SKETCH: Ladies Tennis, ISIS and EVEL MacSporrans

Were they tails that the Speaker was wearing, and a waistcoat? Is he finally dressing the part? It’s cruellest trick he’s playing on his critics. He’s turning himself into a decent Speaker. Acting the part, dressing the part, sounding the part. He doesn’t even intervene with his tortured Macaulay-isms to kick things along (and as a result, for the first time ever he didn’t get through the order paper). He’s obviously settling in for the duration. He will die in office and even then he will not quit.

Harriet played a pleasant, polite and perfectly charming game of ladies’ tennis with the prime minister. In their exchanges, they mused about Heathrow, the death of tourists, the Prevent program and how it hadn’t succeeded in preventing anything. So now, it appears there is “a statutory duty on public bodies to challenge radicalisation.”

But how?

For politicians the first tactic is to manipulate the language. Continue reading

Dave’s Dossier: Deal or No Deal?

EU REFORM

If today’s extensive leak is accurate, this is what the PM is seeking from EU leaders as his renegotiation deal:

  • opt out from ever closer union
  • renewed focus on competitiveness and economic growth
  • fairness between eurozone and non-eurozone members
  • restrictions on EU migrants claiming benefits

So, what do Guido readers think?

Read Dave’s demands and decide: would that be enough to win your vote to stay in?

Cameron Last Month: Treaty Change “Required” For Renegotiation

David Cameron has admitted previously that he needs to secure treaty change before he can come to the British people and advise them to stay in the European Union.

In January he said that “proper full on treaty change” was needed.

Just last month his spokesman said treaty change was a prerequisite for renegotiation:

“He wants treaty change. All the advice that he has had is that treaty change is required, for example in terms of some of the changes that we want to see in welfare.”

How’s that going?

In the space of a few weeks the PM’s position has gone from requiring treaty change to a vague commitment to some possible treaty change at an unspecified time in the future. And this is just the first hurdle…

EU Purdah Stitch Up: Full Letter From Lidington to Tories

Minister for Europe David Lidington has written to Tory MPs to tell them they are still planning on stitching up the EU Referendum, but it’s ok because they they will ‘work with them’ to do so:

16th June 2015

Dear Colleague,

EU REFERENDUM BILL

I am writing ahead of the Committee Stages of the Bill to address some of the key concerns raised by colleagues during the Second Reading debate last week and to set out the Government’s approach.

As you know, the Government’s intention in bringing forward this Bill is to fulfil our General Election Manifesto pledge to let the British people decide our country’s future in the European Union. It is our clear intention, through the Bill, to provide a straightforward, fair and effective framework for the referendum.

Timing of the Referendum

As stated during the debate, the government is keen to maintain as much flexibility as possible over the date of the referendum. The bill sets out a requirement to hold the referendum by the end of 2017 at the latest, and the Prime Minister has always been clear that if we can hold it earlier, then we will. This has lead to a great deal of speculation that the Government intends to hold the referendum in May 2016 in combination with elections to Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies. I can confirm that this is not the case. We have now tabled an amendment to specifically rule out 5th May 2016 as a date. If we are not able to debate it during committee, it will be retabled at report.

Section 125 of PPERA 2000

A number of colleagues raised concerns in the debate about Clause 25 and Schedule 1 of the Bill. I am grateful for the constructive way in which these concerns were raised.

The effect of Clause 25 is to disapply S.125 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. It therefore removes the statutory restrictions placed on Government publications in the final 28 days before the referendum. Under S.125, Government and Ministers are prohibited from publishing during the 28 days prior to polling day any material which deals with any of the issues raised by a referendum question; and which puts any arguments for or against a referendum outcome.

As the Foreign Secretary set out during the debate, after careful consideration we believe that it is unworkable and inappropriate to fully apply S.125 in this instance. It is unworkable because the restriction on publication is so broad that it could prevent Ministers from effectively conducting the significant amounts of ordinary day-to-day business between the Government and the EU that will necessarily continue during the pre-poll period. And it is inappropriate because the Government, having taken a position on the outcome of our negotiations with the rest of the EU, will naturally be obliged to account to Parliament and the British people.

The Foreign Secretary said during the debate that the Government will exercise proper restraint to ensure a balanced debate during the campaign. We have no intention of, for example, spending public money to deliver mailshots to households ​in the last four weeks of the campaign.

Working out a system that will reassure colleagues and voters that the referendum is a fair fight, yet will preserve the Government’s ability to act in the national interest is not straightforward. It is important that it is legally clear and robust.

Therefore, we will work with colleagues over the next few months to understand their specific areas of concern and bring forward at report stage in the Autumn government amendments that command the widest possible support within the House and put beyond any doubt that the campaign will be conducted throughout in a manner that all sides will see as fair.

I look forward to working with you during its passage.

Yours sincerely

David Lidington MP
Minister for Europe

Yeah, that should do it…

Dave’s Balls Up in Bavaria

Tory unity has lasted exactly one month, as has Dave The Winner’s honeymoon with the press. Needless to say his EU-turn today and then an arrogant schooling G7 news conference has gone down like a cup of cold sick with the travelling press pack.

The PM’s suggestion that “if you’re not certain about something I said yesterday, then ask”, has gone down particularly badly:

If Cameron 2.0 is so keen on journalists asking questions, perhaps he might like to reinstate those monthly press conferences that he dodged for the last five years?

Blue on Blue: First Shots Fired in EU Row

If Cameron pushed through HRA reform today he would be accused of rushing it by critics. Just as his fast-tracking of the EU referendum bill has irritated others. Here’s Liam Fox accusing No. 10 of not being ‘entirely honourable’:

“Those who are urging him to go for a referendum in 2016, I think, have ulterior motives which are not entirely honourable. I think they want to see a decision made quickly to limit the level of debate in the United Kingdom; I think that they are afraid that if we have a very full debate then some of the real unacceptable issues in Europe at the present time will become all the more clearly seen by the British public.”

After years of demanding a referendum, suddenly on the cusp of one, there is a dawning realisation amongst eurosceptics that they will in all likelihood lose… 

Official: No Move Against Bercow Next Week

The Prime Minister told the 1922 Committee this morning that the government would be re-electing John Bercow when the Commons convenes next week.

Apparently Dave said “I think we’ve got more on our plate than the Speaker”.

Intriguingly, Bercow has more on his plate at the moment too. Namely being cuckolded by his cousin.

Friday Caption Contest (Election Special)

Better late than never… 

Dave’s Personal Jag Follows Tory Battle Bus

Just as his driver used to carry his shoes and briefcase. In his defence, it’s for security reasons…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Dave V Nick Ferrari: PM Teases Cable

The PM just ‘Eoin Clarked’ his Business Secretary and claims the #EdStone is worse than the ‘Quiet Bat People’

“A real doctor…standing against Vice Cable”. Zing…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Dave Reaches for the Props

Dave has a new prop: that Liam Byrne letter.

He waved it about in Wetherby high-street earlier. Local sources say the crowd was “about 60% passers by”. Which almost, almost counts as a walkabout…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Cameron: “Russell Brand is a Joke”

“Russell Brand is a joke. Ed Miliband, to hang out with Russell Brand. He’s a joke.”

At last a politician tough enough to stand up to Russell Brand…[…]

+ READ MORE +

“Fat Cats For EU” “Fat Cats For EU”
“CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS “CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS
CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL
CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS
CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE
TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY
CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE
OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES
TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA
ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN
STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION
NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE
CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN
SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY
SADIQ RAISES EU FLAG ABOVE CITY HALL SADIQ RAISES EU FLAG ABOVE CITY HALL
SAJ ‘PRIVATELY SAID HE WANTED TO LEAVE’ SAJ ‘PRIVATELY SAID HE WANTED TO LEAVE’
CRICK CRICK’D CRICK CRICK’D
EU WANTS CULTURAL QUOTAS ON NETFLIX AND AMAZON PRIME EU WANTS CULTURAL QUOTAS ON NETFLIX AND AMAZON PRIME
LIBDEM WHO COMPLAINED TO POLICE ABOUT TORY ELECTION FRAUD BROKE SPENDING RULES LIBDEM WHO COMPLAINED TO POLICE ABOUT TORY ELECTION FRAUD BROKE SPENDING RULES
LABOUR WON’T ALLOW CONFERENCE DELEGATES TO SELF-IDENTIFY LABOUR WON’T ALLOW CONFERENCE DELEGATES TO SELF-IDENTIFY
WORST BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND EVER WORST BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND EVER
CELEBRITY CONSUMER CHAMPION HITS BACK AT BSE CELEBRITY CONSUMER CHAMPION HITS BACK AT BSE
MOMENTUM REJOICE! ONLY 65% THINK CORBYN NOT READY TO BE PM MOMENTUM REJOICE! ONLY 65% THINK CORBYN NOT READY TO BE PM
TAXPAYER FUNDED ASH LOBBIED GOVERNMENT FOR PLAIN-PACKS TAXPAYER FUNDED ASH LOBBIED GOVERNMENT FOR PLAIN-PACKS
REMAIN’S GILLIAN DUFFY MOMENT REMAIN’S GILLIAN DUFFY MOMENT
NORTHERNERS MOCK “GRIM UP NORTH” BURNHAM NORTHERNERS MOCK “GRIM UP NORTH” BURNHAM
LONG-TERM RISE OF ANTI-POLITICS LONG-TERM RISE OF ANTI-POLITICS
SUPREME COURT FINDS IN FAVOUR OF PJS SUPREME COURT FINDS IN FAVOUR OF PJS