Tories Deny Watson’s Theory re Bryant and the Telegraph

A warning for anyone thinking of going for lunch with Chris Bryant:

“[Telegraph political correspondent] Matthew Holehouse told me at lunch at Quirinale that he had been accidentally included in a series of email exchanges between senior figures at Conservative Central Office who were speculating about which Labour sitting MPs were paedophiles and how they should deploy this ‘information’. Matthew seemed to think that this showed that CCHQ was run by a bunch of children and he said it was worse than Damian McBride. He reckoned the paper would be running the story later that week, unless the powers that be intervened. I asked him which senior figures were involved. He said ‘very senior’, but refused to elaborate. He also refused to tell me which Labour MPs were speculated about. He didn’t believe that any of the emails’ allegations were anything other than nasty vindictiveness and an attempt to smear Labour MPs.”

A Tory spokesman is pretty clear:

“This is completely false and without foundation.”

Let’s see the emails…

Labour NEC Accused of Safe Seats Stitch Up

Multiple Labour sources have accused the party’s NEC of stitching up safe seats for committee members, with Keith Vaz in the frame for fixing selections for his friends. When there is a late retirement in the run up to an election, Labour has a standard procedure where an NEC sub-committee chooses the candidates to go forward for selection. This special selections panel is usually put into place close to the election for last minute selections only, however Guido is told that this time it was implemented in January. The NEC deciding that any constituency where the MP stood down after 10 December last year not have local shortlisting powers and the NEC rather than their local party would handle the selections.  One Labour source describes this as “earlier than ever”, another as “way too early”, noting there is “still plenty of time to run proper selections”Why the change from convention?

Since the special NEC panel was set up, NEC members are mysteriously being selected for safe seats all over the place. NEC member Conor McGinn was put on the shortlist for the uber-safe seat of St. Helen’s North, winning the selection two weeks ago. McGinn represents the same division on the NEC as Vaz.

As Guido reported yesterday, NEC member and Unite agitator Rachael Maskell has just been selected in York Central in acrimonious circumstances.

Meanwhile the selection in Edmonton, where Andy Love has retired, takes place this weekend. At the moment the favourite is Kate Osamor, surprise surprise, yet another NEC member. Three NEC members put forward for safe seats just weeks after the NEC special selections panel was set up – more than a little fishy…

Unite Labour Candidate Dragged Into ‘Smear’ Scandal

Decent Labour members are kicking off in York after Unite’s NHS agitator Rachael Maskell won a bitter selection battle to inherit Hugh Bayley’s seat. Local party members say Maskell was parachuted in ahead of several local candidates, accusing her of being a Unite puppet who lived in London until only a few weeks ago. Concerns are also being raised about her alleged involvement in a “smear campaign” against her opponent in another selection, in the Erith seat in 2009. At the time the respected New Labour godfather Philip Gould claimed his 22 year-old daughter was the victim of an “outrageous and unacceptable” campaign to undermine her. Maskell was fighting for the seat with the helpful backing of Brownite bootboy Charlie Whelan. The hustings were then mysteriously called off after a ballot box was tampered with. With the Greens heavily targeting York Central, Maskell will need all the help she can get defending that 6,000 majority…

Show Us Your Receipt, Ed!

Talking of cash in hand, Miliband had the roofers in to his North London home last year.

He did get a receipt, didn’t he?

Miliband Speech: Red Alert!

The big red warning lights were flashing as Miliband laid out Labour’s plan for the economy this lunchtime…

Two-Faced Chuka Dodges Tax Question 5 Times

Asked five times by Jim Naughtie if Labour would pay back a donation if it emerged the money came from someone who had avoided tax, two-faced Chuka wouldn’t give a straight answer:

JN: Can we take it as an absolute given that if you discover that anyone who’s given money to the Labour Party has been involved in aggressive tax avoidance, you give the money back?

CU: I think the Labour Party would think twice about accepting money from people who fit the description that you give…

JN: No, simple question: If you’ve taken it, from somebody who is discovered to have been involved in aggressive tax avoidance, will you give the money back?

CU: Well I’m not aware that we have taken money from anybody who’s engaged….

JN: No, but if it emerged, nor am I, but if it emerged that, are you going to be as good as your word? If it emerged, would you give that money back?

CU: Well as I said, I think the Labour Party found out that somebody was engaged in aggressive tax avoidance, we’d think twice before taking the money…

JN: But if you had taken the money you’d give it back?

CU: Well I’m not, I mean, you’re asking me a hypothetical question, because I’m not aware that we have taken it…

JN: Well most questions in the run up to an election are hypothetical. You’re talking about hypothetical questions about what you would do with business if you became a government. You aren’t a government. Therefore that’s hypothetical, this is hypothetical. Answer the question. If the money came from a tax dodger, would you give it back?

CU: Well I’m not aware that it has, that we have received any monies from people engaging in aggressive tax avoidance.

Well they wouldn’t want to give back those millions of pounds of cash from tax-avoiding Unite, would they? On Thursday the Electoral Commission releases the next donor data dump. Almost as if Chuka knows Labour’s backers aren’t as pious as the party’s leadership…

Axelrod: Ed Is No Obama

It is 95 days since David Axelrod has bothered to mention Miliband on Twitter, the PLP are sharpening their knives and Labour’s six figure strategist has let slip that he is done with campaigning. Today Axelrod earns his dollar by telling the Guardian that his star British client “falls short of Obama”:

DA: “I had been spoiled. The thought of starting over with someone new – and almost certainly somebody who would fall short of Obama – was unappealing.”

Guardian: Would he put the Labour leader into that same category?

DA: “I think Obama’s a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. I can’t think of another person who I would put in his category in my experience of consulting. So I wouldn’t put that burden on Ed or anyone. I think Ed is a smart, earnest guy.”

The Axe was then asked for his six word summary of Labour’s election message. He replied:

“The promise of fixing Britain and creating jobs is that it says nothing about raising wages or economic security. That’s what’s fundamentally missing. If you are willing to proliferate zero-hour contracts and encourage policies that undercut wages you may claim that you’re creating jobs but you are also creating jobs that don’t support families. The question is do you have economic policies that are going to promote living wages, put people who are working hard in a position to support their families? Are you making education and training accessible to young people or are you going to make it so costly they are burdened with debt when they leave? The Tories just don’t look at the British economy through the lens of everyday people. They don’t have a kitchen table philosophy of economics and that’s why the recovery hasn’t reached kitchen tables around Britain.”

That’s 145 words. In the same interview Axelrod admits “my colleagues” deal with Labour rather than him. No kidding…

Too Pretty For Politics?

We wouldn’t have Mrs D any other way…

Tories Demand Miliband Sacks Baldwin

The Tories have demanded that Ed Miliband sacks Tom “weaponise the NHS” Baldwin after it unsurprisingly emerged that it was the Labour leader’s liability spin doctor who compared Lord Fink to a “Milly Dowler moment”. It comes just […]

Miliband Begs Labour Loons to Behave on Camera

Excruciatingly, before today’s Q&A, Ed Miliband was forced to plead with his audience:

“I want you, ladies and gentlemen, to be very nice to the media. Sometimes they ask some not very nice questions but we have to be absolutely

[…]

Mrs Danczuk: Harman “Categorically” Did Say Those Words

Harriet Harman is embroiled in another row this afternoon after councillor Karen Danczuk accused her of telling porkies. Yesterday Mrs D tweeted:

[…]

Labour Bans Pork in Islington Schools

It’s all quinoa and kale on the menu from now on for kids in Islington. The Standard reports:

“Pork has been banned from the menu at primary schools in a north London borough because it costs too much to monitor

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Adam Spiegel, producer of Nazi themed “The Producers” musical says…

“Margate seemed a perfect place to start the promotion. I’m disappointed but not entirely surprised to see that UKIP are trying to hitch a publicity ride on the back of the show.”

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