Clegg is promising to keep promises.
He made a video about keeping promises once before:
While the sky-high union funding of the Labour Party will hardly come as a surprise, Guido was intrigued to note a sizeable donation to the LibDems in today’s latest figures. The largest yellow donation was generously given by a property development company by the name of Brompton Capital Limited. Brompton Capital – owned by millionaire businessman Rumi Verjee, an entrepreneur who made his fortune selling pizza - gave the LibDems £250,000 in the second quarter of 2012. Guido is sure that it is nothing than coincidence that last year Verjee dined with Nick Clegg at the LibDem leader’s posh home in Kent. Hopefully Verjee got more than a Domino’s for his money…
The Coalition are forever telling us how they want to get the country moving, but today the LibDems have firmly slammed on the brakes not once, but twice. This morning they conspired to lose the votes of just about anyone who owns a car by suggesting that the 30mph speed limit on residential roads be slashed to 20mph. The baffling suggestion was dismissed by the AA as being “totally impractical and would impact on driving times and add to costs and delays“.
If that wasn’t enough, Team Clegg then picked a fight with Justine Greening by proposing a motion to oppose Boris’ Thames Estuary airport, or any new runways at any of the London airports. The LibDems have ground the government to a standstill, now they’re doing the same to the country too…
LibDem MPs have been out in force this afternoon in an attempt to spin themselves as always having kept their side of the Coalition agreement. First Nick Clegg insisted: “my party has held to that contract, even when it meant voting for things that we found difficult. I am proud that we have met our obligations“. Then Simon Hughes chipped in: “We have delivered everything“. Oh really?
Not for the first time, yellow rhetoric is some way off the truth. On Lords reform 91 out of 305 Conservative MPs voted against the bill, or 29.8%. Yet on tuition fees 21 of the 57 LibDem MPs, some 36.8%, rebelled. On trickier decisions, a greater proportion of Tories have kept their promises than LibDems. Who’d have thought it…
Tory rebel Conor Burns is ready to resign as Owen Paterson’s PPS after informing his chief whip that he will vote against the government on Lords reform. Burns has left the final decision up to Dave, it appears he could be out of a job tomorrow evening: “It would seem that my position is incompatible with membership of the Government. I deeply regret the government have put us in a position where a long-held and mainstream view means I cannot continue to serve as a PPS“. Guido is sure it won’t be the least we hear from Conor.
Sky’s Sophie Ridge confirms:
Guido has just asked Conor if he had; proffered his resignation if asked or simply thrown himself at the mercy of the Prime Minister? To which he replied: “Sort of both!” Burns is now leading the heckling of Nick Clegg and co. in the Commons. They said it would be bloody…
UPDATE: Here is Burns’ letter in full:
Further to our conversation in your office I wanted to formally write to put my position as PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at yours and the Prime Minister’s disposal. I have long held views on reform of the House of Lords and cannot support the Bill tomorrow or the programme motion. It would appear that my position is incompatible with membership of the Government. I am a keen supporter of the Government and deeply regret that the Government have put us in the position where a long held and mainstream view within the Conservative Party means that I cannot continue to serve as Owen’s PPS. If by voting against the Bill tomorrow means I have to resign I will of course continue to support the Government and the Prime Minister from the backbenches.
They put Chloe Smith on Newsnight and Nick Clegg on Newsround. Sounds about right…
The LibDems are continuing to claim that they are untainted by BSkyB bid revelations this week. While it is true that Cable’s SpAd Giles Wilkes set the example of how Adam Smith should have been dealing with News Corp spinmeister Fred Michel, the email chains are still damning for the party. When Wilkes rejected a meeting it seems that Michel went to other LibDem spinners and found success with Jonny Oates, the former Bell Pottinger director turned Clegg SpAd, who as Guido reported yesterday was happy to help and brief. But he didn’t stop there…
Paul Marshall, the founder hedge fund Marshall Wace, is a LibDem donor. Crucially he’s also an adviser to Nick Clegg.
Here not only does Marshall acknowledge a meeting with James Murdoch to discuss the bid, he also gives further advice, in writing, for Fred Michel to pass on to his boss:
He recommends BSkyB beef up their PR team and goes so far as to recommend his friend and Brunswick chief Alan Parker. All of this is so that BSkyB can get the “easy win” that Marshall clearly supports adding: ”I wish you luck. You have built a great business and it must be very frustrating to be penalised for your success.” It doesn’t sound like all the LibDems were at war with Murdoch…
Nick Clegg’s reform packages are not going very well. Obviously AV is still a sore subject in yellow circles and the prospect of two year battle over House of Lords reform is even being discouraged by Guardian columnists. The Recall bill seems to be an irrelevance too. Zac Goldsmith is slamming it this morning:
Here’s the process; once the narrow Committee has qualified an MP for Recall, the petition begins, and requires only 10% of voters to sign it. Given that the MP will effectively have been deemed guilty by Parliament, that threshold will pose little challenge. The MP then faces an immediate by-election where they must fight in the context of national issues and where they are dependent on their Party’s fortunes. Unlike in true Recall, where MPs face a simple referendum on their job, under the Government’s plans, they have no chance to persuade voters that the Recall is unwarranted. This gives real power to the authorities to throw inconvenient MPs to the wolves for spurious reasons.
It says something when even Tory MPs are accusing you of not being radical enough. Guido can’t think why Nick Clegg, in his student-filled constituency, would possibly want to water anything down…
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LibDem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael:
“Chris Huhne was the man who had put the ‘t’ into ‘Cancun’.”