Sarah Southern “Accepts She’s F****d”

With Downing Street aides declaring to the Lobby that Sarah Southern is “persona non grata” her former colleagues are a little less diplomatic. Guido’s favourite joke so far being

CCHQ Staffer: Knock, knock…
GF: Who’s there?
CCHQ: Sarah…
GF: Sarah who?
CCHQ: Yeah, exactly.

Nothing like a bit of gallows humour, but the more information that emerges, the more this looks like an accident waiting to happen…

Reportedly on the verge of being sacked for incompetence as a coordinator in 2007,  Southern mysteriously quit on the day she was due to meet HR and senior staff. Conveniently Lord Ashcroft immediately gave her a job working for the International Young Democrat Union, which he was bankrolling at the time. This was during the height of his empire in CCHQ which included multiple desk spaces and his own glass office. Southern stayed around CCHQ reporting to Ashcroft until 2009 when everyone seemed to have forgotten about the whole mystery non-sacking. She then joined the events team though Guido has been unable to stand up her claims that she went shopping with Sam Cam on election day. CCHQ Op-Notes from the time suggest she was the logistics contact for a Cameron speech in Carlisle the day before…

The photograph on her now infamous business card was taken at the CCHQ thank you party after the election in the Rose Garden at Downing Street. Southern did not make it into government and instead embarked on a career in public affairs. Lobbying industry insiders tell Guido that they were put off  by her “it is not what you know, but who” attitude and belief that it would be enough to secure her work. In interviews she blamed the coalition for a lack of job in No.10 and boasted that she was at the peak of her insider knowledge and thus the perfect time to move on.  With no agency seemingly willing to take her on, she set up Sarah Southern Consulting. And the rest they say is history…

The line that will haunt her forever will be the Draperesque “I am friends with all the people who are now his closest advisers. I’m friends with the people who are chiefs of staff to members of the cabinet. I’m also friends with a number of people in the cabinet”. Those friends tell Guido that the one time insider “accepts she’s f****d”.

Don’t worry Sarah, bragging about contacts didn’t stop Dolly coming back… 

Sarah Southern Had Other Tories on Her Business Cards
Links to Transatlantic Lobbying Group Masked

The business card of former CCHQ staffer Sarah Southern, who was busted offering to retain undercover Sunday Times journalists for £15,000 per month in return for access to top Tories, will remain one of the more amusing yet important details of this scandal. Guido understands that the Cameron card was not the only one that Southern uses, and in fact she is said to have a range cards with different photos with various Ministers. Tory insiders suggest that they have been the source of amusement for some time, but not long enough for someone to say “hold on a moment here…”

After doing what is commonly known as “a Derek Draper”, an internet clean up job seems to have been done this afternoon, with various profiles being deleted, but not every trace of Southern’s connection to the British and American Project has been removed. She sits on the Executive Committee of the transatlantic networking group that puts rising stars in rooms so they can show off business cards. And the rest…

If you have been lucky enough to receive one of the sought after picture cards, then do drop us an email

Picture via Political Scrapbook

UPDATE: Southern is a Director of the British American Project. She also set up Sarah Southern Consulting on the 16th of last month.

Cruddas Quits – Full Resignation Statement
Stanley Fink Returns As Treasurer

Sunday Sleaze

Resignation statement in full:

“I only took up the post of principal treasurer of the party at the beginning of the month and was keen to meet anyone potentially interested in donating.

“As a result, and without consulting any politicians or senior officials in the party, I had an initial conversation with Zenith. No further action was taken by the party.

“However, I deeply regret any impression of impropriety arising from my bluster in that conversation.

“Clearly there is no question of donors being able to influence policy or gain undue access to politicians.

“Specifically, it was categorically not the case that I could offer, or that David Cameron would consider, any access as a result of a donation.

“Similarly, I have never knowingly even met anyone from the Number 10 policy unit. But in order to make that clear beyond doubt, I have regrettably decided to resign with immediate effect.”

Peter Cruddas resigns and kisses goodbye to the traditional peerage. Lord Fink has been brought back to CCHQ as principal treasurer…

Sayeeda Says We’re Mi-steak-en

Baroness Warsi’s people get in touch to point out that Guido was wrong to suggest that the Tory Chairman was full of it yesterday. When she said “I’m a vegetarian” what she apparently meant to say was that she actually eats meat. She keeps Halal, but this was seemingly too complicated to explain while being interviewed for a 2,500 word piece.

Glad that confusion is completely resolved then.

Tories Organise Huhne Blitz in Eastleigh

Requests have been sent to nearly 2,000 Tory activists to descend on the Chris Huhne’s Eastleigh constituency this Sunday, just two days after his next court appearance. Eastleigh has long been a tense subject in Tory circles after Conor Burns nearly took Huhne out in 2005, though a by-election would be a nightmare for the government, with a straight yellow on blue fight on the cards.

It doesn’t look like the Tories will be pulling their punches though…

Channel Four News Weighs In On Helmer Row

It’s not every day you get to talk about druids on national television…

The Other Sayeeda of the Story

Today’s Mail has picked up on Guido’s scoops regarding the ongoing battle between CCHQ and Roger Helmer MEPs. Tory MPs are now bombarding the chairman’s office with letters demanding that Rupert Matthews is allowed to take over when Helmer resigns, in line with convention. One bit of shameless spin made Guido chuckle:

“However, if Mr Helmer stands down, the returning officer would ask Mr Matthews to become an MEP as the next in line Tory on the list. Party chiefs would have to approve his candidacy, however, and sources say they cannot do so because he has dropped off the list of candidates. A senior source denied Baroness Warsi was trying to manipulate the East Midlands list.”

A bit of dodgy briefing there. The only reason Matthews “has dropped off the list”, is because Warsi threw him off…

UPDATE: Guido understands Crick is doing a bit of a hatchet job on Rupert Matthews for Channel 4 News tonight.

Spin Wars

Yesterday’s capitalism bunfight sent the spin machines into overdrive. Guido was amused by these two…

Helmer Statement Confirms Guido’s Scoops
Tory MEP Will Not Quit for “Protégée From St. John’s Wood”

In a statement given to ConservativeHome Tory MEP Roger Helmer has confirmed Guido’s many stories about the “mexican stand-off” he is in with Warsi and CCHQ:

I have made it clear that I will not sign the formal resignation papers

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: Rupert Matthews Heads to Strasbourg


Regular readers will be aware of the final battle between outgoing Tory MEP Roger Helmer and CCHQ. Helmer was meant to resign at the beginning of the month, but has refused to budge until Rupert Matthews, the next person on […]

+ READ MORE +

CCHQ Welcome Helmer’s Replacement

The latest internal CCHQ newsletter for the Midlands welcomes Rupert Matthews as Roger Helmer MEP’s replacement. It even has a whole article about his preparations for taking over. It was sent out by the official Conservative’s Midlands ofice and, given […]

+ READ MORE +

Conservative Arab Network is Back, Minus Some Players

In November Guido was digging around the Conservative Arab Network, an organisation not affiliated to the Tories, yet one that used their branding. The problem came when a lobbyist was using it on his business card. The CAN website […]

+ 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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