Lobby Won't Miss Another Downing Street Arrest

Downing Street’s failure to disclose to the public that Patrick Rock had resigned and been arrested for three weeks is causing some bother for the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson. At yesterday’s Lobby briefing Jean-Christophe Gray, or JC as he is affectionately known by hacks, was asked by lippy Mirror deputy political editor James Lyons: “Has anyone from Downing Street resigned or been arrested in the last 24 hours?” “No…”, a less than impressed JC sighed…

Labour Point Finger at Llewellyn

Following Guido’s story this morning that Patrick Rock was subject to a second sexual harassment complaint from a junior Downing Street staffer, Labour have written to Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood asking:

  • In total how many sexual harassment allegations have been made against Mr Rock, on what dates were they made, and in each case how were they dealt with and what was the outcome?
  • Was there a formal process for dealing with the sexual harassment allegations against Mr Rock, and what was the involvement of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Ed Llewellyn, in that process?
  • What other officials were involved? In your judgement, is it right for a political appointee to handle a sexual harassment complaint made by an official about another political appointee?

Firming up Labour sources this morning taking aim at Cameron’s chief of staff and Rock’s close friend, Ed Llewellyn. Don’t expect a reply any time soon…

Rock Subject of Two Female Staff Complaints Labour Question Rock Chum Llewellyn's Role

Guido understands that Patrick Rock was the subject of two complaints from female staff, Downing Street claims there was only one complaint and it was dealt with properly. The first complaint was from a junior female Downing Street staffer and the second from a senior civil servant who is no longer in No. 10. The dismissal of the complaints is said to have led to disquiet amongst female staff who were uncomfortable with Rock.

Downing Street last night denied there was a second complaint, which might be technically true as the senior female civil servant is thought to have complained informally rather than via the formal civil service grievance procedures. Guido understands that the complaints were about inappropriate pestering rather than anything of a groping nature.

Labour are suspicious and have two questions about the matter, firstly “Did Number 10 deliberately wait to announce [Rock arrest] to let the Harriet Harman story run?” and pointedly given his closeness to Rock “Is Ed Llewellyn the right person to look at this?”

No More Hung Parliament Party

Dave says he will not go into coalition after the election:

“The Prime Minister wants to make a commitment in the Conservative Party election manifesto not to sign a second power-sharing deal with a smaller party in the event of a hung parliament next May, it is understood.”

No.10 are not denying the story, instead saying that the PM is in it to win it. 

Such a promise reminds Guido of a remarkably accurate election broadcast from the Tories just before the last election. Who remembers The Hung Parliament Party? The broadcast went out while the Tories prepared for a Con/Lib government:

Is that a ‘cast-iron guarantee’ Prime Minister?

Delivery for Mr Oliver

That’s what they meant when they said he ‘got TV’.

Clegg: Cameron "Spineless"DPM Claims PM Only Cares 'How It Will Play'

Guido revealed what went on inside a tense recent meeting of LibDem MPs in yesterday’s Sun column. Clegg defended himself against allegations it had been “easy for him” in government, quipping “If I’d been a Tory it would have been easy.”

One crowd-pleasing line stood out: Clegg calling Cameron “spineless” and saying that while he used his Liberal values as guidance, the PM merely asks “how’s this going to play?”

Something that Tory backbenchers might find themselves in rare agreement with Clegg over.

Expect more public airing of dirty laundry as the Coalition’s divorce day draws nearer.

238 Days Later

The PM must have heard it’s Guido’s birthday because he’s got him a gift – the first Downing Street press conference in 238 days – 16.45 at No. 10.

Along with the floods, this is the second sign of the apocalypse. Guido is expecting a downpour of frogs any second.

Another Craig Oliver Image Success

Tory MPs first clocked something was  up when Rachel Reeves almost sat on Ed Balls’ knee to try and squeeze into shot on the Labour front-bench, along with Harman and Caroline “window dressing” Flint. A nice distraction trick for Ed to point out Cameron’s woman problem, but can only really be used once. Still, it’s not like the Downing Street director of communications has a background in TV management or anything…

Pic via @suttonnick

Yeo’s Woes are Direct Challenge to PM’s Authority

Well that was a bad judgement call from Downing Street, with Cameron and Osborne spending their political capital hopelessly backing Tim Yeo. Senior Tories are paranoid that this is just the beginning of the de-selection woes and the crack in the dam is rapidly expanding.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Dear Nick, ‘Please Stop’ Him ‘Before Someone Else is Abused’Tape Proves Downing Street Received Hancock Warning in ’11

The heartbreaking pleas from a vulnerable young woman to Nick Clegg have been revealed. As reported in this morning’s Sun, the Deputy Prime Minister cruelly ignored a letter from “Annie”, sent under her real name, as she begged three years ago to “please stop” MP Mike Hancock “before it is too late before someone else gets hurt and abused by him.” 

The Portsmouth South constituent, who is accusing her MP of abusing her after she went to him for help, sent Clegg this chilling warning in March 2011:

“He cannot be trusted and he is a liability to women, public and also your party.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Bright Blue Director’s SpAd Blocking Temper Tantrum

Over Christmas dripping wet Tory pressure group Bright Blue launched a blistering attack on the Conservative Party’s messaging. The group’s director Ryan Shorthouse slammed the Dave for “pandering to prejudice, uncertainty and anger”. Though now it appears it was Shorthouse who was the angry one – he was blocked by Downing Street in December from becoming a SpAd to David Willets at BIS.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Running the Country

There obviously wasn’t much to do in Downing Street this morning, as Dave managed to get a jog in for nearly an hour in the middle of the working day. Osborne was giving a speech and Clegg a press conference. Who really runs Britain at 11am on Monday?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Downing Street Confirms Energy Price Freeze Story is Untrue

20131129-094318.jpg

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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