SpAd Movements: Ex-IDS Aide Joins Vote Leave

Iain Duncan Smith’s Special Adviser Lizzie Loudon will continue to be a thorn in the Prime Minister’s side, she left government when IDS resigned and is now off to do press for Vote Leave. Well-respected by former colleagues, Lizzie has a proven track record at wrong-footing Downing Street. Which can only be good news for the Leave campaign.

Downing Street: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Taxpayer-funded civil servants have been authorised by David Cameron to use public resources to campaign for Remain. Will advisers and officials working for ministers who back Leave have the same freedom? They have tonight been issued a strict ban on their activities by the Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood.

Civil servants working in the departments of Grayling, Whitto, IDS etc have been barred from giving their ministers briefings supporting their position on the EU. They are banned from providing speech material, and will be denied access to government papers relating to the referendum. Special advisers working for Leave ministers are banned from supporting their boss’ position in office hours. They are also banned from using annual leave on campaign activity. Pro-Remain ministers are meanwhile allowed to use public resources to campaign.

Amusingly, Heywood writes that these restrictions mean:

“The principles of impartiality and the proper use of public resources continue to apply to all government communications activity, including activity related to the EU referendum.”

This is laughable – Downing Street civil servants like Chris Hopkins are authorised to use taxpayer-funded resources to campaign for Remain, yet civil servants and SpAds for Eurosceptic ministers who want to do the same thing for the Leave campaign are banned from doing so. This is the exact opposite of “the principles of impartiality and the proper use of public resources”. It’s “do as we say, not as we do…”

Clegg’s Astronomical SpAd Bill Hypocrisy

You’d have thought Nick Clegg might have had enough of everyone thinking he is a massive hypocrite, apparently not. Clegg has just been in front of a Lords committee to slag off high pay for Special Advisers. He’s outraged, apparently:

“We’ve now got the almost loopy situation where the Chancellor is whacking up the pay of his Special Advisers an astronomical amount. Special Advisers in government are now being paid far, far, much more money than they were in the past… Double standards doesn’t even scratch the surface.”

Is he serious?

Clegg is so outraged about SpAd pay that he bunged his aide Ryan Coetzee £110,000-a-year out of the public purse.

He also ordered the taxpayer to pay his SpAd Jonny Oates £98,500-a-year.

Three more Clegg SpAds were on £80,000.

This was the 2013 FoI request revealing Clegg had a total of 15 SpAds costing the taxpayer an “astronomical” £1 million a year.

“Double standards doesn’t even scratch the surface…”

Corbyn Aide: I Think We Should Shoot Woodcock

Gavin Sibthorpe, above left, works in Jeremy Corbyn’s office as the Labour leader’s events officer. He is a relatively senior figure in the Labour leadership, and was named alongside Simon Fletcher and Andrew Fisher in the New Statesman’s Who’s Who of Corbyn’s team. Judging by his Instagram account, Sibthorpe will fit right in.

Under a screenshot of an email sent by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation last week, titled “Woodcock, to shoot or not to shoot?”, Sibthorpe (sibby_gav) couldn’t resist writing: “I think we should shoot”. Has this Corbyn aide taken up rural sports? Or could he possibly be talking about troublesome Labour moderate John Woodcock?

Geddit?

Guido is told this email has been widely circulated among Labour lefties making similar gags about their own MP. Best do it in private, comrades…

UPDATE: Woodcock responds:

Corbyn Seeks “Joined Up Approach” in Leader’s Office

Last week Jeremy Corbyn’s Director of Policy Neale Coleman resigned amid furious rows with Seumas Milne and Andrew Fisher, who allegedly shouted at him: “You are finished in here”. All is not well in the leader’s office, and there are rumours that Head of Strategy Kat Fletcher is also particularly unhappy. So it makes sense that Corbyn is advertising for a new Head of Office and Integration, who will work under Chief of Staff Simon Fletcher and his deputy Anneliese Midgley. The advert, which went up this morning, seeks someone who can

“ensure that the teams in the office work effectively, efficiently and to have a joined up approach both of day to day running and the overall approach”

In other words, get everyone to stop sniping at each other.

The new role is also a liaison between the leader’s office and Labour HQ, which Guido is told are currently separated like never before. HQ staff complain Corbyn himself is rarely ever there, and that there is general distance and distrust between them the leader’s team. Corbyn’s new staffer will

“ensure that teams in the Leaders office and Head Office are working efficiently and effectively on the Leaders priorities and strategies… manage and coordinate arrangements as necessary between the Leader’s Office, Deputy Leader’s office and party managers in order to foster and maintain good communication between all teams… To ensure that the political priorities of the Leader are met by the teams in the Leader’s Office and Party Head office.”

The repeated allusion to making sure head office is working towards the “political priorities of the leader” is no coincidence. Jezza is offering £41,000 for one of the toughest jobs in Westminster…

Muslim Women Gagged at PM’s ‘Freedom for Muslim Women’ Speech

David Cameron is speaking from a secret venue today announcing more money to boost female migrants’ language skills, in order to help them escape the “control” of men in some communities. So it looks pretty bad that Downing Street aides are preventing the Muslim women there from speaking to journalists. Sky’s Gerard Tubb is at the scene:

What was that about domineering men preventing Muslim women from speaking?

UPDATE: A No. 10 source quickly gets in touch to insist that this was simply “a timetabling issue, simple as that” and that the women were free to speak to journalists afterwards.

Hunt Aide Interrupts Sky News Interview

A Department of Health aide has ‘done a Paddy O’Flynn‘ and interrupted an interview between Sky’s Darren McCaffrey and senior clinical adviser Norman Williams. Unfortunately the cameras kept rolling…

Exitism: Labour Departures

balls-spads

Dan Hodges flouncing out of the Labour Party (again) is no surprise, though he joins a steady stream of people resigning from the people’s party. If not formally resigning they are just quietly (or not so quietly) not renewing their memberships. Exitism by high-calibre moderates is on the rise as the once entryist crypto-commies and toytown trots are welcomed into the party by Corbyn…

Former candidates, bag-carrying opposition PAds and other greasy pole climbing careerists are re-evaluating their prospects. Talk to them and they candidly say that they fully expect another decade of Tory rule. Do they want to spend their best years arguing with lobotomised lefties in CLPs or making some money in the private sector? Labour’s departure lounge is busy…

One-time leadership contender Ed Balls himself looks like he has had enough and his praetorian guard of former advisers have already made the move to the private sector. His former policy chief Karim Palant has joined Facebook as UK public policy manager. Alex Belardinelli, long-time Balls SpAd in government and opposition, is now spinning for Uber, the multi-billion dollar ride-sharing corporation, as their UK head of communications. Do let Guido know of any more examples of exitism…

Mary Macleod’s Reverse Career Trajectory

The stereotypical Westminster career trajectory is from bag-carrier to MP, yet for Mary Macleod the opposite is true. Macleod was one of the ten Tory MPs who lost their seat in May when she was beaten by Labour in Brentford. Do not fear for her bank balance, though.[…] Read the rest

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Updated SpAd List in Full

spads2

On the final day of term, Downing Street has at last released the updated list of government special advisers. As ever, Guido gives you the names in full:

[googleapps domain=”docs” dir=”spreadsheets/d/16uVCBkk5npgyLIehZC4aup5I5MQN8Wa4aIZXuGN7zKI/pubhtml” query=”widget=true&headers=false” width=”540″ height=”800″ /]

Despite Cameron’s promise, the SpAd bill for 2014-15 was £9.2 million…

UPDATE: Government sources get in touch to stress that next year the bill will fall to £8.4 million.[…] Read the rest

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Corbyn’s Commissars Confirmed

Last week Guido reported that Corbyn was planning to centrally assign political advisers (PAds) to his Secretaries of State, rather than let them appoint their own aides. The move is seen as a highly controversial Corbynista power grab in moderate Labour circles.[…] Read the rest

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Bankers’ Spinner Bolsters ‘No’ Campaign

A big boost for the ‘No’ campaign, who have signed up top British Bankers’ Association spinner Paul Stephenson to run their comms. Dominic Cummings is hiring:

“If you want to get overpaid for lying to people, call the EU Commission or Roland Rudd – he tells the media he wants to pay his campaign manager 500k: you can hire 20 junior people for that and I’ll bet they’ll drive the guy on 500k round the bend before they’re done…”

Stephenson is a former Tory press officer turned DfT and then DH SpAd, and one of the best in the business.[…] Read the rest

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Burnham Gaffe Wasn’t Even First Time

country comes first

Liz Kendall is making Burnham’s ‘the party always comes first’ gaffe really hurt. Burnham supporters are attempting to spin it as out of context, but it was clearly a daft thing to say and it teed up his quick witted opponent perfectly.[…] Read the rest

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Treasury Seeks SpAd Gender Balance

George Osborne’s new Director of Communications James Chapman is seeking some gender balance in the Treasury media team, and is “asking every woman in the Lobby” if they want a job. Rumours swirl that the FT’s deputy pol ed Beth Rigby is among those who have been approached. […] Read the rest

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SpAd List: Treasury Seeking Another Spinner

spads2

Due to overwhelming traffic crashing Google Docs yesterday, here is Guido’s much sought after (and still in progress) SpAd list embedded on the site:

[googleapps domain=”docs” dir=”spreadsheet/pub” query=”key=0AiND16y_xuShdDd3LVIyaGtINV9xSTBjSmxZWGJMMEE&output=html&widget=true” width=”540″ height=”790″ /]

The exodus from the CCHQ press office continues as comms chief Giles Kenningham becomes a Special Adviser to the PM.[…] Read the rest

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SpAd List: Rolling Updates as They Come In

spads2

A new government means a new SpAd list and Guido’s handy resource of political appointments is starting to take shape. There are still a few gaps missing and we will be updating as and when news of the remaining hires comes in.[…] Read the rest

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