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 Guido
Hain 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. Bercow’s definition of what constitutes a heavy subsidy may differ from the rest of us

The Speaker went on to criticise the Westminster culture of booze, even having the nerve to suggest that some MPs might be better off cutting down on their drinking. His advice certainly wasn’t taken by Labour’s Emma Reynolds and her team at Francois Hollande’s victory party in Paris. Guido has it on good authority that, in true socialist fashion, the champagne was flowing freely. It’s just a shame Emma’s boss, wee Dougie Alexander, wasn’t there to join in the festivities…

Whilst on this occasion the French seemed to manage to handle their drink, the same cannot be said for the LibDem chief-whip Alistair Carmichael. The Scot had one too many glasses of red on the evening, and then made the fatal mistake of sharing the news on Facebook:

Scottish LibDems are joking that never before has one of their MPs seemed less out of touch…

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

[…]

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

[…]

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 […]

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 […]



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Tim Shipman to Adam Boulton on the TV debates…

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