Burnham Blames Balls for Briefing

Andy Burnham reportedly “nearly fell out of his chair” when he read in the papers that he was considering pulling out of the Labour leadership race to avoid the embarrassment of coming last. Guido “nearly fell out of his chair” last month when he read Ed Balls describe the political tactics he is an expert in as “pretty unedifying”. He went on to say “there will be no off-the-record briefings from anybody involved with me.” Funny then that this morning fingers are being pointed at Team Balls as the source of the what Burnham describes as “a malicious briefing”. Ed’s “I’ve changed” act was never going to last long. Here comes the mudslinging…

UPDATE : Latest Labour leadership odds from Political Smarkets:

David Miliband 63.6%
Ed Miliband 23.8%
Ed Balls 8%
Andy Burnham 2.1%
Diane Abbott 2%

Balls is fighting the most aggressive, high visibility campaign…

Lobby’s Cosy Downing Street Drinks with Dave

With an unusually early start at a gentlemanly 5.30, Dave is getting ready to meet and greet the darlings of the Lobby for a summer drinks party tonight for the first time as Prime Minister. On the charm offensive with his oh so fearless Lobby critics, drinks will be served in the Downing Street Rose Garden, favours curried and jokes shared. All in it together…

Dave will try to lay the charm on to make it more difficult for the gentlemen of the media to stab him in the back at a later date. At a recent event the PM strolled up to Kevin Maguire and introduced himself as “Druggy Dave”. Maguire blushed…

Strangely Guido’s invitation was lost in the post. Oh well…

Labour General Secretary Wannabe Advising Cameron

Eyebrows were raised when Brown-era hire Mark Flanagan was not “thank-you-and-goodbyed” out of the Downing Street media team after the election. Instead he was forced upstairs to a strategy role when the Coalition arrived. As a civil servant Flanagan is impartial, but there is no hiding his obvious Labour past.

It is well-known that Flanagan very nearly became the Labour candidate for the Bromley by-election in June 2006. However what he describes as another “well known fact” might actually come as a surprise to those outside Labour circles. Flanagan applied to be General Secretary of the Labour Party. He was pipped to the post by Peter Watt back in January 2006, and the rest is history.

You can bet Flanagan has kept that one quiet in the last few months…

Balls Scores a Hit

Balls versus Gove is a battle the former won’t let go. He has managed to force an apology out of Gove for the glaring cock-up of publishing two different lists of which schools would not be getting money promised to them in Labour’s scorched earth-bonanza. A humiliating position for the Secretary of State and for all his faults Balls is the only leadership contender to be scoring hits on the coalition.

For all Ed Miliband’s poetry, it is Balls who is showing Unite which Ed it is that can stop not only David but Dave too.

Ed Balls Campaign Diary*

Feeling rough this morning, might make it over in time for PMQs, but nursing a blinder behind the eyes. Think there will be a few more CLP nominations coming in after last night, the brunt of that lobbying was done by my wallet in the Sports and Social.

Who wouldn’t need a drink after having to creep up to all those provincials. I swear our driver John actually pointed at an aeroplane flying over. Had a few gins with Ellie on the train back from Norwich and then hit the bars. One of the best things about this campaign is no one can raise an eyebrow anymore about late night drinking sessions. I’m not “out all night”, I’m “campaigning”! It is just like the old days with Damian. Last thing I remember is getting a taxi, but Yvette wasn’t happy when I emerged from the spare room this morning. Apparently “that wasn’t the Big Mo” she was talking about. I’m still confused by this expression.

Had one of those awkward read-back-over-the-Blackberry moments over breakfast. Found this hilarious photo from about 2 a.m., but the rest was a little embarrassing. Ellie is a good girl, sure she won’t take those texts the wrong way. I was only being friendly and those stilettos did look good. I’m not too worried. She is very loyal after all.

I will be leader and my head will stop hurting, one day.

(*As leaked to Guido)

PMQs LIVE : All Hungover Together Edition

Late Night Sessions

One of the great things about EyeSpy.MP (or the “phantom blogger” as Sir Michael White mistakenly calls it) is that it reveals the truth about MPs actual behaviour.  Next time an MP whines about being poorly paid and hard working because of all those late night sittings, ask him what really happens during those sessions? Do they scrupulously scrutinise legislation and make speeches of great oratory?

No they get drunk and gossip. Last night the PLP was getting pissed and occasionally wandering into the lobbies to vote. Here are a selection of EyeSpy.MP tweets from last night:

4 out of 5 Lab leadership contenders on the terrace taking advantage of rare late night sitting to be matey (or trying to be in case of D & E Miliband).

Last night: Balls, Burnham and Ed Miliband in the Kremlin buying pints for down-market North East Labour MPs

Why aye man, it’s Sharon Hodgson pet! Skulling a vat of white wine. Drunk as a skunk.

0130: Tired and emotional Dennis Macshane stinging drinking companions for expensive glasses of Sancerre on the Terrace

0200: Ed Balls the last Labour leadership contender left on the Terrace – still drinking pints with the NE mafia!

Bear in mind some of these MPs will have been drinking subsidised beer since tea-time.  In many cases they will be completely drunk when voting and the whips basically roll them into the lobbies. In how many jobs outside the entertainment industry is it acceptable to be completely intoxicated in the workplace? Makes you proud of our great parliamentary democracy doesn’t it…

More LibDems Support Coalition Than Tories

As Simon Hughes sits in his palatial office this morning, as Vince takes a political moment at BIS and Charlie Kennedy emerges bleary eyed at some point closer to lunchtime, there will be some uncomfortable polling news for them to chew over. LibDemVoice has been asking the sandalistas what they think of the coalition with the Tories. For those inherently against the idea, and looking to cause trouble, it will make for a frustrating read.

84% of LibDem members support the coalition versus just 11% against. 74% approve of the record to date. 43% of members think the coalition will harm their electoral prospects though. With the LibDems slumping to 15% in last night’s YouGov poll, they could well be right. The narrative has been that it will be Clegg that faces his party splitting first, but if you compare the LibDem poll to a similar one conducted by ConservativeHome it appears the coalition is more popular amongst the yellows…

The End Is Nigh

Guido hears that today’s Local Government Association Conference was a right hoot, well perhaps not, but Eric Pickles used his speech there to zero his sight and take aim squarely at The Guardian.

It seems he is coming good […]

+ READ MORE +

Cast-Out Chris Courts Kids

Hugh Muir is reporting that Chris Bryant has emailed all the Labour newbies offering to take them on tours of the Palace of Westminster, just in-case they are called upon to do so for guests. Of course all this creeping […]

+ READ MORE +

Pervy Porn Councillors Quit

Scandal looks set to rock Kensington and Chelsea Council as two Tory councillors have just quit following the circulation of, err, extremely inappropriate material, via their council email accounts. All sorts of rumours are flying around about Cllr’s Barry “filthy”[…]

+ READ MORE +

The Wheels Come Off the CSS

The last government were extremely proud of the car-scrappage scheme that they borrowed from Obama. They spent £400m to ensure the UK scraped out of recession – which it did, just, with January’s paltry 0.1% growth figure. The scheme was […]

+ READ MORE +



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Cameron on Trump:

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