Downing Street Soliciting Big Business Support For Remain

Guido has got hold of a draft letter sent to FTSE 100 bosses by Downing Street business adviser Chris Hopkins yesterday, soliciting support for Dave’s deal. It was due to appear in tomorrow’s Times, but you can read it on Guido today:

From: Chris Hopkins
Sent: 21 February 2016
To: XXXXX

Dear Sirs

We run businesses representing every sector and region of the United Kingdom. Together we employ hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

Following the Prime Minister’s renegotiation, we believe that Britain is better off staying in a reformed European Union. He has secured a commitment from the EU to reduce the burden of regulation, deepen the single market and to sign off crucial international trade deals.

Businesses like ours need unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs. We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment and threaten jobs. It would put the economy at risk.

We believe Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the European Union.

Give me a call if you have any issues.

Regards,

Chris

The letter was sent around yesterday, after the new rules limiting what Leave ministers are allowed to do with public resources came into effect. No.10 are unsportingly using the taxpayer-funded civil service machine to campaign for Remain, within the rules…

Welcome Back, Damian…

This tweet from EyeSpy suddenly makes a lot more sense – Damian McBride has been hired to be Emily Thornberry’s spin doctor. On the day of her resignation, McBride told the BBC she should’ve lied about the meaning of her flag tweet. News of the move was slipped out at 5:50pm on Friday night, the old tricks are the best…

LibDems Blame Public, Media and Blazing Rows

nick clegg sad

A good day for the LibDems to quietly slip out their report into why they were wiped out last May. So, who was to blame? The public of course:

“the weak public understanding of our party and political opinions meant that our move into government was not well understood”

And the media, obviously:

“media system that did not wish to demonstrate that the first peace-time coalition at Westminster could deliver stable government worsened the experience”

Though to be fair, the LibDem report is considerably more candid than Labour’s whitewash. Tuition fees was top of the list:

“critical disjunction between what we had published on the front page of our 2010 manifesto… namely, the abolition of tuition fees”

Intriguingly, they all ended up having blazing rows with each other:

“Some of the most problematic staff relationships came with overzealous party committee members, who took their frustration with the structure out on staff members”

No one was in charge, despite hiring expensive South African strategist Ryan Coetzee:

“lack of a single, professional campaign director responsible for taking strategic decisions about all aspects of campaigning”

They were seen as Tory patsies:

“we unwittingly manoeuvred ourselves into a position of appearing content to be willing appendages to our coalition partners”

Remarkably, due to “dwindling finances”

“no polling activities of note were undertaken at all during the first years of Coalition”

And morale was, well…

“these factors combined to lead to a daily reality for the party of public rejection, falling internal morale, and consistent electoral destruction”

Despite all this they bizarrely conclude:

“the political plight of the party could have been far worse”

How?

That No.10 Pantomime in Full

Thursday

8:00pm: No.10 briefing to Lobby: “I would say the going is tough, this could be a long night. Some real outstanding issues to resolve, it’s not clear how we’re going to do that.”

8:20pm: BBC reports No.10 source: “impasse… we thought there might be talk of bridges but still big gaps”, “talks pushed back”

Friday

5:29am: Times reports No.10 downbeat: “problems across the board”

7:50am: No.10 briefing to Lobby: “It’s hard going. Some signs of progress but nothing yet agreed and still a lot to do.”

8:15am: Amber Rudd is sent on Today“The deal is out of reach at the moment”

10:52am: No.10 brief the Lobby: “We may have a deal today, we may not. We may have Cabinet today, we may not. Tusk has told us he’s prepared to go into Sunday”

As the President of Lithuania said yesterday: “Everybody will have his own drama, then we will agree…”

Just Add Smoke

hall-of-mirrors

Dave’s Copenhagen press conference is perfectly placed…

Hat-tip: Kate McCann

BSE Apologise: “Work of Fiction” Claim is… Work of Fiction

Yesterday Britain Stronger in Europe sent out a press release describing a new Institute of Economic Affairs report on the EU as a “work of fiction”. Quite a hostage to fortune…

The BSE briefing claimed: “Matthew Elliott CEO of Vote Leave is a former Director of the IEA”. Er, no he isn’t. Elliott has never been a director of the IEA.

BSE then claimed the Elliott (non)link meant: “The Institute for Economic Affairs, Business for Britain and Vote Leave are a revolving door”. About as much as Stuart Rose and Marks and Spencer. Or, indeed, not, since Elliott was never at the IEA.

BSE have now privately apologised to the IEA for the error, they tell Guido: “We do regret any confusion caused”. Though they haven’t sent out a correction. They are instead waiting for journalists to call up before they tell them their briefing was, to coin a phrase, “a work of fiction”. 

Cabinet Fury Over Cameron’s 18 Day ‘Free Reign’

EU REFORM

Downing Street have cleared the grid for the next two weeks so Cameron can sell his renegotiation deal to the public. Eurosceptic ministers are furious that he will have two weeks’ “free reign” to make the pro-EU case, while they remain gagged. Ministers who want to campaign to Leave are barred from doing so until the conclusion of the post-EU council Cabinet meeting, which will take place after February 19. This is from Cameron’s letter to ministers:

So in the 18 or so days between today and that Cabinet meeting, Cameron is free to defend his deal without opposition from Eurosceptic ministers. They are seething…

Ken Pushes New Zac Attack on Sadiq

This is the new Tory attack poster on Sadiq Khan released this morning, ramming home the line that Labour’s mayoral candidate is “Corbyn’s man in City Hall”. Sadiq nominated Corbyn for leader and has since been attempting an unconvincing differentiation strategy. So he won’t be thrilled to see Ken Livingstone has just helpfully parroted the very same Tory attack line in the Standard.

In an article headlined “London needs to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a better city”, Ken tells voters that “Corbyn has the right economic policy” and “he is the last chance we’ve got to create a fairer world”. The former London mayor agrees with Zac – Sadiq is Corbyn’s man in City Hall. Good news for Khan is at least Ken isn’t backing his old mate George Galloway…

‘Senior Labour Source’ on Putin

Wonder what a “senior Labour source” thinks about the Litvinenko findings?

Here is an idea of Seumas Milne’s view…[…]

+ READ MORE +

McBride Knifes Baldwin

baldwin mcbrde
It appears our old friend Damian McBride couldn’t resist sticking the knife in to Ed Miliband’s shambolic media operation. McBride was happy to recount the following anecdote about a grim-faced Tom Baldwin, the ex-Times hack who became Ed’s press […]

+ READ MORE +

Boys Keep Spinning: Corbyn’s Today Programme Porkie

Jeremy Corbyn told the Today programme that he did not know which member of his team briefed the press that he intended to sack Hilary Benn: “I’m not sure where the briefing came from”. Seumas Milne is widely believed […]

+ READ MORE +

McDonnell Wipes Mao From Official Video of Speech

Just when you thought today couldn’t get any worse for John McDonnell, he decided to tweet out a video of his response to the Autumn Statement. Yet mysteriously, when he starts his section on China, the film oddly fades to […]

+ READ MORE +



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