Shirley Williams : No Brown Job

LibDem Voice reports Shirley stating “I met Gordon Brown at 6:30pm on Wednesday evening. We had a friendly and constructive discussion. I was not offered a Ministerial position and would not have accepted one.”

Is It All Balls? Who is It?

Tory and LibDem HQs are more fearful of defections today than the Soviet Olympic Team Coach used to be. Benedict Brogan says it is not going to be Rifkind. Some are worried about Patten. Still no public denial by Bercow, who incidentally backed the expansion of grammar schools last month.

LibDems should be aware that Shirley Williams was apparently spotted going into Gordon’s Commons office. She incidentally closed down grammar schools. So presumably her talent would cancel out Bercow’s talent.

Is it all just to destabilise the opposition? Of course, but it goes both ways, Frank Field was spotted chatting to David Laws, his brow furrowed. You never know…

UPDATE : Adam Boulton is reporting “Strong rumours that the Lib Dem peer and QC Alec Carlisle will be appointed Attorney General.”

The Big Red Story of the Day

Of course the really big story of the day is that today sees the launch of the Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze updated to include all the latest shenanigans and with a bit more of a focus on Gordon Brown.

It has been written by bloggers with contributions from across the spectrum of the political blogosphere. It is in the bookshops this week or you can buy it online by clicking on the picture. And you can expect a little viral advertising campaign with a difference soon…

++ Bercow Pulls Out of Party Parliamentary Dinner Tonight ++

Usually reliable sources…

Look Who Flew in to Say Goodbye to Blair

Yates of the Yard is still chasing down evidence and statements to tighten up the case against Sleazy Levy.
Police flew in Ms Courtney Coventry yesterday to question her again about her dealings with Blair and Levy. In April 2004 she was canvassed by Jane Hogarth, the Labour party’s former head of high-value fund raising who supposedly has been made redundant – but is actually still working as a “consultant” to the party.

Lord Levy introduced Courtney, as a potential donor, to Tony Blair. The police want to know what Levy promised in return for a donation.

Letts on Harman

Quentin Letts, who is evidently a Guido fan, has a characteristically fair minded and gentle piece about Harriet Harman today. Well worth reading.

Brown’s “Lemming Bounce” Confirmed

The Indy headline says it all – Brown’s ‘bounce’ fails to materialise as Tories take five-point lead. The somewhat deranged voices who think Brown will be the electoral saviour of the Labour party will be terribly disappointed.

Guido predicted the Lemming effect – they are going to miss three times election winning Blair when he is gone. Wait and see…

Meanwhile on Facebook…

Remember when we used to do eBay stories? That is just so 2006, now we do Facebook stories, this just popped up:

David Miliband joined the group Harriet Harman for Deputy!.

David Miliband just left the group Johnson for Deputy!.

Hat-tip : Guido ** waves back at Popbitch.**

Labour Sources : Blair to Quit Sedgefield Seat++ Getting Ready for a By-Election ++

Yesterday evening rumours reached Guido that Tony Blair will step down from parliament as a constitutency MP by applying for the Chiltern Hundreds this week. Cherie has in any case reportedly started moving furniture out of their constituency house. Labour staffers have been primed for a second campaign (besides Ealing Southall). The party machine is moving in for the by-election. Staff have been ordered to pack their bags and head for Sedgefield on Thursday.

With his new role as Middle East facilitator it is hard to see how Blair would commute between Jerusalem and Durham, one minute sorting out lost welfare benefit claims and the next minute pacifying the Palestinians.

Sedgefield is a safe seat, and dual by-elections will stretch the LibDem machine into two operations.

Many Labour left-wingers might think that the result of a Sedgefield by-election would count as a “Labour Gain”.

Early Election? Don’t Think So…

Propellor-Head Wonk Watch: the appointment of Douglas Alexander to oversee preparations for the next general election might be seen by some as Brownite genius. Guido thinks that depends on how you view his overseeing of the recent election campaign where Labour lost control in Scotland for the first time in generations. Some think it could have been worse.

Guido remembers attending a Demos event last year where the new campaign commissar was giving his thoughts. With all this talk of an early election in the air the boys and girls at CCHQ and Cowley Street would do well to dig out his Serving a Cause, Serving a Community Demos pamphlet from last year. In it he urged the Labour party to work in partnership rather than parallel with like minded organisations including trade unions. Gordon is spinning today that he wants to reduce the power of the unions through one man, one vote.

He wrote about the party to becoming a “community hub” creating space for shared discussion with social interest groups who will have input into local party campaigns using blogs and chat rooms to encourage debate with those preferring not to go to formal party meetings. LabourHome is their best semi-unofficial attempt at this, and it still shaded by ConservativeHome.

He also claimed he wanted to throw off the control-freak shackles and loosen the rigid party structures to allow issues to be discussed informally and he wanted to decentralise professional party staff resources from national to local level. Once again the Tories have the edge here, they are far less control-freaky and they already have their Northern call-centre operation with regional offices benefiting from Lord Ashcroft’s cash.

If the Demos pamphlet was Douglas Alexander’s job application it will take time to achieve his goals for Labour. That together with their cash crisis, makes Guido doubtful they will go for an early election.

Harman Was Backed by the Sith

Guido has only just found out that Harman was advised by Deborah Mattinson, the high-priestess of the Sith, Gordon’s personal pollster, Smith Institute board member and recipient of many juicy government contracts though her firm OLR.
It was her, Guido believes, that commissioned the YouGov poll showing that Harman had much needed appeal in the South East. That poll result featured heavily in Harman’s propaganda…

Oh F**K Its Harman

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

From the Guardian : Rich Johnston, the British cartoonist who works for the Guido Fawkes political blog, has been asked by US comic publishers IDW to create a box of bubble gum cards on the life and times of George W Bush, entitled Weapons of Mass Distraction. “Being paid to write up the various scandals of Bush and co – it was like taking candy from a baby,” Johnston says.

Harman – Ouch

That was expensive. No, Guido didn’t lay it off. Mike Smithson will be chuffed.

Bet she isn’t Deputy-PM, mind you the way Guido’s bets are going…


UPDATE : Not DPM, Guido got that right at least. Worse reporting from the Telegraph and Sky. It was also a pretty bad call some time back from YouGov’s poll of the membership for the Times as well.

UPDATE II : Cruddas transfers from Amicus and the TGWU swung it for Harman. Johnson won in the affilates and MPs sections and still lost.

Will Tony Be the First Catholic PM?

It would cause this Catholic freedom fighter immense amusement if today Tony became Britain’s first Roman Catholic Prime Minister. Knowing the vanity of Blair it is not impossible that he would choose to join the Catholic communion by the hand of His Holiness.

At this stage he will have no further hand in Anglican Bishopric appointments and any possible unease caused in Orange circles in Northern Ireland now irrelevant, it would be a good time to formalise his position.

An added bonus being he could ask the Pope there and then for absolution for his sins…

UPDATE : The Observer’s John Hooper in Vatican City reports a Vatican source saying Blair used his last official foreign engagement before leaving office to tell the Pope he wanted to become a Roman Catholic.

“But, in talks lasting more than half an hour, the outgoing Prime Minister was left in no doubt that the Pope took a dim view of his record in office. A statement issued afterwards by the Vatican said there had been a ‘frank exchange of views’. Vatican sources said the Pope remained unmoved in his view that Blair had been wrong over Iraq. To an even greater extent than his predecessor, Benedict feels that Catholic politicians cannot separate their public lives from their private.”

Sources Deny Kennedy Cabinet Rumour

Sources close to Charles Kennedy deny rumours that he has taken up a position in a government drinks cabinet.

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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