in the House for a year.

Incidentally, in the last month he has declared over £320,000 in cash from speeches and advisory work that definitely goes to towards the full running costs of his office, and the rest he totally gives away to charity. With his once loyal lieutenants twisting the knife today and running for the hills, isn’t it time Gordon took the hint?  

Royal Cover-Up: Cabinet Office Refuse to Reveal Spy Secrets

Readers will remember how last month Guido revealed that Prince Charles had a spy on secondment in the Cabinet Office. There was a distinct whiff of a cover-up, Guido’s sources had no idea the mystery man or woman existed and the Cabinet Office refused to disclose their identity. This blog then learned that the Household of the Prince of Wales employee was on a “specialist policy” mission in the department. Guido has now received the response to his subsequent FoI request. It has been rejected.

Despite confirming they hold the information, the Cabinet Office is refusing to reveal when the spy began his/her secondment in the department, and how many days a week he/she works. They have refused to disclose a job description or reveal what responsibilities and duties the employee has, despite them being paid up to £30,000 of taxpayers’ money a year. They have also declined to reveal what level of security clearance he/she holds.

They cite the Data Protection Act, claiming “personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully”. Guido fails to see how any of the information he requested would contravene the DPA. This relates to how £30,000-a-year of taxpayers’ money is being spent, it is without doubt in the public interest. What possible reason could the Cabinet Office have for such secrecy? Guido will be taking this higher…

When Ed Defended Gordon’s 10p Tax Disaster

What a difference a few years makes. Here is Ed Miliband in 2008, defending Gordon Brown’s abolition of the 10p tax rate:

“When you make a big set of changes in the tax system, some people do lose out. That is a matter of regret. Of course it is. But overall these changes make the tax system fairer.”

In 2008 he agreed it was fair, now Ed and Ed are landing their old boss in it. “Gordon Brown was wrong”…

Miliband Bounced Into Speech Policy U-Turn
“We would put right a mistake made by Gordon Brown”

The PM pulled the win back at a yesterday’s PMQs by running with Guido’s leaked email from Labour insiders who had been told there would be no policy announcement in today’s speech. Fast forward 24 hours and they’ve pulled one out of the hat. After the PM hinted that the 10p tax band would return, Miliband will shortly announce that Labour will reintroduce the rate scrapped by Gordon, funded by the LibDem policy of  a mansion tax on houses over £2 million. Funny that…

What we do know is as of Tuesday the Labour line was that there was no policy:

“Ed Miliband is going to make a ‘major’ speech on the economy on Thursday. It won’t have any new policies in it, but the plan is for Labour to release two or three big economic policies over the next couple of months.”

That was briefed out to supporters attending the speech, and now magically there is one. One that was suggested by a backbench Tory MP and does not look very well costed:

https://twitter.com/PickardJE/status/302009465518030849

Did the Eds work this one out on the back of their Valentine’s Day card envelopes?

UPDATE: Quoting a “key advisor” as late as yesterday evening, the line to Labour supporting sites was still that there would be no major policy announcement in today’s speech:

“But I fear most people will ignore it. This is partly because it will not contain major policy announcements to fight an election on. Their reasoning for this is simple: the election is still two years away and no one can predict the state of the economy then. Without knowing that, it is difficult to set budgets and make spending plans.”

With language like “we are taking a shot at the paradigm of the past”, there is no prize for guessing who that “key advisor” was…

Roses are Red, Boris is Blue
He’s Not Got a Date, So It Could Be You

Guido noted yesterday that the Tories clearly don’t have much hope of their staff getting dates tonight and are throwing a collective bash for parliamentary researchers and secretaries, but now it seems their most high-profile ladies man is also fancy […]

Former Cabinet Minister Purnell Made Beeb Strategy Director

New BBC DG Tony Hall has announced a raft of changes to the Beeb’s senior team this morning. The stand out name is one James Purnell, the former Labour Work and Pensions secretary who famously quit the government in […]

Labour MP Allows Access For Lobbyist Friend

Back when they used to actually post stories, the Political Scrapbook team employed the services of Matt Zarb-Cousin, a lefty up-and-comer occasionally capable of scoring the odd point. Zarb-Cousin left Scrapbook to work as a researcher for Labour MPs Pamela […]



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Quote of the Day

Lord Ashcroft’s focus group is asked where each party leader would be most likely to go on holiday:

David Cameron: “Monaco”

Nigel Farage: “Blighty”

Nick Clegg: “Caribbean”

Ed Miliband: “The Moon, his own little world”

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