Angela Merkel has given the Dave a glimmer of hope in his ambitious plan to claw back even a scrap of power from Brussels. The Fresh Start Group of Tory MPs who want reform are point out an interview the German Chancellor has given:
“So we discuss if we need even more competences for Europe. However, we can also consider whether we can give something back.”
Given that Merkel is campaigning for re-election in September, we can take what she says with a pinch of salt but some ground is definitely being given. It’s no longer a straight forward no…
According to PA the PM said of his former party treasurer “I rather think I do owe him an apology”:
“I rather think I do owe him an apology. Had I known at the time how badly the journalists had behaved, I might have been in the position to take a different approach. I am very sorry about that. I congratulate Peter Cruddas on his victory and on the verdict he has won. I think it is very deserved. He has done a huge amount for this country. I look forward to meeting him after the summer.”
Which is not the same as actually giving him in one.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word…
Labour are enjoying this:
“If David Cameron thinks he owes Peter Cruddas an apology, perhaps he should invite him round to one of his famous dinners for donors in Downing Street to tell him to his face.”
The Sunday Times may well be appealing the case won by Peter Cruddas against their Insight team, but that has not stopped the former Tory treasurer cracking out the champers. Guido hears that Cruddas has written to a select few who did not put the boot in when he was stung by the the Sunday Times to invite them to a “thank you for standing by me party”.
Given the Conservatives are refusing to give him an official apology, Guido does not imagine many in Downing Street or CCHQ made the invite list.
Some non-baby related news, though toys will no doubt be thrown out of the pram. Lynton Crosby has just put out this statement:
“The Prime Minister has repeatedly and clearly said that I have never lobbied him on anything, including on the issue of tobacco or plain packaging of cigarettes. What the PM said should be enough for any ordinary person but to avoid any doubt or speculation let me be clear. At no time have I had any conversation or discussion with or lobbied the Prime Minister, or indeed the Health Secretary or the health minister, on plain packaging or tobacco issues. Indeed, any claim that I have sought to improperly use my position as part-time campaign adviser to the Conservative Party is simply false.”
A slightly more comprehensive answer than the PM…
Labour have taken their quest to get an answer from Cameron on Lynton Crosby to social media, getting hundreds of tweeters to ask the PM the same question again and again. Where might they have learned that little trick? Back in 2011 Guido used exactly the same technique to hijack an #AskEd twitter Q & A session, bombarding Miliband with enquiries about his dinner with lobbyist Roland Rudd. Then there was the #HodgeTheDodge hashtag, which hundreds of co-conspirators used to tell Margaret Hodge to answer Guido’s questions about her tax hypocrisy last year.
Guido has plenty more ideas to help Ed win, just get in touch…
Dave has survived a sledging from Aggers and Boycott on Test Match Special at Lords. Listen here:
"i've got a bad shoulder from playing tennis" – Dave on TMS with poshboys Keane.—
Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) July 19, 2013
Aggers: "What d'you think of [PM's] technique?"
Boycott: "Doing well, he's trying to save us"
Aggers: "No, cricket. Don't get all political"—
Alex Wickham (@WikiGuido) July 19, 2013
David Cameron: 'My new friend Vladimir Putin.'—
Ned Simons (@nedsimons) July 19, 2013
Dave: "I should have quit while I was ahead."—
Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) July 19, 2013
Enjoy the afternoon off, Prime Minister.
Wearing those sunglasses again. Tune in to Radio 5 Live Sports Extra at 1pm to see if Dave can avoid getting caught out on Test Match Special.
The spinmeisters were out in force yesterday trashing Dave’s Lobbying Bill. While it is obviously a case of well-they-would-say-that-wouldn’t-they, there is a pretty big hole in the Bill. Guido isn’t sure how Cameron can be claiming to clean up lobbying when his Bill, according to the Association of Professional Political Consultants, only covers 1% of lobbyists. Firstly, lobbyists won’t have to disclose clients if they limit meetings to SpAds and civil servants. Unless they meet minsters or permanent secretaries, they can keep their clients secret. Secondly, if you are an in-house lobbyist or your company is not a lobbying firm first and foremost, as are many of those who actually lobby ministers in person, you are exempt. Which means a huge amount of the type of lobbying that needs most scrutiny has been let off entirely.
If a lobbyist only meets a SpAd or permanent secretary, their clients can be kept secret. If an in-house lobbyist meets a minister, their clients can be kept secret. APPC surveyed 998 meetings between lobbyists and ministers, finding only two that would be covered by this Bill. These aren’t loopholes, they are chasms…
PM Tweets About Ant & Dec While Giving Mandela Tribute | Express
George Osborne: Action Chancellor | Speccie
DfE Taking Children for Poodles | Laura Perrins
Man Locked Up For Telling Mandela Joke | Star
Gordon Brown Debt Buster | Kebab Time
Five Arguments Against Paying MPs More | Left Foot Forward
BBC Must Be Held to Account Over Savile | Trevor Kavanagh
Guido’s Column | Sun
Safe Seat MPs Will Be Paid More Than Marginal MPs | Alex Wickham
Judging Blogs By Their Comment Threads | Dan Hannan
Labour Select Union Candidate in Falkirk | Guardian
The Belgravia Gallery reports:
“Having been asked by Nelson Mandela’s art publisher to represent his work,drawings mainly of Robben Island, we had the privilege of spending a morning with Mandela when he was signing the lithographs at his home in Johannesburg in December 2002. He delighted us with stories about a number of well known British personalities over the years when he was president. Perhaps the most surprising was his description of Margaret Thatcher as “Motherly” and he remembered how she had poured him tea and they had discussed various ailments and how after he returned home, she had sent him herbal remedies.”