The Belated Tory Victory Party is Tonight

The place to be in Westminster tonight is Adam Afriyie’s at-home party for new MPs. The PM is going to drop in and most of the parliamentary party will be knocking back the booze. It will be the first post-government party for most of them.

Champagne is no longer banned…

Nick RSVPs With Put Me +5 on the Cabinet Door

The Rose Garden of Downing Street rarely sees such amicable proceedings. In what could be described as a cross between a Richard Curtis film and the end of Blind Date when the couple come back for a chat, Cameron and Clegg laughed and joked their way through a rather painful show of affection. One day they will probably look back and regret such an OTT performance. Some terms of their agreement have just been released. The real extent of the horse-trading will have to wait to be dripped out when the going gets tough.

The Dusk of a New Age

While the helicopters were trailing every move a government made yesterday evening, the Tory hacks descended on the Red Lion, just a stones throw from Downing Street. From the moment Gordon left, until the small hours this drunken throng grew and grew. CCHQ staffers who were congregating outside before heading down to the hired basement to watch the speech, looked on wistfully as press secretary Gabby Bertin, best buddies Steve Hilton and Coulson, along with Dave’s diary and events staff all legged it down Whitehall and into the Cabinet Office so they could be there to greet the new Prime Minister.

As the night wore on and the champagne started flowing, one or two press officers were still on campaign mode and dispersed those holding Conservative signs in one hand and Veuve in the other, just as the snappers arrived. As Cameron’s meeting with his MPs wrapped up, the new intake let their hair down. Clearly not having found the subsidised bars inside they joined the still growing crowd. No wonder Cameron was given such a rapturous welcome inside, it had clearly been a long evening for some of the old hands, though there were distinct grumbles about junior Minister jobs going to the Liberal Democrats. Didn’t stop the gins coming though.

Even Cameron’s suit and shirt joined the party at one point, a loyal team member carrying the dry cleaning casually stopped off for a drink.  A late star turn came from famous-for-Westminster Nick Robinson who tried his hardest to pretend he wasn’t flattered having booze soddled drinkers asking to take photos with him. After a quick briefing from Gabby Bertin, who had re-emerged from somewhere, Robinson and ITV chum Mark Austin disappeared off in a blacked out car with a mysterious gaggle of women… Most intriguing.

So What Happens at PMQs?

So it falls to Harman to try land the first blow on Cameron at PMQs a week today. If her erratic performances standing in for Gordon are anything to go by, it shouldn’t be too much for him to worry about.

However Guido was wondering what happened to Clegg?

No longer will he get his two questions as leader of the  third-party as he is now very much in the government. He will probably be standing in as Deputy Prime Minister when the PM is away, but something tells Guido that Dave won’t be giving him too many of these star-turns. So on a week by week basis that leaves the DUP as the third largest party…

They better choose a new leader pretty quick.

Johnson Falls in Behind David Miliband

Alan Johnson has ruled himself out of the leadership race this morning and backed David Miliband.  Guido is fascinated by the prospect of a David versus Ed fight between the Miliband brothers.  What will their mother say?

Harman says she is out of the race, which many find hard to believe, maybe she really is comfortable as deputy. Balls is weakened by being the proprietor of an ultra-marginal constituency. David Miliband’s people have wasted no time drawing that to people’s attention.

Some money is going on a few outside hopes, including Jon Cruddas Andy Burnham and even Baldemort, Liam Byrne. David Miliband is the far and away favourite with a 59% chance, think that might be worth a sell

CCHQ Recriminations Starting

Yesterday mid-level staffers at CCHQ yesterday were waiting to find out if their contracts were being renewed with the prospect of a second election ahead. They were playing the blame game, or as one told Guido, “Who was shitter? Hilton or Coulson?”

Hilton’s hissy fits are legend – he has even been nicked for calling a copper a “w****r” – he disappeared for a while after the ‘Big Society’ was derided as unsellable in the same way that “social responsibility” was unsellable on the doorsteps. Treating underlings badly is a dangerous habit, he can expect a less than glowing press when the history of the campaign is written up. His great enemy, Andy Coulson, is blamed by some for being a booster for the TV debates, which the Tory sponsor Lord Ashcroft blames for the LibDems being put into contention – though given they lost seats, did it really put them into contention?

Tim Montgomerie’s review of the campaign is an opus, it is critical of the money and poll lead squandered as well as attack Steve Hilton’s “unforgivable” errors.  Lord Ashcroft must wonder what went wrong and where his money went.  Give it a weekend or so and the Sunday newspapers will be doing their inside-the-campaign stories…

+ + + LibDem Federal Exec Endorses Change Coalition + + +

Yes, Prime Minister

Finished

“Thank you and goodbye.”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Could the Weirdie Beardies Yet Scupper the Deal?

So the deal is a whipped vote for a referendum which most Tory MPs including Cameron will campaign against and a fair number of cabinet seats. It is rumoured that six cabinet seats are on offer.

Will this cut any […]

+ READ MORE +

+ + + Evening Standard : Gordon Quits as PM + + +

UPDATE : The rumour mill is in overdrive. Full coalition seems to be certain. Reports of Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister with six cabinet positions. Brown could be about to quit his seat Blair style – embarrassing less than […]

+ READ MORE +

Lib Dem MPs and Fed Ex to Meet at 19.30

Looks like there is real movement – Gus O’Donnell has joined the Cabinet Office negotiations. A meeting has just been called for the Liberal Democrat MPs and crucially their Federal Executive tonight at 19.30.

It seems that a Tory/Liberal deal […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Cameron’s closest friend in politics Steve Hilton backs Brexit:

“A decision to leave the EU is not without risk, but I believe it is the ideal and idealistic choice for our times. Taking back power from arrogant, unaccountable, hubristic elites and putting it where it belongs. In people’s hands.”

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