Looks like the only thing anyone was drinking at breakfast was awkward juice…
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) July 17, 2014
Looks like the only thing anyone was drinking at breakfast was awkward juice…
— Bruno Waterfield (@BrunoBrussels) July 17, 2014
David Cameron is to announce plans that threaten to pull Britain out of the European Court of Human Rights, Guido understands. Axed Home Office minister Damian Green wrote a paper preparing the government for a move towards withdrawal prior to him losing his job at this week’s reshuffle. Guido is told that the departure of Dominic Grieve as Attorney General paves the way for the government to toughen its stance on the ECHR. Nick Robinson was apparently the desired conduit…
After denouncing Juncker as “someone no one has heard of”, Cameron has nominated Jonathan Hill for European Commissioner. Who he?
Hill worked at the Conservative Research Department in 1985 before becoming a SpAd to Ken Clarke.
In 1991 he joined the No.10 policy unit and became political secretary to Major in 1992, going on to lobby for Bell Pottinger and Quiller before moving to the Lords in 2010.
Asked by ConHome in June whether he was would want to be European Commissioner, Hill replied “non, non, non”.
As an ultimate political insider, who has never been elected to anything, he will fit right in in Brussels…
The picture above shows MPs in the Commons right now debating EU justice and home affairs opt outs. Guido can count sixteen. And the three main parties wonder why they are losing so many votes to UKIP…
Which Labour leader responded to a major continental showdown involving a Tory Prime Minister by warning: “Is it now clear that last weekend the Prime Minister managed to unite the rest of the European Community against [them]“? Not Ed Miliband, that was actually Neil Kinnock to Maggie in 1990.
Ed’s own response to Dave’s Juncker defeat was almost exactly the same: “He started with a divided Europe over the Juncker candidacy, and he ended with a united Europe against him“. That’s not the only similarity…
Which Labour leader asked of the PM: “isn’t the answer that [their] combination of threats, insults and disengagement turned out to be a master class in how to alienate your allies and lose the argument for Britain“? That was Ed on Dave this week.
Eerily similar to Kinnock on Thatcher 14 years earlier, when he asked: “Does the Prime Minister not understand that, with her method of conducting affairs, she is throwing away that sound argument and losing both potential allies and necessary influence?” More evidence that Miliband is the heir to Kinnock…
Andrew Lansley was working the terrace hard yesterday evening, hobnobbing with Tory backbenchers and cabinet ministers alike at the IoD summer party, and really pressing the flesh. Observing the situation from the sidelines a senior government source whispered to Guido that the Leader of the House “doesn’t have a cat in hells chance” of being the UK’s next EU Commissioner. When Guido questioned the veracity of such a claim, the confident reply came “trust me, it’s never going to happen. He thinks it will, but I can assure you it won’t.” Could it be Whitehall bluster, or a diversionary tactic? Or is Lanners really out of the race? We report, you decide…
The original European gravy train has been cancelled – literally! The Charter Thayls – the luxury train service that at great expense farcically shuttles MEPs and their entourages between Brussels and Strasbourg as and when the European Parliament flits between the two cities, isn’t running today thanks to French strike action. Merde!
“It is the wrong person. Jean-Claude Juncker has been at the heart of the project to increase the power of Brussels and reduce the power of nation states for his entire working life. He’s not the right person to take this organisation forward. I’m very clear about the right thing to do. I know the odds are stacked against me but that doesn’t mean you change your mind, it means you stand up for what you believe and you vote accordingly.”
Going down fighting…
Dave isn’t backing down over Jean-Claude Juncker. Craig Oliver will be pleased that in the news clips being played this morning, he’s in full on plucky Englander mode, sticking it to Johnny Foreigner even if he was outnumbered all along. It all sounds good, but Labour have been left with what they think is an open goal:
“[Cameron has] turned a Europe divided over Jean-Claude Juncker into a Europe apparently united against David Cameron”.
Opportunistic from Wee Dougie as both Labour and even the LibDems quietly support the principle that Dave is fighting for, namely that national governments determine who is to be president of the European Commission, rather than the corrupt overgrown student union that is the European Parliament putting one of their own in charge.
Juncker is the past. As Fraser Nelson says this morning:
“The idea that the correct response to last month’s Euro elections is the enstoolment of a technocratic federalist is, of course, preposterous – but Cameron is the only leader with the courage to say so openly.”
Europe is moaning because the Prime Minister is not playing ball with them – no bad thing. The implication of their attack is that Labour are siding with the EU. Something they must realise is voter repellent right now, whatever misty-eyed ideological commitment to the project Miliband holds.
Meanwhile, “fears over Juncker’s drinking” have finally cut through to the front pages, with the Telegraph reporting his “drinking habits have been discussed at the highest levels by European leaders who privately have concerns over the lifestyle of the continent’s president-in-waiting“. Guido sees Juncker’s penchant for breakfast wine as his one redeeming quality…
Fourteen Tory MEPs took the gravy train to Croatia last week, recovering from the gruelling Euro election campaign by spending £30,000 on a taxpayer-funded “study day” at Dubrovnik’s luxury 5-star Imperial hotel, enjoying posh nosh and being entertained by world-renowned, and often lingerie-clad cellist, Ana Rucner. Though this time Ana managed to keep her mini-skirt on for her performance. As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday, Syed Kamall, the new leader of Tory MEPs in Brussels, only dashed back to London a day early from his “studies” so as not to miss seeing the England-Uruguay match in London. Now the MEPs who went on the jolly have been told to stonewall hacks investigating them living it up on the taxpayer, sending this email to the junketeers:
From: HOLTUM James
Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:23 AM
To: CALLANAN Martin; ANDREASEN Marta; ATKINS Robert; KIRKHOPE Timothy; VAN ORDEN Geoffrey; FOX Ashley; MCINTYRE Anthea; CAMPBELL BANNERMAN David; FOSTER Jacqueline; ASHWORTH Richard; MCCLARKIN Emma; DUNCAN Ian; FORD Victoria Grace
Cc: FURBISHER John; HOLTUM James
Subject: Study days
Dear Members, you may have seen that you are mentioned as one of the attendees at ECR study days this week.
Our advice is to avoid any unknown numbers for a day or two, but in case you are caught off guard or doorstepped, here is the line that we gave the Mail…
Shutting down stories about wasting taxpayer cash, clearly Brussels has taught them well…
Redwood Exposes Constitutional Vandalism | Nick Wood
No Campaign Has Been Inept | Mail
PM Faces Friday Bloodbath | Mail
Will Miliband Bottle English Devolution? | Mary Riddell
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott
Cameron Faces Vote of No Confidence or Rebellion | FT
Cameron Faces Revolt Over ‘Vow’ | Sun
It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:
“Sunday, May 10, 1998
Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.
After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.
I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.
They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].
I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”