Cable in Code of Conduct Row

Vince Cable is in trouble after two West London business leaders referred him to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary over an apparent breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. The chief executives of West London Business and the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce have written to the PM and Jeremy Heywood after Cable was listed as a speaker at an anti-Heathrow expansion rally in his capacity as Business Secretary:

We are very concerned that the Secretary of State appears to be attending the rally in an official capacity, on behalf of the Government, rather than as constituency Member. This appears to be in direct contravention of Section 1.2 (h) of the Ministerial Code, which states:

“Ministers in the House of Commons must keep separate their roles as Minister and constituency Member”

This activity may also breach other parts of the code, including section 6.5 which urges Ministers to “make clear that they are acting as their constituents’ representative and not as a Minister”.

It is a little naughty of Cable to speak out on Heathrow expansion not as a local MP, but supposedly representing the government. Not like he has form either: this is the same Vince Cable who“declared war” on Murdoch when in charge of media policy. That time he humiliatingly had the brief stripped from him… 

Full Obornian disclosure: You may have noticed some small Heathrow and Gatwick adverts on the site recently. Readers can rest assured they are irrelevant to this story. Guido just doesn’t like Vince Cable.

UPDATE: Sources close to Vince Cable get in touch to say the mistake was the fault of the organisers of the event. As soon as it came to his attention it was corrected.

Land Grab Lobbying LibDem’s Massive Conflict of Interest

LibDem peer Lord Taylor is lobbying for housing firms to have the power to seize farmland to build “garden villages” of up to 5,000 homes. He has just published a pamphlet calling for “new local development corporations” to be given the power to confiscate land, compensating them at just 50% more than the agricultural land value.

What Lord Taylor forgets to mention is that he is director of Mayfield Market Towns Ltd, which is seeking to build up to 10,000 homes bang in the middle of rural Sussex. As local MP Nick Herbert told Guido in the Sun yesterday“It stinks more than the manure he wants to concrete over for profit…”

GRINNING HERE: LibDems Train Members in How to “Keep Smiling”

Desperate times call for desperate measures for weary LibDems. Things are so bad that the party has organised a special “training session” for candidates and MPs on how to “keep smiling” as they go back to their constituencies and prepare for electoral oblivion. The session at their Spring Forum will offer “practical tips” on grinning and bearing it. Guido would suggest grumpy Vince Cable should sign up, but sadly it’s a gender biased session and only open to the sorrowful LibDem ladies…

Tories Open Up 4 Point Lead With ICM

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 13.19.39

ICM were the most accurate pollsters in 2010.

This could shift the narrative this week…

 

Wynning Hear

This is the leaflet being delivered by the LibDems to key target seats this morning. Nationwide…

Mellow Yellow Numbers

Last year Guido reported on the concern of close Clegg family friends, who were worried the Deputy Prime Minister was ‘in a really bad place’. Despite Cleggy claiming he is far chirpier than his demeanor let on, today’s Survation poll of his Sheffield seat makes for grim reading:

LAB 33% (+17), LD 23% (-30), CON 22% (-2)

Even though this union funded poll is not weighted to take into account previous voting intentions, that ten point Labour lead will be eye-watering for Lib Dem strategists.

Nationally the Tories lead by a point:

And the LibDems a point behind the Greens…

They Snooze, You Lose

Senior LibDem Don Foster, MP for Bath for the past 23 years, clearly thinks he can do the job in his sleep. The chain-smoking chief whip has been struggling to stay awake even during Cabinet meetings. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Tory ministers have been unable to hide their giggles as the 67-year-old dozes off, out of sight from his leader Nick Clegg but in full view of the Prime Minister. Gambling coalition cabinet colleagues have opened a book, taking bets on how long into the Tuesday morning meeting the old dear’s eyelids will start to droop. Sounds like a dream job.

Verdict: Annette Brooke Has Westminster’s Best Pussy

LibDem MP Annette Brooke’s cat named Billy has won the esteemed Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Cat of the Year prize, clawing 23% of the vote:

“I’m really thrilled that Billy has won, as I’m sure he will be, and he will be getting lots of extra treats! It has been a pleasure to be involved in this opportunity to promote rescue centres such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, who do such good work. We acquired Billy from a rescue centre in Dorset last July, and were so impressed with them. My family stay in touch, letting them know how Billy is getting on, and I would really encourage anyone looking for a new pet to rehome from a rescue.”

Larry was unavailable for comment.

LibDems’ Coalicious Election Poster

It is 100 days until the election and the LibDems are marking the occasion by releasing this new poster, which they helpfully explain is “deliberately playing on a previous Conservative poster”. See what they did there…

All well and […]

Broke LibDems Hire SpAds for Last Days of Government

libdem-spads

The gloves are coming off between the Tories and the LibDems in the dying days of their coalition. Downgraded Business Secretary Vince Cable has been allowed to appoint a new taxpayer funded adviser – his third – despite there being […]

Israeli Ambassador Demands Clegg Action Against David Ward

Read the latest Ward comments causing controversy here

UPDATE:

UPDATE II: A LibDem spokesperson says:

“David Ward does not speak for the Liberal Democrats on this

[…]

Keep the State Out of the Playroom

Seems the government is confident it has successfully cured the nation of all its ills if today’s childcare debate is anything to go by. Nannying Equalities minister Jo Swinson has said parents should make their young sons play with girls’ […]



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Quote of the Day

Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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