Guido never understands why official party HQ Twitter accounts of all colours bother to waste time embarrassing themselves in cringeworthy spats. Labour’s press team does however have a point in highlighting LibDem president Tim Farron’s hypocrisy here. Even if the trash talk is at primary school playground levels:
Tories 'briefing out' lines from cabinet is not only bad politics, it's bad government. Stop it.—
Tim Farron (@timfarron) March 04, 2014
Tim best not be too rude or he might harm his hopes of being Miliband’s deputy PM…
Talking of Downing Street aides… LibDem council candidate Matthew Hanney’s record is there for all to see on this leaflet he has been handing around in Lambeth. Lives locally, check. A LibDem for years, check. Customary slap for Lambeth Labour, check. Just the one thing is missing. For some reason Hanney makes no mention of the fact that he has been a Special Adviser to Nick Clegg since he became Deputy PM, and a close aide for years before. Does Hanney not want voters to know about his vital role at the heart of government?
After Guido revealed last week that Danny Alexander’s SpAd Julia ‘rocking chair’ Goldsworthy was seeking to become an MP again while still being paid by the taxpayer, she has parted ways with her boss over the weekend:
“After 4 years as a Special Adviser to Danny Alexander at HM Treasury I am moving on with immediate effect so that I can stand as a Parliamentary Candidate at the next General Election in 2015.”
Seems Julia is bullish about her chances, despite the cloud of controversy under which she was booted out in 2010.
LibDems on Weymouth and Portland Borough council have formed a new grouping so they can circumvent the party leadership and keep child rape charge councillor Ryan Hope “in the tent”. They will be known as the Liberal Democrat and Alliance Group.
As Guido reported last month Hope was finally suspended by the party, four months after appearing in court charged with one count of raping a child, one count of rape, one count of sexual assault of a child and two counts of sexual assault. He denies the charges and faces trial in April.
Despite this the LibDems have now bent the rules so Hope can stay on and they don’t lose a seat on an important council committee.
What’s Clegg going to do about it?
UPDATE: A LibDem spokesman says:
“The party has been made aware of the decision by the council group in Weymouth. The regional party is now establishing the facts and will consider appropriate action.”
Former LibDem MP Julia ‘rocking chair’ Goldsworthy has been shortlisted in her old west country seat, which is selecting a candidate at the moment. The Treasury Special Adviser’s Twitter feed has suddenly remembered all sorts of local issues recently and she’s promising ‘a record of action, a promise of more’. That record included a ‘£999 television, £1,500 of furniture in House of Fraser, a £1,111 sofa bed and a £1,200 rocking chair’. According to Public Whip Julia Goldsworthy ‘voted moderately for a transparent Parliament.’
When she lost in 2010 to George Eustice, Julia actually got a taxpayer funded payrise as a £74,000pa SpAd – a job she has not resigned from despite now seeking selection. It seems she’s trying to string out her dependency on the public teat for as long as she possibly can.
Clegg has decided to martyr himself for the European cause, challenging Farage to a debate on the EU on LBC this morning. Ironic that the LibDems are actually showing some principle for once and are only going to be punished for it…
It’s a win win for Farage, but will also help Nick’s differentiation strategy. If the event is high-profile enough, it could also help Downing Street’s goal of a one on one debate with Miliband at some point…
UPDATE: UKIP have responded. Farage is not agreeing to a debate yet…
Guido revealed what went on inside a tense recent meeting of LibDem MPs in yesterday’s Sun column. Clegg defended himself against allegations it had been “easy for him” in government, quipping “If I’d been a Tory it would have been easy.”
One crowd-pleasing line stood out: Clegg calling Cameron “spineless” and saying that while he used his Liberal values as guidance, the PM merely asks “how’s this going to play?”
Something that Tory backbenchers might find themselves in rare agreement with Clegg over.
Expect more public airing of dirty laundry as the Coalition’s divorce day draws nearer.
The Sunday Mirror asked yesterday what has happened to missing floods minister Dan Rogerson, reporting that Downing Street had deliberately kept him out of sight because they feel he is not up to the job. The LibDem spin machine has roared into action with all the devestating force it can muster. This leaked email shows them, er, begging their MPs to tweet in support of their man:
Subject: Tweeting in support of Dan Rogerson
This story is not true, Dan has done lots to help the flood effort.
In order to rebut the story, if you could tweet/blog in support of Dan that would be really useful.
Our lines are:
“As Floods Minister Dan Rogerson has been playing a key active role in the government’s response to the flooding.
He has attended every COBR meeting since the flooding began.
He has been liaising with agencies and water companies to make sure contingency plans are in place; as part of this, he has spoken to GOLD Commanders and CEOs of affected companies on a daily basis.
He has also visited flooded areas such as Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset to make sure everything possible is being done to assist affected communities on the ground.
He is chairing the Somerset Levels and Moors Action Plan group, which is working to a tight timescale to develop a long-term solution in the area.”
The response has hardly been enthusiastic. That went well then…
The Coalition agreement could not have been clearer:
“We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.”
This morning, recall is dead. The Indy is blaming Cameron and Osborne, reporting that Clegg was all for it but it was vetoed by the Tories. In truth, in spite of the rhetoric from all three party leaders, there has been no appetite to let voters have the chance to boot out corrupt MPs. Last year Clegg himself flip flopped when put on the spot by Zac Goldsmith, refusing to give any sort of time frame or specifics on when he would be pushing for recall:
Zac ain’t impressed:
Even by the shitty standards of dishonest UK politics, the LibDems really are revolting. I cannot understand why anyone supports them.—
Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) February 13, 2014
Given their record for dealing with their own disgraced MPs, the LibDems pretending they are “furious” today is rather lame…
Watch Andy Coulson Hit Himself on the Head | Scrapbook
Governments Should Give People a Say | LabourList
Bob Crow’s Successor Needs to Find a Better Way | Arpana Gandhi
Owen Jones’ First Class Hypocrisy | Mail
Licence Fee Should Not Be a Criminal Matter | Mail
Let’s Have a Tory-UKIP Pact | Norman Tebbit
Vote Labour and Don’t Have a Say | Sun
Bob Crow Leaves Behind Broken Union Movement | Mary Riddell
Bob Crow: An Unlikely Capitalist | Telegraph
No Referendum Under Labour | FT
PICTURE: Nick Robinson’s Tribute to Bob Crow | MediaGuido
LibDem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael:
“Chris Huhne was the man who had put the ‘t’ into ‘Cancun’.”