Friday, November 29, 2013

Downing Street Confirms Energy Price Freeze Story is Untrue

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Paul Waugh quotes a Treasury source as saying that the story doing the rounds this morning that the government was going to ask energy companies to freeze prices is “complete b******s”, now a Downing Street source has confirmed to Guido that the story is untrue. Which given their recent record for u-turns, egg-turns and intellectual incoherence is perhaps surprising. Number 10 sources stress that it was the BBC who got the story wrong, saying it appears to have come from a “confused” energy company and so is not a u-turn. Another expertly handled No. 10 press operation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No.10 ‘Crippled With Fear’ Over Coming NHS Crisis

As Dave jets off on another one of his travelling salesman tours, he leaves behind a Downing Street operation in a bit of a flap. There is a growing mood within No. 10 and Whitehall that as the good economic news keeps coming, with the recovery strengthening, the government’s self-proclaimed central purpose will slip down the agenda. Instead of talking about the economy, the next couple of years will focus on other issues and problems. The NHS, Universal Credit and Romanian/Bulgarian immigration are causing the most sleepless nights. 

Sources claim Craig Oliver is particularly concerned about the NHS and a bucket of bad news set to come down the line. Crisis talks have been held between the Department of Health, No. 10 and the Cabinet Office. When Department of Health officials were asked when the good news from the NHS reforms would start to trickle through, the reply was “never”. Winter is coming, one SpAd tells Guido the Tories are ‘crippled with fear’. If it is a cold winter, high energy prices, poverty and the NHS will come together as a perfect storm, with higher senior citizen mortality…

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Global Race

Always keen to support a good cause, Guido was browsing the Just Giving website when he came across Craig Oliver’s 10k fun run page. He’s already raised over two thousand pounds, thanks mostly to eager hacks opening their wallets for stories. Who said chequebook journalism was dead?

The Mail’s Tim Shipman will double his donation if Craig wears his infamous Dre headphones, Simon Walters “wouldn’t want you to fall flat on your face in the mud”, Jeremy Vine wonders “if you can beat your time last year of 7 hours” and Matthew d’Ancona asks if he has become a Tory donor chipping in a ton.  Sky News have whipped around for another £100 and it seems Mark Easton, the BBC’s home editor who was singled out by the Tories at the weekend for being a pinko-under-the-bed, is not sore enough to hold a grudge.

Number 10′s very own Andrew Cooper wins with “I think you’re taking the global race too seriously.” George Osborne has chipped in £50, plus £12.50 gift aid of course from the rest of us. Though no sign of the PM…

Guido was feeling generous:

Joking apart, you can donate here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Number 10 Policy Board Job Allocation

Jobs for the new faces on the Number 10 policy board announced this afternoon:

  • Alun Cairns – environment, energy and local government
  • Andrea Leadsom – part of the public services brief
  • Nadhim Zahawi – economic affairs
  • Priti Patel – home affairs and constitution
  • Chris Skidmore – public services

Softening the blow of being overlooked in the reshuffle.

Via @monitoringuk

Friday, October 18, 2013

Let Them Wear Jumpers

New Deputy PMOS Scot Marchbank’s first lobby briefing went well then. His Marie Antoinette-esque answer to a question about whether families struggling to deal with rising energy bills should wear jumpers at home: “If people are giving that advice it is something they may wish to consider”. Quite a gaffe to begin with. You can see the Mirror splash already…

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sacked Tory MP’s Ex-Wife Does a Tim Loughton
Publishes Text From DC’s Gatekeeper Kate Fall

It has been widely reported this morning that Fiona-Natasha Syms did not take the news of her ex-hubby Robert’s sacking as a Tory whip very well:

What has been missed by some, is the swiftly deleted picture of text message from Kate Fall that she posted, but not before it was caught by HuffPo:

There goes the knighthood.

Dowden’s Day Job Perks

dowden

Some rather “unsubtle” and “unsophisticated” politicking from Number 10’s Deputy Chief of Staff Oliver Dowden, who is trying to sew up the nomination for the safe Tory seat of Croydon South. Local co-conspirators tell Guido that Dowden has been calling local party figures who will have a say in the selection and dropping into conversation “oh the Prime Minister’s just walked in, fancy a chat?” before passing over the phone. Wary of this type of pressure, the other safe seat that is also selecting at the moment – Tonbridge and Malling – has opened up the decision to every registered voter in the area. 65,000 such phone calls suddenly gets a bit tricky.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Downing Street Revolving Doors LibDem Joanne Foster Out and Cooper on His Way

As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday Downing Street pollster Andrew Cooper is to leave No.10 shortly. It will be spun that he is going to continue helping out on a part-time basis when he goes back to his old firm Populus. Now the PM has Lynton Crosby on his team does he really need two pollsters? Especially since Cooper was the one who told Dave not to worry about UKIP because they would only be a flash in the pan…

Talking of  flashes in the pan, Joanne Foster, who has only been Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s gatekeeper for 2 years is also leaving to go to the lucrative world of lobbying with her now expanded list of government contacts. Ker-ching.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Labour Accuse Downing Street of Cracking Up

Labour attack dog Michael Dugher has upped the pressure on Hague after Guido’s revelation that it was the Foreign Secretary’s PPS that called Miliband a See You Next Tuesday over Syria. He told LabourList:

“There is a pattern of behaviour in David Cameron’s government. Whether that’s the rather stupid and puerile comments made on a regular basis by Michael Gove; the alleged foul-mouthed outbursts by William Hague’s parliamentary aide; or frankly the rather inept and unprofessional briefings from some very weak performing individuals who simply can’t take the pressure in Downing Street.”

Guido is not sure the sweary opinions about Miliband are exclusive to Downing Street, or even just the Tory party.

UPDATE: A government source hits back:

“This is laughable coming from the man whose only political achievement so far was acting as the mouthpiece for a failed PM who had one of the worst PR images in history. Now he’s just become a cut price version of Tom Watson.”

Ooooooh. Guido will report back on whether they’re going to take that.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Official: Government Ignore UN Loon’s Report

The report of this morning’s Lobby briefing claims “there was no audible reply” when the PM’s spokesman was asked if “the Government would be taking into account the views on housing and benefit policies from a Brazilian UN academic who ‘allegedly dabbled in witchcraft and allegedly made animal sacrifices to Karl Marx’”. Some people heard the reply though, Paul Waugh points out it was: “I think you’ve answered your own question.”

So that went well for the witchdoctor activist posing as an independent expert…


Seen Elsewhere

How to Win a Twitter Argument | Hopi Sen
Sign Petition Calling for Ruffley to Resign | Change.org
People’s PMQs Would Divide Politicians and Public | Dan Hodges
Morgan Hires Gay Rights Campaigner as SpAd | Telegraph
Don’t Underestimate Philip Hammond | Nick Wood
Labour Council Collaborates With Pro-Hamas Group | Breitbart
Qatar Sugar-Daddies of Islamist Financing | Left Foot Forward
Guido’s Column | Sun
Miliband Drawing Attention to His Mistakes is Madness | Lord Bell
Another Renewable Myth Goes Up in Smoke | Matt Ridley
Ed’s Problem is His Policies | Trevor Kavanagh


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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