Tory Rebels Keep Jobs

With Conor Burns quitting and Angie Bray being sacked for refusing to walk the line on Lords reform, eyebrows have been raised about other job-holding Tories who rebelled, but have somehow managed to stay in their party posts, nominally in the gift of the party leader.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown is head of the International Office at CCHQ. His former deputy there was Mark Pritchard, who made a big fuss about resigning a while back specifically so that he could vote against the leadership. Precedent has been set…

Nicola Blackwood is a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Social Action. Not for long though surely?

Charlotte Leslie is Cameron’s Big Society Ambassador. A job that her local paper claims makes her a “lynch pin” in the project. How will it cope?

Will they face the high jump or will the Whips turn a blind eye?

UPDATE: It’s a no comment from CCHQ.

Dave Preparing Conference EU Blitz

The latest briefing to Tory MPs gives an interesting clue as to Cameron’s next move re-Europe:

From: CCHQ
Date: 2 July 2012
To: MPs Lines To Take
Subject: Political Topline: 2 July 2012

Good afternoon. Please see below the political top line:

The Prime Minister is clear that an in-out referendum is not the answer right now. Instead we should first set out how we want to change our relationship with Europe and then as the end point becomes clear we should consult the British people, either in a general election or a referendum. He will set out more details of the Conservative Party’s position in the Autumn.

Faced with his choppiest conference yet as leader, it seems the PM is preparing some EU shaped hats and rabbits in time for Birmingham.

Tories Advise Top Donors How to Avoid Tax

Dave might think that Jimmy Carr is morally repugnant but that has not stopped the Tories from advising their wealthy donors on how to avoid tax. The Conservative Foundation, an organisation run by an array of Tory grandees and city types, is offering donors the chance to dodge inheritance tax through a scheme in which they leave a “legacy” to the Tory party. The scheme promises to “reduce or even remove completely” the inheritance tax liability of rich Conservative backers, while its website explains how to take advantage of rules allowing tax-free donations to political parties. Although the scheme appears to have been set up on the quiet it is startlingly open about its intentions:

Cameron was always going to be a hostage to fortune over tax avoidance, now he faces the inevitable dilemma of having to deal with questions about his party’s wealthy financiers. He’s hardly making it easy for himself.

CCHQ Abandon Lords Spin

From: Lines To Take
Sent: 26 June 2012 12:26
To: Lines To Take
Subject: Political Topline: 26 June 2012

Lords reform

We know this is not the most important issue facing this country. We are focussed on dealing with the deficit, getting the economy growing and standing up for hard-working people.

There have been divisions on all sides regarding the details of reform so we’re only going to achieve reform if we work together and Parliament will debate these issues. But it is right that we should try to agree something that all three major parties committed to in their manifestos at the last election.

Hardly fighting talk…

Warsi Reality Check

Guido has been a regular critic of Baroness Warsi – it is fair to say we do not approve of her characterisation and handling of the Eurosceptic wing of her party – for example she blundered so badly during the succession to the retiring Roger Helmer MEP that his seat is now represented in the UKIP interest.

We’ve written before that it is pretty poor of her defenders to try to characterise criticism as crypto-racism. It was the Labour MP Karl Turner who called for Warsi to be referred over her expenses claims not just to the Lords Commissioner for Standards, he wrote to the police as well. It was Labour’s semi-official attack dog Michael Dugher who wrote to the Cabinet Secretary demanding a full investigation. Labour’s Deputy General Secretary Tom Watson raised questions about the propriety of her trip funded by the government of Pakistan. Turner, Dugher and Watson have many unpleasant failings, however racism is not among them.

Tory activists don’t rate Warsi’s skill at making her party’s case on the Today programme or on Newsnight, Tory commentators tend to agree. Here Guido thinks they mistake her blunt directness for a communications problem – she was pretty effective on the most watched edition of Question Time against Nick Griffin. She may not appeal to political wonks and pundits – she is not a product of the Oxbridge PPE clique that dominates Westminster – however because voters can identify with her Warsi reaches voters who it is impossible for the posh boys to reach. Warsi is a highly visible and valuable advocate, which is exactly why Cameron appointed her party chairman. Warsi should be deployed to reach non-traditional Tory voters, not to communicate to the political class that wakes up listening to Today and goes to bed watching Newsnight. 

Labour and their media allies are trying hard to make capital out of her referral by Cameron and Hunt’s non-referral. This is supposedly evidence of Tory prejudice. Actually it just reflects the fact that Hunt denies wrongdoing and Warsi admits it, arguing that they are minor oversights.

Warsi’s War

20120531-084809.jpg

There is a fascinating exchange of letters over at the Staggers between the Chairman of the Conservative Arab Network and Tory Chairman Sayeeda Warsi. They discuss Guido’s revelations about the group, and show how the exposé set off a chain of events that led to the troubles that Warsi is in right now:

20120531-084858.jpg

This may be revenge, but that does not make it any less dangerous for Warsi…

Warsi Will Regret CCHQ Kicking the CAN

It all began with another Tory using a dodgy business card. When Guido started digging into the Conservative Arab Network back in November, it soon became clear it was going to end in tears. One of their directors, a lobbyist, came to Guido’s attention when his card had the Tory logo on it, despite the group not being officially affiliated to party. Complaints were made and the Party seemed to realise something was up…

Sources within the group seemed confident that CAN would be given official status, not least because its Chairman Dr Wafik Moustafa was a close friend of Warsi who was proud that she had lived in his house. Issues around Warsi’s expense claims were well-known in the network and voiced to Guido before Christmas and again in January. CCHQ’s rejection of CAN’s affiliation in March meant there was a risk of Moustafa going rogue…

Confirmed: Susie Will Spin for CCHQ

As revealed here this morning…

Hire and Squire?

Reliable Tory sources tell Guido that IDS SpAd Susie Squire is being lined up to replace Henry Macrory as the Head of Press at CCHQ. Guido spoke to Susie this morning who refused to comment on our well sourced speculation.  […]

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: Henry Macrory Quits CCHQ

Guido hears that popular Tory Head of Press Henry Macrory is standing down at the end of next week. Starting out in No.10 after the election, he has been beefing up the CCHQ press team for the last year after […]

+ READ MORE +

Warsi Sinks at Titanic Event
Party Chairman Booed by Tory Councillors and Members

This morning’s Indy has another instalment of the Don’t Sack Sayeeda Warsi Campaign. Though the rhetoric is toned down from previous efforts, she is uncompromising in her attacks on the right of the party. Oliver Wright has been […]

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: Feather Smoothing Email Sent to All Tory Donors

image

From Stanley Fink, Treasurer of The Conservative Party

I thought that it would be appropriate for me to write to you in light of the events of the last few days.

In the first place, to let you know that […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liz Kendall is asked by Tom Newton Dunn if she would ever ban the Sun from one of her press conferences:

“If you stripped naked and ran in front of me, Tom, I might have second thoughts about it, but apart from that, no.”

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