Guido understands the Labour leader will be journeying south to help out his joke candidate John O’Farrell tomorrow.
And this time he’s armed with an actual policy…
The Prime Minister may have been in Eastleigh this afternoon but the LibDem campaign has received the biggest boost today: Stephen Gough, the local Eastleigh naked rambler, has declared he is a member of the LibDems and planted his yellow rosette firmly on his er, poll. They’ve got the big mo…
When the LibDems sent out their latest begging email for cash for the Eastleigh campaign, sending it to a Tory MP probably was not the best plan:
From: Paddy Ashdown
Sent: 12 February 2013 12:47
To: ADAMS, Nigel
Subject: Please do this today
When we won Eastleigh in 1994, it was a breakthrough for Liberal Democrats. This by-election can be as well.
To give you just one example, a donation of £25 today will allow us to contact an extra hundred voters in Eastleigh before the weekend. Only Mike Thornton can beat the Conservatives in this campaign, and cannot afford to lose by a few votes.
Give whatever you can afford today, and you’ll make all the difference.
From: ADAMS, Nigel
Sent: 12 February 2013 13:08
To: ‘Paddy Ashdown’
Subject: RE: Please do this today
Dear Lord Ashdown,
Thank you so much for your email asking me to donate £25 to the Lib Dem campaign fund for the Eastleigh by-election.
I have given your appeal very serious consideration and decided that on balance, a donation to the speeding awareness charity BRAKE is a more appropriate donation to make at this time and I have duly done so.
Thanks again for getting in touch and the best of luck in your campaign.
Nigel Adams MP
Conservative Member of Parliament for Selby and Ainsty
Gloves? What gloves. Broom broom!
Ed MIliband says he wants more working class people and people with an armed forces background to stand for parliament, so the Eastleigh by-election is the first opportunity for Labour to choose someone from that kind of background. Yet Labour heavyweights seem to be swinging behind John O’Farrell, who is about as much of a Labour luvvie as you can get. O’Farrell first appeared on the West End stage when he was 10 years old, writes novels and does comedy for the BBC. He wrote a book with the title Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter, 1979-1997.
The man who reputedly invented the grey John Major spitting image character also wrote the jokes for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He seems serious about standing, he has stood unsuccessfully for Labour before in 2001. The Labour glitterati are backing him and he has already started campaigning in the constituency. Polly Toynbee has publicly endorsed his candidature and says she will work for his election. “Up the workers!”
John Denham has emailed all Labour Party members asking them if they would like to be the party’s no-hope candidate in Eastleigh:
“As I’m sure you’ve already heard, following Chris Huhne’s resigation we’ll be fighting a by-election in Eastleigh. There are only three weeks until polling day on 28 February. There’s a lot to do in the meantime but Labour Party members like you have achieved great results in by-elections over the last couple of years – and I know you’ll do it again. But before all that, we need a Labour candidate and I wanted to give you the opportunity to put your name forward. Apply to be Labour’s candidate in Eastleigh by emailing your CV.”
Hopefuls have until Saturday to get their name in. Apparently “If you’ve never been out campaigning before, don’t worry – there’ll be training available.” Looks like they are all but sitting this one out then…
The Special Adviser code states:
“19. Special advisers must not take part in national political activities, which are: holding, in a party political organisation, office which impinges wholly or mainly on party politics in the field of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the European Parliament…
20(ii) …if they wish to take part in a General, European or by-election campaign, or to help in a party headquarters or research unit during such a campaign, they must first resign their appointment.”
Despite this, Nick Clegg’s SpAd James McGrory launched the LibDem Eastleigh by-election campaign last night from the Cabinet Office. The Tories reported him to the powers that be and now the Cabinet Office say:
“James has already apologised for sending the email. He has been reminded of the rules.”
He’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s so so sorry. Who he has apologised to was not mentioned, but an interesting precedent has been set; abuse taxpayer funded position to politic and you are fine as long as you are “reminded of the rules”. Guido imagines that some people over at the Department for Education will note the wrist-slapping with interest.
UPDATE: McGrory apologised to the Cabinet Secretary.
Guido has seen exchanges between the Government whips office and Tory MPs that would imply they are not expecting the Eastleigh writ to be moved for many months. Michael Fabricant, who seems to be in charge of the by-election again, reminds colleagues that the LibDems have three months to fire the starting gun.[…] Read the rest
Word reaches Guido that former lobbyist turned Clegg Downing Street spinner Olly Grender is being discussed as the LibDem nomination for the Eastleigh by-election. She’s got competition though from Dr Tim Leunig, formerly the chief economist at the liberal wonk-shop CentreForum, and now at the DfE, who is also said to be eyeing up the seat.[…] Read the rest
Not quite the Croydon Spring Lee Jasper promised as Labour held all three seats in last night’s by-election, but the main talking point is UKIP coming second in both Middlesbrough and Rotherham. Joyce Thacker isn’t the only reason voters are flocking to Farage’s party.[…] Read the rest
Outside of the Leveson bubble there are some actual, real, political events also going on today. Perhaps most interestingly the by-election in Rotherham. Labour’s nerves are reaching a crescendo, and not just due to the prospect of the Homeland candidate splitting the left-wing vote.[…] Read the rest
Join Ross Kemp as he travels to the mean streets of South London to meet ringleader of a notorious and radical gang known as ‘The Blairites’. Steve Reed is the name that strikes fear into the hearts of London residents, when he ran his extortion racket in Lambeth, nicknamed ‘The Council’, gang crime soared to record levels.[…] Read the rest