Craig Insists on SpAd Radio Silence

Star guest at this morning’s 10:00 meeting for Tory special advisers at CCHQ was Lynton Crosby. It opened with a warning from party chairman Grant Shapps that they would be “fired by the Prime Minister” if any SpAd was caught leaking the details of the meeting. At which point poor old Craig Oliver – who has been at the sharp end of plenty of leaks and briefings recently – turned around and gave each of them an individual “death stare”That worked well…

Jon Ashworth: the Self-Loathing SpAd

Labour MP Jon Ashworth is all right on over at the Staggers today:

“When David Miliband announced his resignation as MP for South Shields, there was some suspicion that another so-called ‘London special advisor’ would be parachuted into this supposed rock solid northern Labour bastion. Ed Miliband’s One Nation Labour has genuinely made an effort to widen the pool of figures joining the PLP…”

Yes, shame on all these “London special advisers” parachuted into northern seats. Well said that man. That man being a former “London special adviser” (No.10 Deputy Political Secretary) “parachuted into the supposed rock solid northern Labour bastion” of Leicester for the 2011 by-election. Spun like a true Brown SpAd.

Bad SpAd Memory

Labour peer George Foulkes’ FOI revelation that Clegg has 15 SpAds beggars belief when you look at his media management this week. The eagle-eyed among Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidates never miss a chance to bash the Deputy PM, however. Step forward Redcar hopeful Anna Turley:

Anna seems to have forgotten that she herself was a SpAd not once, but twice. Not just any SpAd either, but a super important one. She specialised in “social exclusion” while working for Hilary Armstrong, and child poverty and equality under David Blunkett. Guido wonders how many community groups her wage could have gone to support…

Toby Helm’s Twitter Spat With Gove SpAds

Huge handbags on Twitter this week between the Observer’s Toby Helm and the CCHQ @ToryEducation Twitter account. The Tory tweeter told Helm “You’re like Baldwin and Campbell – an activist, not a professional hack”, provoking paroxysms of rage from the Labour Party press office’s favourite broadsheet channel. Particularly after they called Helm a Labour stooge. This will apparently spill over into the paper this weekend when The Observer is going to allege that it is part of a scandalous McBride/Draper style dirty tricks operation. Guido understands that Helm reckons it could bring down Michael Gove…

Judge the robust exchange for yourself:

https://twitter.com/toryeducation/status/295633641202126849

https://twitter.com/toryeducation/status/295647362519539712

It is unclear to Guido whether or not the account is run officially or unofficially from CCHQ or by Gove’s SpAds, or what the exact rules about this would be. As is so often the way with Twitter, exchanges are strongly worded. SpAds are supposed to operate within civil service limitations.  A strongly worded written letter of admonishment to a SpAd from the permanent secretary may result. Not exactly enough to bring down the Secretary of State…

UPDATE: Looks like Toby has been down the bookies:

Patrick Rock – Dave’s Quiet Bat Person

Another direct hit for Downing Street snapper Steve Back of Political Pictures. You will remember his handiwork involving Oliver Letwin, government papers and a park bin. His photos have let the Telegraph put a nice spanner into the Coalition Review, with Cameron’s fixer Patrick Rock getting snapped flashing embarrassing documents showing just how stage managed the whole relaunch is. The news getting out that “problematic areas” will lead to “unfavourable copy” for “broken pledges” is an unusual public cock up for the most powerful Cameron adviser most people have never heard of…

Rock and Dave go back to the Home Office under the progressive days of Michael Howard. The story goes that on the day John Smith died they went drinking in the Two Chairmen, where they “both agreed that Blair coming meant that we [Conservatives] would be f**ked.” Guido understands that Rock was behind the vetoing of  former Policy Exchange Director Neil O’Brien joining the No.10 team, resulting in O’Brien going to No.11 to work for Osborne instead. Rock has been working under the public radar in Downing Street since spring 2011 and after this nightmare, he will likely keep an even lower profile… 

SpAd Put Through the Mill-er

Accusations from the Tories that the Telegraph coordinated their Maria Miller expenses story to coincide with the gay marriage announcement yesterday went down very badly over at Buckingham Palace Road. Still smarting, they have thrown the ‘rules’ out of the window and published rather embarrassing communications between Miller’s people and the paper in the run up to the story coming out:

“The Telegraph has decided to disclose details of the private conversations amid widespread concern about the potential dangers of politicians being given a role in overseeing the regulation of the press. When a reporter approached Mrs Miller’s office last Thursday, her special adviser, Joanna Hindley, pointed out that the Editor of The Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson.

“Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about,” said Miss Hindley. Miss Hindley also said the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.”

Not the best way to try to fight a negative story and particularly chilling in light of the fact Ofcom answers to the Culture Secretary – the exact chain of command that would control Leveson’s state backed press regulator. Eyebrows were raised about levels of experience after the Adam Smith mess at Culture when Miller hired Hindley back in September. She had been at Prince Charles’ Foundation as head of comms after a relatively junior role in the CCHQ press office. A pretty awkward situation…

Tory Minister Complained About Thea


The BBC’s Nick Robinson said he was taken by complete surprise when he learnt that his producer had been poached by the Chancellor George Osborne to beef up his dismal telly image. She was, Guido noted at the time, seen drinking with the Treasury team into the early hours at Tory party conference. Many Tories were rather surprised given that Thea Rogers worked for Labour in 2005.

Things might be a bit tense if Thea has to deal with Transport Minister Mike Penning, he once put in an official complaint about Rogers and former Labour cabinet minister James Purnell. The row even made it into Tory press releases

See also: Craig Oliver’s Late Night Lobby Briefing

More Than Windmills Spinning at DECC

Troubled times at the department for windmills and other omni-shambles. Guido hears that the hunt is on for a new Special Advisor for the DECC – a suspected nark for No.10 to keep an eye on Greg Barker and John Hayes. Despite his high-Toryism, Hayes is felt to be “wandering off reservation”. Ed Llewellyn is said to be particularly unhappy with the larger than life Minister after telling the Prime Minister that he “wouldn’t hear a peep” from Hayes just hours before last week’s wind-farm mess. Meanwhile one source says that “Barker’s lost in all this green deal crud”.

The LibDem SpAds – Chris Nicolson and Kate Waring – are said to not like the idea of a spy one little bit, and Guido understands they have kicked up a mighty fuss. What was that pre-election promise about cutting the number of advisers? 

New SpAd Appointments

Final Special Adviser appointments have been confirmed:

  • Health – Sam Talbot Rice.
  • BIS (for Fallon) – James Wild.
  • Justice – Will Gallagher
  • Home extra SpAd –  Stephen Parkinson.
  • Culture – Joanna Hindley
The full list is available here.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

SpAd Movements – Glover Out of No.10

There was a big fanfare when Downing Street poached the Guardian’s Julian Glover to be chief speech-writer in October 2011. Comparisons with Sam Seaborne from the West Wing were flying around – though that may have been a bit premature […]

+ READ MORE +

Hunt Privatises His Circle

When Jeremy Hunt was appointed as Health Secretary it was seen as “up yours” to his countless enemies on the left and in media. After his car-crash encounter with Murdoch, many saw him as a wounded beast, and Leveson could […]

+ READ MORE +

Mitchell SpAd Transfer Mystery

As Tory MPs nickname their new Chief Whip “Fifty Shades”, backbenchers have been speculating whether Andrew Mitchell would be taking his Special Adviser Philipa Buckley over from the Department for International Development. Mitchell and Buckley are said to have […]

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

William Hague on Tony Blair…

“To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.”

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

PRO-EU LOBBYIST IN HEART OF WHITEHALL PRO-EU LOBBYIST IN HEART OF WHITEHALL
NONSENSE AND INSENSIBILITY: EMMA THOMPSON’S POETRY PROTEST NONSENSE AND INSENSIBILITY: EMMA THOMPSON’S POETRY PROTEST
ANTI-UKIP BURNHAM V PATRIOTIC ‘PURPLE’ ANDY ANTI-UKIP BURNHAM V PATRIOTIC ‘PURPLE’ ANDY
CORBYN: QUOTING THINGS I HAVE SAID IS “CYNICAL” JOURNALISM CORBYN: QUOTING THINGS I HAVE SAID IS “CYNICAL” JOURNALISM
All Change at News UK All Change at News UK
GDS IMPLOSION CONTINUES GDS IMPLOSION CONTINUES

Virgin Blackmailing Broadband Customers Virgin Blackmailing Broadband Customers
Google Logo Evolution Google Logo Evolution
Corbyn Supporters to ‘Drink Blood of Thatcher’ Corbyn Supporters to ‘Drink Blood of Thatcher’
Government Pleads Guilty to Climate Crimes Government Pleads Guilty to Climate Crimes
New REFERENDUM QUESTION New REFERENDUM QUESTION
“SECURITY” NO. 10’S CORBYN ATTACK LINE OF CHOICE “SECURITY” NO. 10’S CORBYN ATTACK LINE OF CHOICE
Guardian Looking For New Pol Ed Guardian Looking For New Pol Ed
NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY HACKED NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY HACKED
NO CAMPAIGN MAKING FRIENDS: “I HOPE YOU DIE IN A FREAK YACHTING ACCIDENT” NO CAMPAIGN MAKING FRIENDS: “I HOPE YOU DIE IN A FREAK YACHTING ACCIDENT”
CORBYN EQUATES BIN LADEN DEATH “TRAGEDY” WITH 9/11 CORBYN EQUATES BIN LADEN DEATH “TRAGEDY” WITH 9/11
RICH’S MONDAY MORNING VIEW RICH’S MONDAY MORNING VIEW
ENVIRONMENT MAYOR TOTTY WATCH: BRAZIL EDITION ENVIRONMENT MAYOR TOTTY WATCH: BRAZIL EDITION
HAIN GRAVY TRAIN HYPOCRISY HAIN GRAVY TRAIN HYPOCRISY
MONBIOT SKINS & COOKS SQUIRREL ON NEWSNIGHT MONBIOT SKINS & COOKS SQUIRREL ON NEWSNIGHT
DAVE’S CARBON BAGGAGE DAVE’S CARBON BAGGAGE
Daylight Robbery: Met Chain Themselves to £216 Billion 10 Year IT Contract Daylight Robbery: Met Chain Themselves to £216 Billion 10 Year IT Contract
Trumps Hair: Toupee or Not Toupee? Trumps Hair: Toupee or Not Toupee?
BURNHAM BLOWS DOG WHISTLE LINE BURNHAM BLOWS DOG WHISTLE LINE
DCMS FUN POLICE CALLED OFF THE CASE DCMS FUN POLICE CALLED OFF THE CASE
NEW PEERAGES LIST IN FULL NEW PEERAGES LIST IN FULL
WELSH FIRST MINISTER CONDEMNS STEEL WORKERS WELSH FIRST MINISTER CONDEMNS STEEL WORKERS
MOAT CLEANING EXPENSES SCANDAL MP AWARDED PEERAGE MOAT CLEANING EXPENSES SCANDAL MP AWARDED PEERAGE
CHICKEN TORIES CHICKEN TORIES
1 IN 5 CORBYN SUPPORTERS VOTED FOR CLEGG 1 IN 5 CORBYN SUPPORTERS VOTED FOR CLEGG