Dead Ed: The Graph CCHQ Rein in the Hounds

Newsnight gave Ed a pasting last night, but sometimes a graph is all you need. Left Foot Forward have hit the spot:

Half the country thinks he possess absolutely no qualities worth noting. Guido hears that CCHQ strategists have scrapped an attack on Ed’s leadership pencilled in for Friday morning, post by-election defeat…

Tories Recruit Hundreds of Interns for Free Cabinet Level Exploitation

The blogger Ian Silvera has processed the data of how many interns are employed, for free, by politicians. Bad news for the Tories this morning as it emerges that the practice of exploiting slave labour goes to the very top of government. The worst offender by far is Jeremy Hunt, who has taken on seven unpaid interns in the last year. Mark Harper, Dominic Grieve and Andrew Mitchell have had three recreational bag-carriers a piece, while other members of the Cabinet, including Lansley, Gillan, and Greening have all recruited gratis support. Once CCHQ and the backbenchers are also scrutinised, the number of unpaid interns the Tories have used in the last year is at least 125. And they were the ones that were merely advertised rather than auctioned!

UPDATE:

Which reminds Guido of one of his favourite ever Guy News videos

UKIP Steal Tory Candidate and Helmer's Last CCHQ Battle

After Guido’s scoop this morning about CCHQ’s tactful start to the upcoming Heathrow By-Election, all sorts of other divisions have been emerging today. Many are asking what happened to the Tory love-in with open primaries, or even a basic selection meeting. The Commentator reports further embarrassment for Dave:  one former approved candidate did get a look in for selection, by UKIP:

 “…the UKIP candidate, highly likely to steal more than the 992 conservative votes that Jerry Shadbolt took in 2010, is none other than former Tory candidate for Edmonton, Andrew Charalambous. The businessman and barrister is also the founder of ‘Surya’, the world’s first eco-nightclub which hosted the official ‘Conservative Future’ party in November 2010. Activists may be confused as to whether to campaign for Cameron, who delivered them government, or for Charalambous, who delivered them… booze.”

With the Tories in a strong second place in the seat, the form set by the Oldham by-election should mean that we will be seeing the LibDems taking a sham role in this race. With the backdrop to this election, we could easily see UKIP coming third.

Talking of Euro-sceptics. Word reaches Guido from his Brusselois co-conspirator that all is not well with the outgoing Roger Helmer MEP. Normally the rules state that whoever is the next down the party list, automatically replaces a resigning MEP. However not everyone in CCHQ is enamoured with the equally Euro-sceptic replacement Rupert Matthews. He is a little eccentric and likes UFOs, but that can hardly render you unfit for selection when Norman Baker is in the government.

Some obscure quirk of the party constitution is being cited as a way of over-ruling the convention, but Helmer is having none of it. He has declared that unless Matthews is anointed his successor he won’t be resigning after all…

Turbulent Tory Take-Off at Heathrow By-Election

As the Tories announce their candidate for the upcoming Heathrow Airport by-election, there was some rather loud grumbling in the ranks last night. CCHQ have gone with the seat’s two-time general election veteran Mark Bowen. He’s the head of the Tory group on Hounslow Council and is looking to over turn the late Alan Keen’s 4,658 majority.

Given that the local press declared Bowen had “virtually accepted defeat” before polling day in May 2010, many boys and girls on the CCHQ approved list feel there should have been some semblance of an open contest, but it was all quiet from HQ. So imagine how well this email was received, hot from the Candidates Office, hours before last night’s announcement was made:

“I am expecting every candidate on the Approved List to rise to the challenge and take part in the campaign and polling day. If you are unable to visit Feltham & Heston, you can help out in other ways by joining our call centre in Millbank or at CCHQ Midlands based in Coleshill.

I am enclosing your Campaign Support Record Sheet. Therefore it is vitally important to print a copy and take it with you whenever you go to Feltham & Heston. This sheet will be signed by one of our Sector Agents each time you go. At the end of the campaign the completed sheet should be returned to the Candidates Department at CCHQ”

It’s not the request that is causing feathers to be spat, rather the patronising handholding and school trip worksheets, handed out in silence about how the decision was being made. So unity and vigour for December 15. It’s going to be a frosty winter on the stump..

Spot the Difference?

Strangely the Conservative Arab Network (C.A.N.) website has undergone a design change this afternoon. Above is their logo before and after Guido’s article from earlier today. Can you spot the difference?

Did Guido mention the Conservative Arab Network Limited was struck off the Company register earlier this year for not filing financial returns despite the directors getting three months warning? Will that be a problem for it becoming officially affiliated to CCHQ? 

Scotland's Top Tory Spinner in a Spot of Bother Tension Added to Tomorrow's Leadership Face Off

Another Sunday and another hit on “Dave’s candidate” for the Scottish Conservative Party leadership – Ruth Davidson. The Herald team report:

“The Conservatives’ top spin doctor in Scotland is under intense pressure over claims he has been advising a candidate in the party’s leadership election. Ramsay Jones, who as head of media has to be neutral in the contest, recently attended a meeting at Ruth Davidson’s home with her campaign strategists.”

The controversy focuses around a meeting on Sunday September 18 at the Cameroon former BBC journo’s Glasgow home. Jones, a party official paid for on short money, did a 150 mile round trip to attend. Officially, it’s  no comment all round, but Guido has spoken to other Scottish Tory figures who are fuming…

With one candidate ready to start all over again with a new party, and presumably new staff, the phrase “self-preservation society” is being thrown around an awful lot up north. Murdo Fraser’s plans have defined the entire debate to find a new Tory leader, and Davidson immediately became the “stop Murdo” candidate for those looking to save their own jobs. This meeting isn’t the first sign that the Tory establishment is backing Ruth, but it is the proof of the pudding.

While Cameron wants to keep out of this race, the timing of this story couldn’t be worse for him given that the candidates are going to come face to face at a conference hustings tomorrow afternoon in their first high-profile ding-dong. Given the temperature of the briefing going on this weekend it could get very messy…

UPDATE: Tory Party Chairman Baroness Warsi just told the Politics Show that she though Davidson was “fantastic”. There was no such praise for any other candidate. Seems the impartiality of the Party is well and truly out of the window…

Gove-Mail G-Mail

The full extent of the havoc that the Department of Education mole has caused is beginning to emerge. Today’s FT reveals another internal email that Gove’s people would probably rather not see the light of day.

As Guido reported a couple of weeks ago, the department SpAd’s assistant, Matt Gillespie, loyal to Gove’s predecessor Ed Balls, had sight of the Gove team’s emails and computers and has clearly made the most of it. They must be wondering what else he walked out with before he went to work for John Denham. No wonder the Tories are on the hunt

Chris Cook at the FT has taken the juiciest bits of an email sent by Gove’s loyal sidekick Dominic Cummings to other advisers suggesting that he would not be using his official email account anymore. What Cook fails to point out is that the full email, which Guido has put online here,  is about party political activity and sent to Conservative operational staff and spinners – something that arguably should not be done on government accounts. What does look a bit odd is the fact that he refuses to use his official party address either, opting instead for Gmail.

Chris Cook suggests that FoI  requests failed to turn up emails he has seen, thus breaking the law, however FoI does not apply to private party politics, only government business. While team Gove may be on the right side of the law here, it is muddy and hard to know where the line is drawn, eyebrows will be raised that Gove is allegedly using an email account in his wife’s name. If Labour have more from Gillespie to feed to Cook, this could get very messy…

Red Ed's Cuts are Dead

CCHQ are cock-a-hoop pushing the line that Miliband now opposes every single spending cut. Not sparing any dramatics, they are hammering home by withdrawing his support for the police budget reductions, Miliband has now u-turned on supporting any named cut:

  • Ed Miliband once said he would make a 12 per cent real-terms cut to central government’s contribution to the police budget. Now he wouldn’t make any cuts at all.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with time-limiting Employment and Support Allowance. Now Labour oppose it.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with reforming the Disability Living Allowance gateway. Now Labour oppose it.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with making savings in the roads maintenance programme. Now Labour oppose it.
  • Ed Miliband once said he agreed with making reductions to the Legal Aid budget. Now Labour oppose it.

Sounds more like a conference speech than a press release…

Mini-Reshuffle Runners and Riders

As reported yesterday, Downing Street have signed off the plans for a mini-shuffle should the CPS press the big-red Huhne button. All talk of the one time leader in waiting being able to cling on, despite a charge, has withered away, even amongst his most loyal Praetorians online.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Huntsman Throws Spanner in Romney's London Visit

Given the Yanks are in town to write about British politics, Guido thought he would turn his hand to the American presidential bid. Coincidently Republican front-runner Mitt Romney is also in London today to raise some cash from expats. He is trying to keep a low profile and avoid the media, though apparently he’s a little put out Dave is too busy to see him.[…]

+ READ MORE +

CCHQ Prepares for Bridgen By-Election

A Millbank co-conspirator says…

“Just seen MERLIN (Election Software) reports ran summarising the seat left on a printer. Such an act of faith….”

Oh dear…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Awkward Ed Miliband Moments

Guido enjoys browsing the entire website devoted to Awkward Ed Miliband Moments, CCHQ’s press office delights in re-tweeting gurning pictures of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and now the Mail joins in with 9 pictures taken during his speech yesterday.[…]

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Tories Level Pegging Makes Labour Uneasy

The ComRes/Indy poll makes pretty sorry reading for Labour HQ (Con 37%, Lab 37%, Lib 12%). The Ed Miliband honeymoon is clearly over.

Guido wasn’t expecting the Tories to be level pegging with the Labour Party in the polls until the autumn conference season.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Caring Labour Lender Donating Interest to Tories

Sir Richard Caring lent Labour £2 million back  during the loans-for-lordships era under Blair. He didn’t collect a peerage but he has been collecting 6.5% interest on the loan, or some £130,000 a year. That is roughly £2-a-year from each and every single Labour Party member.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

CCHQ source said…

“Don’t know why anyone thinks privatising the forests is some right-wing ideological plan, Caroline Spelman came up with it for Chrissakes.”[…]

+ READ MORE +

CCHQ Share Baldwin's Lines

Tom Baldwin must have more influence than Guido has given him credit for. Not only has he got toadying newsreaders like Krishnan Guru-Murthy to obey his decree that the coalition must be called the “Tory-led government”, but it seems even CCHQ are pushing the line:

He should write those letters more often.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Boris campaign team member Jake Berry not taking well:

“There is a very deep pit reserved in Hell for such as he. #Gove”

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