Chuka Abandons Ed’s “Zero-Zero Thing” After 12 Hours

Well, that didn’t take long. Grilled by Laura K on last night’s Newsnight, Chuka Umunna distanced himself from Ed Miliband’s new “zero-zero” slogan unveiled just 12 hours earlier, admitting he “couldn’t give you an exact number” of how many people paid no tax. Chuka knows the line is nonsense: nobody rich and earning in this country can lawfully pay zero tax… 

An exasperated Chuka eventually gave up and tried to change the subject, accusing Laura of “focussing on this zero-zero thing” and claiming Ed’s speech was actually about something else, despite it being the top line. A ringing endorsement of his leader’s latest big idea…

POLL: Who’s Right, Peter Oborne or Craig Oliver?

Peter Oborne went on Newsnight on Wednesday to express a rarely vocalised view in Westminster, namely that Craig Oliver is a “particularly grubby individual”:

No.10’s Super Spinner has responded in a letter published by Ephraim Hardcastle this morning, accusing Oborne of being drunk:

Dear Peter

I just wanted to check you are OK. Some BBC people have been on to me worried you were a bit tired and emotional last night.

Let me know if I can help.

Best wishes,

Craig Oliver.

To which Peter replies:

“I am absolutely astonished that an official working for the Prime Minister would use such terminology. It is offensive and inaccurate. I hope that when he has taken time to consider it he’ll withdraw these remarks which are unworthy of a Downing Street Director of Communications.”

Who was right?

Let the people decide…

Who Says Newsnight is Dumbing Down?

Some cruel people have suggested that Newsnight has dumbed down in recent months. Guido thought this new promo deserved a wider audience. More Newsround than Newsnight…

iBoulton

Sky are going all interactive for the new Adam Boulton evening show Sky News Tonight, launching on the first of the month:

“In a first for a major nightly news programme, Sky News Tonight will have comprehensive parallel output on social media, where users will be able to view – and engage with – a host of extra content that will follow, complement and enhance the live TV output, in real time.Viewers will be able to interact with the programme via Sky News’ social media platforms which will give them the power to engage in the discussion, contribute to the debate and even influence the agenda of the show. “

Given the number of people who sit watching TV whilst on Twitter now, it seems like a logical step. The show will also feature high profile interviews conducted from Westminster, at the far more reasonable time of seven through until nine – another reason not to stay up for Newsnight.

Another Innocent Politician Accused on Newsnight

In their defence, this one was hardly their fault. On last night’s programme, Neil Hamilton accused a former Labour MP of being into kinky sex. Neil Hamilton being Neil Hamilton, he got the wrong one, and Newsnight have now apologised:

“In a live Newsnight interview about party whips’ knowledge of MPs’ personal secrets tonight, former Tory whip Neil Hamilton referred to a former Labour MP, now dead, who he said had been known to visit “bondage and sado masochism clubs and behaved in the most outrageous way.” 

Mr Hamilton incorrectly named the MP as Allan Rogers, who is former MP for the Rhondda. Mr Hamilton says he meant to refer to another former MP, now dead. Mr Hamilton said: “I apologise unreservedly to Allan Rogers. It was an inadvertent slip of the tongue.” Newsnight also apologises to Mr Rogers.”

Whoops!

Paxman: ‘I am a Tory… Newsnight is Made by 13-Year-Olds’

Freed from the shackles of the BBC behemoth, Jeremy Paxman seems to be enjoying getting off the fence and telling us what he really thinks.  It turns out he claims to be a closet Eurosceptic who believes Europe has been “nothing but trouble for us”, and has been secretly sound all along:“I am in favour of governments getting out of people’s lives. Particularly foreign government. The closer you can take decision-making to the people affected by those decisions, the better.” Speaking at Chalke Valley History Festival, Paxo revealed political leanings for the first time: “I have to be frank, I suppose I am a one-nation Tory, yes.” He also gave the audience his explanation for Newsnight’s shift to the left:

“Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds. It’s perfectly normal when you’re young that you want to change the world. The older you get, the more you realise what a fools’ errand much of that is and that the thing to do is to manage the best you can to the advantage of as many people as possible.”

That explains Ian Katz’s tousled hair and youthful looks…

UPDATE:  Ian Katz responds:

Zoe recalls the 14 year-old Newsnight editor none too fondly…

snog

Let it go Zoe, it was 30 years ago…

Year of Code’s Lottie Dexter is Matt Hancock’s New SpAd

Lots of people were very mean about the Year of Code when its director Lottie Dexter admitted that she was unable to code on Newsnight, but was learning. Well it turns out that the campaign’s mantra – that learning to code is a ticket to higher places – really is true. Just 4 months ago Lottie told Paxman:

“Over this year I’m going to see exactly what I can achieve, so who knows I might be the next Zuckerberg in 12 months time.”

Not quite, but Guido hears she is off to fill the newly appointed position of Matthew Hancock’s special adviser…

Bookies Suspend Newsnight Betting on Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have suspended betting on Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy replacing Paxman at Newsnight. Paddy Power tell MediaGuido “we suspended the bet as people were lumping on Krishnan”, who at one stage was a 20/1 long shot. Over the weekend several media sources placed him in the chair. Last night MediaGuido asked a coy Krishnan if the bookies were correct to stop taking bets, after taking some time to come up with his line he replied:

“I’ve not commented on any speculation for obvious reasons and never do. Let’s have a drink sometime”

Guido was tempted to just ask him the same question 14 times to get Krishnan in the inquisitorial mood for NewsnightPaxman leaves this month so Guido will put the champagne on ice for that drink with Krishnan…

Another Pro-Labour Newsnight Hire

David Lammy’s ex June Sarpong is Ian Katz’s latest hire at Newsnight, Mandrake reveals. What they didn’t mention is that Sarpong’s Labour connections do not end there. The photo above shows her fronting a Labour election rally in […]

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Paxman v Silvio

Since Paxman announced he’s on the way out, he’s seems to have got that old spark back.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Paxo Asks Silvio: Did You Call Merkel an Unf**kable Lard-Ar*e?

On tonight’s Newsnight, Paxo interviews Silvio Berlusconi:

We’ll miss him when he’s gone…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Katz Attempting to Force Out Paxman

When Newsnight’s Ian Katz is not singing along with his eyes closed at private gigs with Dave, Samantha and Tom Ford, Guido hears he is sharpening his knife. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, BBC sources suggest that Katz is […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liz Kendall is asked by Tom Newton Dunn if she would ever ban the Sun from one of her press conferences:

“If you stripped naked and ran in front of me, Tom, I might have second thoughts about it, but apart from that, no.”

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