Guido is enjoying a free pint at the launch of the TPA’s Mash Beer Tax campaign. Join us at Walkers of Whitehall…
The government’s adviser on youth, welfare and communities would always strive to help hard-working up and comers, wouldn’t he? Paid £60,000-a-year as a SpAd under the PM, Shaun Bailey is advertising for a “politically alert, self-motivated” intern to draft letters and carry out research. But wait; the position – you’ve guessed it – is unpaid. Now that’s irony…
UPDATE: Friends of Bailey get in touch to reveal that he quit as a SpAd under the PM at the end of last year. He is now working as an adviser “external to the government”.
Lord Rennard has come out fighting, albeit via a ‘friend':
Lord Rennard refutes these allegations. He will co-operate with any properly constituted inquiry.
He has been notified of an internal investigatory panel within the Party. The matter must now be regarded as sub judice pending its proceedings and no further statement will be issued in the interim.
He expects others to respect the sub judice principle, and he notes that under the party rules concerned it is for any case made against him to be proved by evidence to the requisite standard. He denies impropriety.
He would reiterate that in 27 years of working for the Liberal Democrats he received no complaint or allegation about his behaviour.
Nor is he aware of any personal complaints being made in the three and a half years since he stood down as chief executive until last week.
So he’s denying Danny had a word?
Alison Smith, one of the women who has made allegations against Lord Rennard, says:
“Clegg slams ‘self appointed detectives’, otherwise known as the free press. Regarded by most as important in a democracy.”
A LibDem activist alleges that nine women have made claims against Lord Rennard, dating back to 2001. She says she personally told Jo Swinson, Norman Lamb and Ros Scott about the time Rennard propositioned her, and that Clegg “didn’t know how to deal with it and then didn’t deal with it well”.
“At one point someone referred to us as ‘Rennard’s red hot babes'”. On the emails between the Telegraph and Jonny Oates: “I am unsure as to how Nick never heard of that”. She’s not the only one…
You can always rely on Polly Toynbee to spectacularly miss the point:
“Their distrust may be justified here, as this byelection follows a familiarly vicious pattern, the air thick with dirty tricks. Where did the Lord Rennard sleaze reprise from 2009 suddenly come from, and why now in the final runup to election day? Blasted across every front page, Nick Clegg’s fumbling response hasn’t helped, but it doesn’t take an expert political nose to suspect this stinks.”
She then goes on to play down the claims against Rennard as “less than criminal” – despite the police being called in – and compares the story to “Tory tricks directed at UKIP”. Perhaps she should read what Cathy Newman has to say on why she ran the story now. This is about the women who are victims of sexual harassment being able to hold a sex pest to account, and the lies being told by people who tried to stop their story coming out:
@christomill @cathynewman Though when people reduce the allegations to a 'plot', they demonstrate lack of concern for the underlying issue.
— Alison Smith (@AliFionaSmith) February 25, 2013
Polly’s diversion tactics are one in the eye for the sisterhood.
As of 1pm this afternoon LBC sources have confirmed to Guido that tomorrow morning’s Call Clegg is on. It was brought forward a day due to Thursday’s by-election, and there is no word of him pulling out over at LBC towers.
Popcorn for breakfast…
Back in October Guido noted that barrister, judge and Huhne prosecution witness Constance Briscoe had been arrested. It can now be reported for the first time that her arrest is in connection with the Huhne-Pryce case. The jury have been told that Briscoe could not be relied upon as a “witness of truth”, and that she “may have lied about her involvement with the press”. Developing…
UPDATE: Briscoe negotiated with newspapers on behalf of Pryce then denied contact with the press to police, the jury is told.
A remarkably well turned out figure has been conspicuously absent from TV screens recently. Sad news today that Peter Spencer, the flamboyant and eccentric Westminster correspondent for Sky News at weekends, has retired. Guido has fond memories of waiting to go on air and being entertained with a tune on the guitar off camera. Millbank won’t be the same without the bright pink BMW parked outside the studios. A loss!
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT
Cameron Faces Revolt Over ‘Vow’ | Sun
It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
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.”