Victoria Borwick Calls in the Professional Spinners

When will Kensington select their Tory candidate? According to a CCHQ spokesman:

“We don’t give a running commentary on these things. Imminent though, but not that imminent.”

Meanwhile the Standard tip long-time Cam SpAd Laura Trott and mega-loaded Victoria Borwick really, really wants to win:

“I have decided to put my name forward to be the Conservative candidate in Kensington. I have lived and worked in this wonderful part of London all my life and raised my four children there. I have been a councillor on Kensington and Chelsea council for more than 10 years and a member of the GLA for seven years. I feel I know Kensington inside out. There is hardly a street I haven’t canvassed. As a school governor for Golborne and Maxilla under the Westway, I am not just talking about the leafy parts of the borough. I regard myself as the ultimate local candidate. I love campaigning and I love meeting people and helping them sort out their problems. In political terms, I love getting my hands dirty – so much so that I have even been lowered through a manhole cover into the new Thames Tideway sewer. But then, as Boris’s deputy at City Hall, I get all the best jobs. I am fiercely opposed to Labour’s mansion tax, which would hit Kensington very hard and penalise many cash-poor, asset-rich people, who bought family homes 20-30 years ago and now face an extra annual tax of £10,000 a year or more. I would do all I can to stop it.”

So much so that the current Deputy Mayor of London has retained the services of a professional spinners from Nick Wood’s Media Intelligence Partners to help her in her quest.

Just as she did in 2006

It’s a Hard Knock Life, On Strike!

The FBU are out today. Out, down the pub.

Hacked Off Show Trial For Journalists in Parliament

Guido popped down to Hacked Off’s parliamentary rally this lunchtime to watch a panel discussion with well-known friends of the press John Cleese, Harriet Harman and Simon Hughes, hosted by “Dr” Evan Harris. Cleese had the audience laughing nervously when he compared journalists to murderers, claiming:

“Of course they want to regulate themselves, we’d all like to regulate ourselves wouldn’t we? Builders, accountants, murderers, they’d all like to regulate themselves. The murderers would make a very good case – they’d say we murdered a lot of people, we know people who have murdered people. We really are best qualified to regulate”

About 20 minutes later, Harris halted proceedings to inform the room that “a journalist is here tweeting”, naming and singling out WikiGuido and bizarrely referencing the Brooks Newmark story. Harris told the room that Guido had tweeted about Cleese’s ‘murderer’ comparison. The exchange below is not verbatim, but is backed up by multiple witnesses and video.

WikiGuido: [From across the room] It was a direct quote.

Harris: You clearly don’t understand context.

WikiGuido: It was a direct quote. 

[Audience members begin to heckle.]

Audience member: How do you sleep at night?

Another audience member: Let him speak!

[At this point most of the room began chanting “stand, stand, stand” at WikiGuido. He did.]

Harris: He’s Alex Wickham, who writes for Guido Fawkes website. And also did the work on the Brooks Newmark thing. I don’t think we want to give him a platform… 

WikiGuido: Well the room wants me to speak. I thought you believed in freedom of speech? It was a direct quote.

[Several audience members shout “let him speak”]

Harris: We are not going to give you the dignity of a platform.

As the Press Association reports:

Video also via PA:

 

Dissent will not be tolerated…

Staggering Political Balance From Sky News

To discuss PMQs on Sky News, a wide range of hacks were put on air. In the lefty corner we have the New Statesman’s Harry Lambert and on the centre left we have Stephen Bush from the, er, New Statesman.

Civil Servants Ordered to Follow Superiors on Twitter

twitter-follow-achiever

Civil servants are now “expected” to follow “high profile staff” members and “associated ministers” in their department on Twitter if they are on the network. An edict issued today by the Cabinet Office, informs everyone working in digital and technology across government that they must follow the social media accounts of their superiors in order to make the civil service “more skilled, digital and unified.

Straight from the organic social media growth handbook…

PMQs LIVE: Who is Asking the Questions Today

pmqs

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness)

Q2 Naomi Long (Belfast East) 

Q3 Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) 

Q4 Sir Richard Ottaway (Croydon South) 

Q5 David Mowat (Warrington South) 

Q6 Ben Gummer (Ipswich)

Q7 Gavin Shuker (Luton South)

Q8 Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) 

Q9 Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) 

Q10 Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire) 

Q11 John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead)

Q12 Clive Efford (Eltham) 

Q13 Mr John Leech (Manchester, Withington)

Q14 Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) 

Comments in the comments please…

Bradford Labour Chaos As Galloway Deal Rumour Blows Up

It’s all kicking off in Bradford West with local Labour Party internal ructions going very public. Newly appointed candidate Amina Ali tweeted that she had resigned, only to mysteriously delete the comment. Ever since Ali – who is of Somalian origin – was selected at the weekend, the local Labour Party on the ground have been in uproar. Having beaten off strong local choice Naveeda Ikram, many are questioning why, in a seat where ‘personal politics’ is so vital, a London Labour ally of Oona King has been forced upon them. The former BBC journalist is popular with the Shadow Cabinet, but the local party are baffled. “She not even Kashmiri, let alone Pakistani” says one source.

The local theory goes like this: George Galloway has softened his stance toward Labour of late, particularly on Question Time recently where he made a lot of conciliatory noises towards his old party. Having very loudly declared in 2013 that he was to run for Mayor of London, Galloway has gone very quiet on the subject. A local consensus has formed that some sort of deal has been done between Labour and the firebrand: if Galloway does not run against Labour in London and split the vote there, the party would give him an easy ride in Bradford. Unfortunately it seems the passions of the local Labour Party were not factored in, and the cunning plan has exploded. 

UPDATE: Another Labour source adds further intrigue:

“Imran Hussein, deputy leader of the Labour group, still hasn’t got over being beaten by Galloway. He doesn’t want a female candidate or indeed any Labour candidate that can beat Galloway as then they will be in for life and block him from potentially trying again in next election. Therefore, his supporters backed the outsider on the basis that she would lose.”

Cable in Code of Conduct Row

Vince Cable is in trouble after two West London business leaders referred him to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary over an apparent breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. The chief executives of West London Business and the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce have written to the PM and Jeremy Heywood after Cable was listed as a speaker at an anti-Heathrow expansion rally in his capacity as Business Secretary:

We are very concerned that the Secretary of State appears to be attending the rally in an official capacity, on behalf of the Government, rather than as constituency Member. This appears to be in direct contravention of Section 1.2 (h) of the Ministerial Code, which states:

“Ministers in the House of Commons must keep separate their roles as Minister and constituency Member”

This activity may also breach other parts of the code, including section 6.5 which urges Ministers to “make clear that they are acting as their constituents’ representative and not as a Minister”.

It is a little naughty of Cable to speak out on Heathrow expansion not as a local MP, but supposedly representing the government. Not like he has form either: this is the same Vince Cable who“declared war” on Murdoch when in charge of media policy. That time he humiliatingly had the brief stripped from him… 

Full Obornian disclosure: You may have noticed some small Heathrow and Gatwick adverts on the site recently. Readers can rest assured they are irrelevant to this story. Guido just doesn’t like Vince Cable.

UPDATE: Sources close to Vince Cable get in touch to say the mistake was the fault of the organisers of the event. As soon as it came to his attention it was corrected.

Axelrod Speaks: Guru Lukewarm About Miliband on CNN

David Axelrod was caught off guard by Christiane Amanpour on CNN and asked about Ed Miliband. Watch his face fall:

The most positive thing Axe says is that that polls say Ed could win and that no one likes the […]

SHAMELESS: Labour Candidate Withdraws After Benefit Overclaiming Exposed

They don’t call it the party of benefits for nowt. Hanna Toms, the Labour candidate for Truro, has withdrawn from the race after it emerged she had ‘inadvertently’ over-claimed her benefits:

“In the last few months, I was contacted concerning

[…]

Kirstie For Kensington

Malcolm Rifkind has won the sympathy of at least one of his constituents: TV Tory Kirstie Allsopp:

[…]

Natalie Bennett Apologises to Green Party Members

 

Fair play to Natalie Bennett, who has refreshingly held her hands up and admitted she had a ‘mare on LBC earlier. It was the car crash to end all car crashes, but good for her for being honest.[…]



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Quote of the Day

Asim Quereshi, research director of CAGE, the British “independent advocacy organisation”, on Jihadi John:

“[He is] a victim… extremely kind, gentle, the most humble person… a beautiful young man”

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