The Plot Thickens…

Ed Balls has been on the phone to a friendly ear to unequivocally deny he was behind the Burnham briefing Guido mentioned earlier:

There is no truth in these allegations, in these smears about me or my supporters. It is complete nonsense. Andy and I get on very well and no one from my team was involved in these briefings. Andy Burnham and I spoke this morning and we both agreed that any suggestion of him pulling is out rubbish. We both agreed that no one surrounding me has made this allegation. And both of us think there is mischief being made — but it’s not coming from my team or his team. It’s coming from a third party.

But then he would say that wouldn’t he, or is a Miliband being clever?

Miliband’s Millionaires

For all the hustings and the hype, what really makes leadership campaigns successful is the hard cash. And no surprise that favourite David Miliband has raised nearly five times that of his closest financial rival Ed Balls.

  • David Miliband -£185,000
  • Ed Balls – £28,000
  • Ed Miliband – £15,000

Abbot and Burnham haven’t even raised enough to need declaring yet. Ouch.

So where is Miliband’s money coming from? He has declared that there are three Lords pulling his strings. Blair’s old chum Lord Sainsbury gave £20,000, Lord Alli used a proxy company to give £50,000 and Lord Puttnam threw in a cheeky £10,000. The novelist Ken Follett gave Balls the bulk of his money. Cha-ching.

Burnham Blames Balls for Briefing

Andy Burnham reportedly “nearly fell out of his chair” when he read in the papers that he was considering pulling out of the Labour leadership race to avoid the embarrassment of coming last. Guido “nearly fell out of his chair” last month when he read Ed Balls describe the political tactics he is an expert in as “pretty unedifying”. He went on to say “there will be no off-the-record briefings from anybody involved with me.” Funny then that this morning fingers are being pointed at Team Balls as the source of the what Burnham describes as “a malicious briefing”. Ed’s “I’ve changed” act was never going to last long. Here comes the mudslinging…

UPDATE : Latest Labour leadership odds from Political Smarkets:

David Miliband 63.6%
Ed Miliband 23.8%
Ed Balls 8%
Andy Burnham 2.1%
Diane Abbott 2%

Balls is fighting the most aggressive, high visibility campaign…

Late Night Sessions

One of the great things about EyeSpy.MP (or the “phantom blogger” as Sir Michael White mistakenly calls it) is that it reveals the truth about MPs actual behaviour.  Next time an MP whines about being poorly paid and hard working because of all those late night sittings, ask him what really happens during those sessions? Do they scrupulously scrutinise legislation and make speeches of great oratory?

No they get drunk and gossip. Last night the PLP was getting pissed and occasionally wandering into the lobbies to vote. Here are a selection of EyeSpy.MP tweets from last night:

4 out of 5 Lab leadership contenders on the terrace taking advantage of rare late night sitting to be matey (or trying to be in case of D & E Miliband).

Last night: Balls, Burnham and Ed Miliband in the Kremlin buying pints for down-market North East Labour MPs

Why aye man, it’s Sharon Hodgson pet! Skulling a vat of white wine. Drunk as a skunk.

0130: Tired and emotional Dennis Macshane stinging drinking companions for expensive glasses of Sancerre on the Terrace

0200: Ed Balls the last Labour leadership contender left on the Terrace – still drinking pints with the NE mafia!

Bear in mind some of these MPs will have been drinking subsidised beer since tea-time.  In many cases they will be completely drunk when voting and the whips basically roll them into the lobbies. In how many jobs outside the entertainment industry is it acceptable to be completely intoxicated in the workplace? Makes you proud of our great parliamentary democracy doesn’t it…

Godless Socialists

Tonight the Labour leadership hopefuls participate in a Christian Socialist Movement hustings in London. Apart from Andy Burnham, are any of them actually practicing Christians? Aren’t they mostly atheists?

Calamity Kenny Spinning for Ed Miliband

In a quick update to the Labour Political Advisers list, Guido was most amused to hear that omnishambolic press officer Kenny Young has managed to keep his job. If you reward the slavish loyalty of greased-up party hacks who come up through the youth ranks with cosy press office jobs, you may find they don’t exactly have the talents required for such a high-pressure environment. Kenny is about as loyal as they come, a co-conspirator reports that he openly told people he styled his hair on Gordon Brown’s while chairman of Labour Students. So loyal he was assigned to be Gordon’s political press officer for the election campaign. Which went well.

First there was the infamous door opening for his hero Gordon, which the Tories quickly turned into an attack poster:

If that wasn’t bad enough in late April young Kenny was accompanying the Prime Minister on a trip to Rochdale. What could possible go wrong? Well any experienced press officer would have checked that their boss’s microphone was switched off after an event. Kenny was inside Mrs Duffy’s house as part of that hugely successful contingent of Brown staffers begging her to come outside after the apology.

Instead of firing this inept and useless spinner he’s got a new job. He’s now Ed Milband’s Head of Press… what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE : Punters give Ed a 25% chance of becoming Labour leader versus a 62% chance for his brother David. No odds available on Kenny’s chances one day.

Cancelled: Diane v Brillo Part II

The Daily Politics is currently interviewing all the Labour leadership contenders. Well almost all, the usually media friendly Diane Abbott was scheduled for another pasting by Brillo this Thursday.

She is, for some reason, now no longer available…

Labour Leadership’s Lingering Deficit Denial

Guido isn’t normally one for line-by-line analysis, but when glancing over Ed Miliband’s speech from earlier something very obvious stuck out. Take a look at what Ed was talking about the most:


What the speech boils down to is “People Want Labour and the State”. The election reality clearly hasn’t set in.

Compare the weight of words like “state” and “want” to “cut” and “deficit”. They are in utter denial.  The Labour leadership candidates aren’t going to get any cut through with their campaigns unless they stop talking about themselves and denying the hell-hole of a situation the country is in. They slam the coalition for their plans and far from offering any alternatives, simply whine.

Hypocrisy of Diane Abbott Rolls On

Diane Abbott’s campaign has had a horrific week. She isn’t picking up much support and frankly every time she opens her mouth she shoots herself in the foot. It’s going to take her TV career, let alone backbench reputation a […]

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Quote of the Day

Dianne Abbott told the Observer

“The most stupid thing that fellow candidates have said is that immigration cost us the election. The wisest thing they have said is ‘I agree with Diane.’”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Diane to Brillo “I Have Nothing More To Say”

Guido was out on the terrace of the Commons last night quaffing the last of the subsidised wine so missed This Week.  Diane Abbott may well come to regret the reputational damage resulting from her running for leader. It […]

+ READ MORE +

Balls Website Goes Live

Ed Balls has finally got his website up and running. It’s a bit of a mess to be honest and Guido had to laugh at the Coronation Street “man of the people” look and feel:

How many people […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Sky News ask a “Labour representative” where the local St George’s Day events are. He replies:

“You’re better off asking the UKIP candidate” 

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