Tory Candidate Seeking Injunction Over MEP Dispute

story

Guido understands Tory candidate Alex Story is currently in the High Court seeking an interim injunction against the Yorks and Humber nominating officer to prevent him from installing anyone else as Yorkshire’s MEP. Story was due to take up the vacant role as Yorkshire’s next MEP, only to have his career “ended”, he says, by a “CCHQ cock-up”. Background here. Leeds council are arguing against the injunction being granted – the Tories instead put up local councillor John Proctor for the role. More to follow as we get it…

Referendum Day CCHQ Leak

cchq

Tory HQ has flooded:

From: Conservative Campaign Headquarters
To:
Subject: Access to Lower Ground Floor

There is no access to the lower ground floor at Matthew Parker Street due to flooding. Seating arrangements will be made on the Upper floor.

Down the road the Spectator’s offices have been submerged too. The Guy Newsroom remains dry, for now…

CCHQ Freeze MPs and Associations Out of Vote Source

vote-source

Tory MPs and local associations are seething after CCHQ blocked them from using the party’s Vote Source campaign software during the referendum. Vote Source is the Tories’ purpose-built database which allows them to target individual voters, a crucial campaign tool for any election or referendum:

VoteSource and the EU Referendum

Please read carefully:

In accordance with the decision of the Party Board – Access to the Campaign Section of VoteSource will be suspended during the EU Referendum Campaign.

Access to Campaigning will only be granted for Local By-Election activity.

Please contact your member of Field Staff to arrange this access.

This means the 142 Leave MPs and overwhelmingly Brexit-backing associations cannot run selections or export voter mailing and email data. Being frozen out of their own campaigning data has not surprisingly gone down like a cup of cold sick among Eurosceptic Tories, who are the hardest hit by the party board’s decision. The party is trying every trick to nobble Outers…

UPDATE: Mark Wallace at ConHome reports that the Remain campaign appears to have had access to voter data.

CCHQ’s Battle Bus Guidance Revealed

battlebus

Where do the Tories stand on the election fraud scandal? They are bang to rights on failing to declare £38,000 of hotel bills for Tory activists, blaming an “administrative error”. The issue of transport – the fabled “battle buses” – is contested. There are three outcomes here. Are CCHQ right when they say they’ve done nothing wrong? Did they breach the rules on national and local spending? Or was there a conspiracy to hide spending from the official declarations?

Leaked emails reveal CCHQ told their local campaign teams that the cost of hotels and battle buses would be “accounted for out of central campaign spend”. It stressed transport within the seat was not included: “For legal reasons the Battlebus cannot ferry people around the seat”.

The arrangement had the “personal sponsorship” of Grant Shapps, was “signed off” by Lynton Crosby, Stephen Gilbert and Lord Feldman, and was “supported by Deborah Feldman’s Team in CCHQ“. That’s Lord Feldman’s sister.

The good news for the Tories is this shows they did see battle buses as part of the national campaign all along, and demonstrates they were taking steps to abide by spending laws. So they can argue there wasn’t a conspiracy to hide the cash. The bad news? If the cops find it should have gone down as local spend, the party chairman and his sister are implicated…

CPS Says Up to Cops to Pursue Tories

battlebus

The Tory expenses affair takes another turn, the CPS says:

“Following a constructive meeting with the police and Electoral Commission, it has been agreed that each relevant police force will consider what action to take. This may Include making an application to the court under s.176 of the Representations of the People Act 1983 to extend the time allowed to bring a prosecution.”

Looks like the curse of Mark Clarke has hit a wall despite his best efforts in briefing Michael Crick… 

CCHQ Breaks Neutrality Promise

cchq-email

click to enlarge

The battle commences, the promise that CCHQ would be neutral is broken. On day one.

Harry Cole on Shapps Resignation

Feldman next?

Bully-Linked Baroness Inducted Into Lords Tomorrow

The father of Elliott Johnson, the young Tory activist who took his own life amid bullying allegations, has given an interview to LBC. Ray Johnson says CCHQ mishandled complaints against election guru Mark Clarke and again insisted Lord Feldman hand the evidence to the police:

[gigya src=”https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/cdn/embed_player.swf” style=”background-color:transparent; display:block; max-width: 700px;” flashvars=”image_option=small&imgURL=https%3A%2F%2Fd15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net%2Fi%2F17628880%2F300x300%2Fc&link_color=%2358d1eb&mp3Author=LBC+Best+Bits&mp3Duration=460047.0&mp3LinkURL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboom.com%2Fboos%2F3758994-dead-tory-activist-s-father-speaks-out-against-bullying-allegations&mp3Time=12.05pm+31+Oct+2015&mp3Title=Dead+Tory+Activist%E2%80%99s+Father+Speaks+Out+Against+Bullying+Allegations+&mp3URL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboom.com%2Fboos%2F3758994-dead-tory-activist-s-father-speaks-out-against-bullying-allegations.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&player_theme=light&rootID=boo_player_1&show_title=true&waveimgURL=https%3A%2F%2Fd15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net%2Fi%2Fw%2F3702009″ width=”100%” height=”150″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]

Tomorrow sees the induction into the House of Lords of Emma Pidding, who was chair of the Clarke’s ‘Road Trip’ campaign. Pidding has been accused by Ray Johnson of being involved in helping Clarke. Johnson says: “I believe that Clarke had powerful backers. I don’t know for certain who Clarke’s backers are, but the name of Emma Pidding keeps cropping up”. As recently as July, Pidding arranged for her close ally Clarke to be publicly ‘feted‘ by David Cameron at the Conservative National Convention. There are rumours that it was she that leaked the names of complainants to CCHQ about Mark Clarke – allowing him to apply intense pressure on them. Social media photos – like the one above – of Clarke and Pidding together were deleted by the Baroness-to-be after the scandal broke…

Father of Bullied Suicide Tory Demands Lord Feldman Hands CCHQ’s Evidence to Police

elliott-johnson-feldman

Ray Johnson, Elliott Johnson’s father has written to the Conservative Party chairman Lord Feldman demanding he hands over all the internal inquiry’s evidence to the police and abandons the party’s own investigation.

The letter alleges that

  • Edward Legard, the lawyer running CCHQ’s internal investogation is an “Old Etonian contemporary of the Prime Minister who can in no way be recognised as independent”.
[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Three Tory Activists Banned From Conference Amid Suicide Bullying Claims

Three prominent Conservative activists have had their conference accreditations rescinded following the death of 21 year-old Tory member Elliott Johnson. Johnson reportedly took his own life after making allegations against another Tory member. Guido understands that two of the banned activists are former candidate Mark Clarke, who ran the party youth-wing’s Road Trip election campaign, and Sam Armstrong, a member of the Tory youth group Conservative Future.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Confirmed: Philippa Roe Running For Mayor

On Wednesday Guido exclusively revealed that Philippa Roe would be a last minute addition to the Tory mayoral race. Today she confirms she is running:

“I am a Londoner through and through. I was born and brought up here, have spent my entire working and political career here and am now raising my family in what I consider to be the world’s greatest city.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

CCHQ Bend Rules to Avoid All-Male Mayoral Shortlist

Guido understands there is likely to be a last minute addition to the Tory mayoral race: gaffe prone Westminster council leader Philippa Roe has had her arm twisted to put in an application. Multiple sources say she has been canvassing for support.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Amy Fisher New Head of Press at CCHQ

amy fisher showcase_3bea2c4e6574bbb6d162a9de46bdb148
Chris Grayling’s SpAD Amy Fisher replaces Giles Kenningham as Head of Press at CCHQ.

Long time press office stalwart – and tax justice campaigner – Richard Jackson will be her deputy.

Fisher used to be at Policy Exchange before spinning for Caroline Spelman (remember her?) at DEFRA.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

SPOTTED: Grant Shapps Leaving Back of Cabinet Office

Why the delay in the announcement of party chairman?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

What’s Claret and Blue?

The speechwriter’s posterior. Somebody is going to get an auto-cue kicking…

west-ham-cam

It is the moment when he coughs uncomfortably as his brain whirs over whether to correct it and draw attention to the gaffe, or hope no-one notices. Tough call…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

LibDems Face Tory Wipeout in South West

sw-poll

If this poll is correct the Tories will take all their coalition colleague’s seats.

Tory party chairman Grant Shapps has been predicting strong gains in the South West for months…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Stewart Jackson on Bob Geldof:

“Now loudmouth multimillionaire soapdodger Bob Geldof is supporting the LibDem campaign in Richmond Park. Haven’t the voters suffered enough?”

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