Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WATCH: Labour’s Shaun Wright: “I Won’t Quit”

Labour’s PCC Wright says scandal didn’t reach senior political or management level.

Apparently there has been “a huge amount of learning”, so that’s ok then.

How can he sleep at night?

Shaun Wright Should Resign Today

shaun-wright-crosshairs

Never has a politician more deserved to be targeted by Guido’s crosshairs. Shaun Wright failed the children of Rotherham terribly…

Shaun Wright was the Labour councillor with cabinet responsibility for children’s services in the Rotherham from 2005 to 2010 until he was elected to the PCC role in 2012. Yorkshire and Humber UKIP MEP Jane Collins has called for Shaun Wright to step down yesterday, in response he told the BBC he took his responsibilities very seriously but would not stand down. He should accept he bears responsibility and resign immediately.

UPDATE: Labour’s national-level distancing operation has begun, with Yvette Cooper saying it’s right for Wright to walk. Helen Pidd, the Guardian’s Northern editor is cynical and right:

Better Together

The body language was wonderful at this morning’s joint appearance between Darling and the former Prime Mentalist:

Did someone say ‘forces of hell’?

Pic via Alan Roden.

MacShame Uses Rotherham Scandal to Plug New Book

Rotherham’s former Labour MP has broken his silence on the child abuse scandal, from the comfort of the Dordogne:

Or you could just read the 160 page report which covers the time Denis was the local Labour MP and seemingly oblivious to what was happening on his patch and the failings of his friends and allies on the local Labour council.

Far more insightful, and free.

Gallery Guido: Disaster Strikes Retreating Speaker

The retreating Speaker is now offering to split Robert Rogers’ role (which he always wanted) but have the new administrative position answer to the Clerk (which he never wanted).

This is a disaster for John Bercow – to save his job he has significantly strengthened the Clerk and created an alternative power base backstage.

But this isn’t the end, or even the beginning of the end.

The current legal and procedural shambles is the end of the beginning.

Carol Mills will be doing half the job at twice the salary. At the moment she still has the grace and favour grandeur of 3 Parliament St.

This is clearly untenable.

The process needs to start again.

Without the need for procedural knowledge a multitude of candidates will present themselves for one of the most prestigious jobs in the public service.

Carol Mills’ employment lawyer is going to make a fortune.

Bercow Blinks

In the middle of the August recess, Bercow quietly slipped the name of his preferred choice of Common’s Clerk to No 10 for them to send to the Palace. As the BBC reported on 19 August:

“Speaker John Bercow’s choice to take over as Parliament’s most senior official is almost certain to get the job…

…a spokesman for House of Commons leader William Hague said it would be “pretty extraordinary” if Downing Street were to reject the panel’s chosen candidate.

A source close to Mr Bercow called the recruitment process, which included two interviews, “fair and transparent”.”

After sitting on it for 9 days, Downing Street have now made clear they are not happy. Bercow has woken up to the crisis, despite still standing by his choice for Clerk late last week. A source tells the Times Red Box:

“He realises there are big problems here and he does not want to do something to which the House is opposed. As far as we know he wants to be re-elected as Speaker in 2015. And neither would John want to embarrass the Queen.”

Bercow is now signalling he would be happy to look again at splitting the role – something opposed by Tory backbenchers, but the current Clerk has fired a missile at that idea too. Again the BBC:

“Sir Robert Rogers – the most senior official in the House of Commons – says a suggestion his role could be split to create two posts of equal seniority is the ‘wrong answer’. Adding ‘the buck must stop somewhere, and it needs to stop with the official who is responsible to the House, not to a Chief Executive responsible to the Speaker and the House of Commons Commission’.”

Bercow has blinked, but this will rumble on yet. Either way, is it not about time the ‘listening speaker’ consulted those  he was elected to serve – the MPs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Perfect UKIP Venue

It’s a mystery to why UKIP’s hustings in South Thanet have been moved from St Lawrence College Theatre in Ramsgate. Whispers say it was after local pressure was put on the college not to host the party, but officially it’s something to do with lectures and satellite trucks wanting to set up. Either way, the replacement venue made Guido chuckle. The Kippers will assemble tonight in Odd Fellows Hall.

Rotherham Council’s £125,000 Officers

Whilst 1,400 children in Rotherham were abused, the council consistently featured heavily in the TPA’s Town Hall Fat Cat lists:

  • Chief Executive: £158,160
  • Strategic Director of Children and Young Peoples Services: £125,530
  • Strategic Director Development Services: £125,530
  • Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adults Services: £125,530
  • Strategic Director of Resources: £132,954

Clearly some ‘matter’ more than others. Can anyone honestly say, this lot where earning their haul? Instead of trying to take kids off couples who they suspected of being Ukippers, perhaps they could have actually done their jobs. The outgoing Labour leader has jumped before he left anyway, but more heads need to roll. 

 

Hub-ble Trouble Bubbles for Boris

Boris has confirmed it’s Uxbridge. A seat populated by thousands of people who work at an airport the Mayor of London would like to see shut down. Well he’s got to make it a teeny bit challenging, Guido wonders for how much longer Boris will want to have “a genuine, honest discussion about what London could achieve in a world post Heathrow.” Even today he was still lobbying for his Island hub, which should jar somewhat with the local Tories…

Almost 10% of MPs Already Backing Stop Mills Motion
Major Shift From No.10 on Bercow’s Appointment

According to sources close to Jesse Norman’s tally sheet, more than 50 MPs from across the House are backing plan to delay the appointment of Carol Mills and set up a proper pre-appointment hearing – currently 8% of all MPs. The Speccie have the wording of said motion:

‘That this House believes that the recommendation of Ms Carol Mills to be Clerk of this House should be subject to, and contingent upon, a pre-appointment hearing and report by a select committee.’

Sources have let it be known to Guido that this is no old guard operation:

“It’s not the usual suspects but very much younger Members, new Members, Modernisers, etc. And the numbers are building steadily despite the issues of reaching people during recess/Bank Holiday etc. We’ve had people calling in from their holidays to add their names. There is real concern and anger about this. So there’s a head of steam building strongly for the Commons to have its say.”

There is no cross party support for Mills, and No. 10 have woken up to this.

A significant moment in this row.


Seen Elsewhere

Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
Scotland Surges for Freedom | Times
Carswell Left Because Cam Can’t Be Trusted on Reform | ConHome
Top 100 Most UKIP-Friendly Tory Seats | ConHome
Bercow ‘Wounded’ | Speccie
This Goes Further Than Rotherham | Simon Danczuk


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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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