Osborne is a Class A Repeat Offender

Yesterday’s Daily Star Sunday column revealed further details about Osborne’s Class A habit and why the BBC’s coverage of it was a little subdued:

CHANCELLOR George Osborne was left red-faced when he was accused of trying to get away with sitting in the first-class carriage of a train with a standard-class ticket. His spokesman and Virgin Trains deny an argument ever took place, even though a witness says his aide tried it on. Osborne does have previous on bending the rules. The same thing happened back in May when a ticket inspector was high-fived by other passengers for refusing to let the multi-millionaire sit in first class without the correct ticket. Strangely, BBC news all but ignored Friday’s incident. Nothing to do with the aide in the spotlight being Poppy Mitchell-Rose – a former BBC employee who is dating Ben Wright, the BBC’s political correspondent.

Guido’s favourite story was the Shadow Public Health Minister’s morning tipple:

LATE-NIGHT TV star and part-time Shadow Minister Diane Abbott was up for an award last week for the “Best Politician on Twitter”. Eyebrows were raised at the nomination, given that Abbott came very, very close to losing her job in January when she was embroiled in a racism row after tweeting blanket insults about all “white people”. There were even more eyebrows raised at the example set by the Shadow Public Health Minister who, upon arriving at the posh ceremony, immediately tucked into the champagne. At 8am.

You can now read the rest of Guido’s Sunday column online here.

Labour Bill Punch Drunk MP £3,000

Banned from pubs, tales of schoolgirl lovers and a conviction for assault in the Strangers’ bar – and now Eric Joyce could be another £3,000 out of pocket. This time it isn’t a judge demanding he cough up, it is his own Labour CLP in Falkirk. They want Joyce to refund the £3,000 they gave him in election expenses:

“He says the reason for not resigning as an MP is because he was elected personally, not the Labour Party. If that’s the case we want our money back.”

If he doesn’t pay they say they will sue. Eric Joyce is spending more time in court than in parliament these days…

VIP LibDems Live Conference Lobbyist High Life

The LibDem conference should by all accounts be an excuse for Clegg and co to distance themselves from their Tory counterparts, but it looks like they will be partying like the 1% next week. While Tories will remain under a strict champagne ban, Ashdown and Farron will be chugging kir, champagne and canapés thanks to spinmeisters Guide Consultancy. VIPs are being invited to drink with the grandees in an invite-only Brighton penthouse.

The lobbyists claim to have “stocked up on some great wine, not the usual conference fare” – presumably as a thank you to the LibDems for their abject failure to introduce lobbying reforms thus far, despite all the promises. Bottoms up.

Ken Clarke Attacks Tory Right and Reshuffle Tells Allies: "The Party Has Accidentally Drifted to the Right"

Speaking to those subversive wets of the Tory Reform Group at the Carlton Club last night, Ken Clarke displayed some characteristic candour. Reports from the room suggest that Ken was rightly introduced as the “only cabinet minister to lead us out of a recession”, but he quickly veered off message and rambled away:

“So now we’ve had the usual comic shambles that happens after every reshuffle… This has been my umpteenth reshuffle… I deny any suggestion that I got that job because I’ve had all the rest of them. My job will be to slot into the bewildering range of things that the government is doing… I’ll be dealing with the alphabet soup.”

Joking aside, Clarke’s insight into his role is rather telling:

Now George wants me in to keep an eye on Vince and Vince wants me in to keep an eye on George… We’ve got a deficit the size of Greece, we’ve got a real job on our hands… I don’t want to bring too much gloom, but it will be a long haul.” 

He doesn’t seem too bothered about having two masters, and why might that be? Apparently:

“the party has accidentally drifted to the right”.

He also noted that Cameron was having to lead “with the right acting up again” and Guido understands that there was a plea “to keep the centre ground, where elections are won”. The number of Clarke’s ilk in the ranks has greatly diminished since the last time he went into battle with his own party. 

Picture via @timothy_barnes. Quotes via @asabenn

UPDATE: Ken Clarke’s office are kicking back hard on some of this. They seem to be blaming tweeters in the room for distorting what Clarke was saying, though he does not deny attacking the right, or the his interesting choice of words like “bewildering range” and “alphabet soup”:

“These tweets give the opposite impression to the serious points I clearly made.  It is slightly altered little phrases taken from different jokes and put together. I made the case for a successful coalition and stated there was no ideological divide within it on economic policy.  On the economy I stressed that we were in for the long haul and that the Chancellor’s approach is the right one.  I also said in passing that the reshuffle should not be interpreted as a shift to the right.  Twitter is not renowned as an accurate form of reporting, but even I am surprised at distortions on this sort of scale.”

Seems someone is keeping an eye on Ken keeping an eye on George. 

Sacked Tory Minister Forms Reshuffle Victims Dining Club

A popular sacked Tory minister is setting up a “drinking/dining club” to offer “mutual support, counselling” and a “jolly good time” for  fellow “victims of the September 4th reshuffle”. Emailing said MPs with “Dear Colleague Fatality” , the former minister asks for views on whether Lords or even “the dreaded LibDems” should be allowed in. In honour of the date, the proposed name is the Geronimo Club after the surrender of the Red Indian chieftain on September 4, 1886. Just what the PM needs – all his recent enemies plotting together. Mr Brady’s post-bag will surely swell the next day…

Friday Caption Contest (Keep Your Friends Close Edition)

This week there is a bottle of Jura Superstition up for grabs.

Usual rules apply…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Hain v GuidoHain in Spain a Bit of a Pain

Guido is a getting a bit worried about Peter Hain. Yesterday the former Labour minister was lounging by the pool in sunny Spain and decided to pick a fight. Today he came back for more, which is never a good idea. There is not room for the whole conversation here, but this is a flavour:

The sun must have gone to his head…

Family Breakdown Rocks Cabinet

Millionaire Cabinet Secretary Caroline Spelman spent a year’s salary on a botched injunction the last time her son went off the rails, but ‘roid-popping Jonny’s latest embarrassment has been laid bare for all to see. The disgraced England rugby prodigy posted a video online claiming the Environment Secretary is kicking him out of the family home, then begs for money to support his new chosen career: body-building. According to the Daily Star Sunday Jonny has dropped out of his £31,000-a-year boarding school, moaning:

“My aim is to be the biggest guy there ever was…basically you know I wanna be the next Mr Olympia. Obviously this does come at a price, I’m afraid, as I’ve chosen bodybuilding as my life and my parents have sort of decided that they’re not happy with that. They’ve told me eventually I’m gonna have to move out and they’ve stopped supporting me financially.”

With Dave leaving his daughter in the pub and Spelman leaving her son out in the cold, family breakdown is spreading throughout the Cabinet. Did someone say Broken Britain…

LibDem Chief-Whip Has “Ickle-Little Bit Too Much to Drink”

Over the weekend Guido couldn’t help but spit out his Sunday lunchtime Rioja when John Bercow popped up on Murnaghan to claim he’d put an end to subsidised booze in the Commons bars. The Speaker insisted it was no longer a case that there was a “heavy subsidy”, even though House figures show the taxpayer has coughed up some £5 million to quench MPs’ thirsts this year alone.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Men In Tights Skirt Around Issue

The men in tights at the Commons have come up with a solution to stop our elected Members beating each other up in drunken rages:

· a wider range of non-alcoholic drinks and lower strength beers will be provided in catering outlets
· staff serving alcohol would receive further training and support in refusing to serve customers when necessary
· at receptions and events where alcohol was served, glasses would be topped up less frequently

Guido has a better idea.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Ben Bradshaw’s Campaign Coordinator Defects From Labour Yet More Young Conservative UKIP Jumpers

Tristan Pithers, who was the organiser of Ben Bradshaw’s re-election campaign “We’re Backing Ben 2010”, has defected to the Lib Dems stating:

“The class-warfare that the Labour Party is launching on the Government is shameful. It is not the kind of politics a serious Opposition should be engaging in.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Mayoral Election Reduced to Whining

Just when the Mayoral election was getting a little bit dry, the fine people at Oddbins have lined up a special selection of wines relevant to each candidate:

Boris is apparently a Diane de Belgrave Haut-Medoc Bordeaux. “Just like the current Mayor, the wine has been around since 2008, is classic old-school with a posh upbringing and a fruity side” Guido would have gone with Blue Nun…

Thirsty Ken Livingston is paired off with a Cape Chamonix Pinotage.[…]

+ READ MORE +

George Galloway backs Guido’s campaign to end subsidised bars for MPs….

“I think these bars should be closed. No-one else can drink at their work. No-one else is allowed to drink alcohol while they’re working. Why are we? Moreover, at subsidised prices – as was.[…]

+ READ MORE +

PICTURE:  Fox and Werritty Drinking In Westminster

Just as the media are on the hunt for senior Tories meeting people they shouldn’t be meeting, look who pops up in the White Swan:

 

Chin up boys.

Via the eagle-eyed Mini-Iain Dale @GrantTucker
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Pre-Loaded Spinning

As far as Guido can tell, the last time a Ministerial Statement was rushed on to the Friday agenda was when we bombed Libya. Given that the government has bombed quite enough already this week, unsurprisingly this rushed distraction job is not having the desired effect.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Last Order Orders

The Sundays were full of promises and a pledge of a review into how to stop MPs boozing in the Commons.

This should surely be a no-brainer for the Speaker: scrap the £5.8m subsidy. Guido feels this one is beginning to get some traction.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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