Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Hunt is On

The correct technical term for what’s currently going on in Number 10 is “a flap”. Sir Paul Stephenson claimed early in his evidence that a “senior Number 10 official” advised, or even asked, the Met not to reveal information about  former News of the World deputy editor turned spinner Neil Wallis, due to the fact it would embarrass the David Cameron and Andy Coulson. The hunt is on and Downing Street is being bombarded with calls. The hunger for a political scalp that Guido mentioned earlier has shot up. Sir Paul Stephenson suggested the committee asked Mr Yates who it was. We wait with baited breath…

About That “Little Local Difficulty”

It’s not just the left that are putting the squeeze on Cameron. Yesterday Guido noted the dearth of Tory MPs coming out to support the PM, and though Nick Boles was put on Newsnight, he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory by describing the government’s current problems as a “little local difficulty”, though he did give Harman as good as he got. This morning ConservativeHome launched a tirade against the Tory leadership, slamming their handling of the crisis:

“The Downing Street team isn’t hanging together to push the Prime Minister’s case.  And they don’t hang together, they’re in danger of hanging separately.”

The Telegraph’s leader this morning said Cameron “has not been frank with the public”. Though there is no love lost between the Cameroons and the paper, their allegation has not gone down well. It’s ironic that the PM  has had to cut short his trip to Nigeria, of all places, to come back and fight corruption allegations back home. Tories are openly questioning whether jetting off was the wisest move in the first place. It’s hard to find anyone enamoured at Craig Oliver’s attempts to put out the flames licking the No.10 door and suggestions are floating around that he is a little out of his depth in the current crisis. It is so bad that some of his former detractors are joking that they wish Andy Coulson was back. Oh wait…

Given the fact heads have rolled in the media and the police already, there is a growing hunger to see a political scalp. Cameron’s Chief of Staff Ed “I didn’t tell the boss” Llewellyn is looking increasingly vulnerable, but surely Steve Hilton’s reputation is forever tarnished if he didn’t see the need to tell Cameron directly what he had heard about Coulson. As he claims. Knowledge is power in politics, and thus it seems a little odd that these two were so muted…

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tory MPs Run to the Hills

One thing that has been extremely noticeable today is the complete lack of Tory MPs coming out to bat for Cameron. Boris kicked him below the belt earlier and the rolling news channels, that have discussed nothing else today, have been void of any friendly blue faces. Even Nick Clegg had to be put out to say that the Prime Minister had no need to resign. Talk about scraping the barrel.

James Forsyth has also picked up on the silence and notes that the phones are extremely quiet too. The PM’s TV man Craig Oliver is in Africa with Cameron, but that is not an excuse for allowing the narrative that the PM walking is actually a possibility to gain traction. The Guardian are even suggesting that the PM should be knifed by the LibDems in order to save their electoral fortunes. Guido isn’t so sure that making, and then breaking Cameron, would do the yellows any favours. It is very telling that people are not willing to put their heads above the parapet though, this could be worse than it looks for the Prime Minister. Where’s George? Hague? Hammond?

While the PM’s Away…

If it was ever possible to get excited about an Ed Miliband speech, today’s might just come close. Not for his droning on about responsibility and the failures of those in power, nor for his pitiful attempt to play the father of the nation, linking three problems that boiled over while he was in government, but for the fact he made things a whole lot worse for Cameron.

Miliband went about as close as a Leader of the Opposition can come to calling for the Prime Minister to resign without actually saying it. Observant Ed said this is a time for leadership, but Cameron is “unable to provide the leadership this country needs” on account of being  “hamstrung by his own decisions” concerning Coulson. Given Ed’s track record in calling for resignations, such as with Cable and Ken Clarke, Cameron won’t be phoning the Palace just yet. There is no denying though that the Miliband just stepped things up a gear…

Monday, July 11, 2011

Miliband Twists the Hilton Knife

Asked if he was accusing the Prime Minister of lying about what he knew regarding the information passed to Steve Hilton, the increasingly confident Labour leader said “I’m not going to throw around allegations, but… what I’m saying is the Prime Minister has a whole series of unanswered questions on this issue.” And he’s right…

If they want this angle to die down, Number 10 need to get their line on this clear today. The longer they leave the speculation of who knew what, and when, the longer it looks like they cannot, or are not willing to, provide an accurate narrative. It’s very simple – did Steve Hilton discuss the two Guardian contacts with his boss. Yes or no?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cameron Presser – “No Stone Left Unturned”
“Would Have Accepted Brooks’ Resignation”

  • This scandal about more than one paper and goes to the heart of our media, police and politics. He said police investigations can only go so far, so there will be a full judge-led inquiry into the last police investigation. Apparently “no stone will be left unturned”.
  • Second inquiry this summer led by  independent industry figures looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. PCC “ineffective and lacking in rigour  – need a new system that is independent of the press.
  • “We’ve all been in this together” – parties and papers have been in bed and this is a wake up call. “it’s on my watch that the music has stopped”.
  • No apology for hiring Coulson, said no one seriously questioned his ability to do the job “but the second chance didn’t work out”. Said he would have accepted Brooks resignation…

On the ropes during questioning:

  • Said he “commissioned a company to do a basic background check.”
  • Clearly dodged specific questions on what he had asked Coulson.
  • Repeated over and over that “he gave Coulson a second chance.”
  • Still “friends” with Coulson but conceded he didn’t ask what else there was to come.
  • Brought prospect of James Murdoch being questioned by the police “the statement yesterday leads to all sorts of questions that need to be answered”
  • Dismissed Guardian suggestion that he was warned with any “actual information”

No apology, even when pushed hard.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Only 7% Believe That Brooks Did Not Know

A poll by Survation for Channel 4 News has found 72% of the public do not believe that executives at News International were unaware of the new hacking allegations. As the nation wakes up to the confusion that the newspaper that most ardently supports our armed services was snooping on our dead servicemen, things aren’t looking good for anyone.

The country seems split on the BSkyB deal, with 48% now thinking News Corp are unfit to proceed with the deal, but that could the least of the worries. The magnificent Peter Oborne has given Cameron two barrels in the Telegraph:

“Until now it has been easy to argue that Mr Cameron was properly grounded with a decent set of values. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make that assertion any longer. He has made not one, but a long succession of chronic personal misjudgments…

So the Prime Minister is in a mess. To put the matter rather more graphically, he is in a sewer.”

Things are starting to turn for Cameron very rapidly and we’re yet to reach the bottom…

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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. Those McCain pictures still haunt some in Cameroon circles…

However  just because the visit is going under the radar doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any campaign fun and games. Romney was meant to be putting his cap around at the home of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, but has been forced to move his fundraiser and other meetings to Dartmouth House in Mayfair instead.

It turns out Lady Rothschild is an extremely vocal supporter of Romney’s rival Jon Huntsman and has raised $1.2 million for him already. Apparently her position was made very clear…

Perhaps a coincidence that the Huntsman campaign poached Conyers Davies, CCHQ’s Head of Operations, at the end of last month…

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Real War For the Speaker

After the tension between Dave and Bercow flared up again last week, the PM has responded very publicly to the Speaker’s sarcasm. PA report from the PM’s trip to Afghanistan:

“Commons Speaker John Bercow is to spend time trading places with his counterpart in Afghanistan, it was revealed today. Bercow and Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi have been lined up for an exchange scheme agreed between the two countries. Asked if Bercow had been approached to participate in the exchange, a Downing Street spokesman said: “I am sure he is fully supportive of our efforts.”

Of course he is. Apparently “British and Afghan MPs, peers and senators could also take part…” Mark Pritchard and Peter Bone should start packing their bags.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Where’s Dave?

The PM did not attend this morning’s Reagan statue unveiling due to a “long standing international engagement”. Paul Waugh has been dropping hints all morning, and now that a British soldier has gone missing in Afghanistan, might we be seeing the PM leading the search from the front? So to speak… 

UPDATE:


Seen Elsewhere

Polling Averages Trend | PoliticalBetting.com
Speaker Faces Questions Over Pass for Donor | Sun
Tory MPs’ Visit to Israel Condemned | Guardian
Labour Was Too Slow for the Squeezed Middle | FT
Papers Pan Cam’s Immigration Pledge | ConHome
Deane of St Edmundsbury? | Times
Pay Volunteers and They Become Cheap Labour | Jill Kirby
UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail


new-advert
Westbourne-Change-Opinion Guido-hot-button (1)


John McTernan told Channel 4 News

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads