Top May Ally Cleared: PASC Rules Tory SpAd Telecanvassing Was Unlawful

A report published today by the Public Administration Select Committee has found that CCHQ were wrong to ask Special Advisers to campaign for the party in the Rochester by-election. Theresa May’s SpAd Nick Timothy was dropped from the candidates list in a major internal Tory row after he argued that demands from Grant Shapps for SpAds to take part in telephone canvassing were against their Code of Conduct. The report finds:

“We therefore conclude that any direction to a Special Adviser to conduct telephone canvassing was misguided, and that advice that such a direction or such canvassing was permitted under their Code and contract of employment was wrong in law… We recommend that Special Advisers should never again be confronted with directions or informal pressure that puts them in breach of the Code and of their contracts of employment.”

Will the Tories now reinstate Timothy to the candidates list after this key ruling?

UPDATE: Labour’s Jon Ashworth sticks the boot in:

“The Parliamentary Authorities have delivered a damning assessment of the Number 10 operation, and we now need to know which Ministers were complicit in issuing this ‘misguided’ advice. Given the proximity of the election campaign, we need a formal government response today which outlines how Number 10 will ensure no rules will be broken over the role played by Special Advisers.”

Greens Slump to Third in Natalie Bennett’s Own Ward

Not the sort of news you want on the eve of your spring conference. In the St Pancras and Somers Town council by-election last night – the ward in Natalie Bennett’s target constituency in which she lives – the Green Party fell from second place to third, behind Labour and the Tories. Bennett’s local Greens picked up just 10% of the vote, suggesting the party is some way away from making an impact there ahead of May. Caroline Lucas’ Brighton seat is increasingly looking like the only place the Greens have a chance…

Jittery UKIP Back on Track in Thurrock

UKIP MEP, policy chief and Thurrock parliamentary candidate Tim Aker has added councillor to list of his many jobs, last night winning the Aveley & Uplands by-election. UKIP were jittery amid concerns they would lose yesterday given they were thumped by Labour in a nearby council by-election in October, but Aker fought off the Tories’ dog whistle leaflet campaign calling him “Timür Aker” to romp home. Aker is still consistently ahead of Labour’s carpet-bagging candidate Polly Billington in the constituency polling. UKIP are bullish about his chances next year, but they will need to spend big bucks on their campaign infrastructure to translate this to a parliamentary seat…

UKIP GAIN: Reckless Wins Rochester

Good Morning, It’s By-Election Day!

The polls are open in Rochester and Strood. Mark Reckless is promising fireworks if he wins:

“During the campaign I have spoken with two Conservative MPs about the possibility of their moving over and I think they will want to see what the result is before making any decisions. One of them I had discussions by telephone and the other I met in a location not in the constituency.”

Polls close at 10pm. Declaration expected at 3:30am…

Tories Attack UKIP Plans “To Privatise the NHS”

ukip-nhs

The latest video attack ad of the Rochester and Strood campaign is playing out in the local media…

CCHQ Throwing Kitchen Sink at Reckless

reckless-kent

This is the online version of the main local paper covering Rochester and Strood, and it is running paid for American style anti-Reckless attack ad videos. Whether this is Jim Messina’s influence or just the inevitable next step in digital campaigning is unclear. It is a lot more entertaining than a leaflet through the letterbox…

It is also getting under the skin of Mark Reckless, who is protesting vociferously and unconvincingly on Twitter that he didn’t flop-flop on supporting a massive local housing development for 12,000 people – in doing so making the rookie mistake of repeating his opponent’s charge. It is cheering up Tories who have been on the back foot in this by-election campaign until now…

WATCH: Tories’ US-Style Reckless Attack Ad

The Tories are going very negative on Mark Reckless in Rochester:

Meanwhile UKIP are set for their biggest ever campaign day tomorrow, bussing in 10% of their entire party membership in Rochester on one day. The Tories are calling in the cavalry with hunting supporters turning out to back their candidate on Sunday. Thirteen days to go…

Poll: UKIP Lead Increasing in Rochester & Strood

rochester-strood-survation-poll

The latest poll has UKIP 15% ahead of the Tories in Rochester & Strood.

The gap is increasing…[…]

+ READ MORE +

UKIP Get Thumped in Their Target Seat

UKIP have been given a wake up call in Thurrock, losing heavily to Labour in a council by-election last night. Despite constituency polling putting UKIP’s parliamentary candidate Tim Aker in first place in the seat, Labour won West Thurrock and […]

+ READ MORE +

Long Old Rochester Slog Begins

Incoming kitchen sink. The Tories are offering a massive choice to the people of Rochester: which Kent(ish) female councillor would you like to be their candidate?

“Kelly Tolhurst is a life-long resident of Medway and was elected to the council

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Ashcroft Poll’s Margin of Error Was 17%

lord-ashcroft-H+M

On Monday newbie pollster Michael Ashcroft told us that Labour was 19% ahead in Heywood & Middleton. His polling in the marginals has also consistently forecast Labour making a remarkably strong showing. Something that over in CCHQ Grant Shapps and […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Sky News ask a “Labour representative” where the local St George’s Day events are. He replies:

“You’re better off asking the UKIP candidate” 

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