Fox: "Why Don't You Just Say What You Mean, Kevan?"

Labour’s Chris Bryant did his part to muddy the waters around Liam Fox this morning by tweeting: “I’m perplexed by this smear and innuendo about ‘smears and innuendo’.” An infinite loop of smear and innuendo…

There is a rumour doing the rounds that the Guardian have been sitting on some rather saucy details about Werritty and Fox since last Thursday, with the editor believing that Fox’s position is untenable without the need for the full picture being disclosed. In the mean time the rest of the media seem to be trying rather hard to get a message out there…

Sky News defence correspondent Niall Paterson said in a live broadcast that the Defence Secretary is “not normal”. He later sent a tweet presumably in an attempt at clarification claiming “’twas in the context of making clear that secs of state don’t usually bring their pals on trips”. Quite.

The Mail have a bit of a mixed message. Political Editor James Chapman has gone on the attack, implying that Labour are playing dirty:

“Last night, for instance, Labour’s defence spokesman Kevan Jones, responding to Dr Fox’s apology, declared: ‘This is a man in denial.’ Why don’t you just say what you mean, Kevan?”

Yet his Mail colleague Peter McKay has gone the furthest of any hack yet, pushing the same idea as Kevan Jones:

“There is a final, delicate reason why Cameron and Co might have shied away from dealing with Fox’s private and public association with Werritty. Although Fox has denied rumours that he is gay, his friendship with Werritty seems to go beyond what many might consider is normal in male friendships. But the more-inclusive-than-thou Cameron would instinctively steer clear of querying it.”

“Querying”, eh?

Osborne Responds to QE Announcement

George Osborne told the BBC:

“I don’t think anyone should be pleased that we have reached this point. It is an admission of failure and carries considerable risk. Let us hope that this approach taken by the Bank of England does lead to an easing of credit conditions. This is a leap in the dark and we will see whether it works.”

In 2009

Red Ken Reignites Catfight

Yesterday Ken Clarke told the local press “I expect I will have to wear body armour the next time I meet Theresa. She was at the thing I was at last night but I thought it was too soon to go over and greet her and say ‘it wasn’t my fault.” However he seems to have allayed his fears this morning and has come back out on the attack against his Cabinet colleague. He has said May used “laughable child-like” examples that were a “parody” of court judgements. After Cameron went out of his way to try to take the heat out of the row with a joke and even a song after his speech yesterday, it’s as if Ken Clarke is trying to get reshuffled. 

2,000 Jobs To Go at the BBC -White City to Become Ghost City

It seems the BBC are at least beginning to wake up to reality. 2,000 jobs are to go and White City could be completely abandoned. You have to chuckle at the mindset though. In justifying the cuts, Director General Mark Thompson told the 25,000 staff that the Beeb is “still the biggest employer of journalists, outside of China.”

As if that isn’t the problem…

Mirror Review Whitewash Wonder

Trinity Mirror are set to announce that their review into phone-hacking has found that there was no widespread malpractice taking place at its newspapers, despite a growing list of allegations around Ulrika Jonsson, Frank Bruno and Noel Edmonds. An internal investigation whitewash? Sound familiar yet? 

Sky’s Mark Kleinman is reporting that:

“Paul Vickers, the group legal director of Trinity Mirror, told a meeting of the company’s board last month that a review lasting about six weeks had been completed and that there were no grounds for directors’ concern.”

This is despite clear allegations from a former member of staff at The People that, Kleinman reports, were not considered by Vickers. We know full well that the legal director had been made aware of the allegations in this letter from the Sunlight Centre. Add this to the fact the same former staff claim the Mirror Group’s HR department “urged colleagues to deny any knowledge of phone-hacking at the company on the same day that Clive Goodman was arrested in 2006.” Plenty here for the Guardian to really get their teeth into…

Conservative Conference Midland Hotel Escort Scandal

Normally “women problems” at Tory conference involve the more amorous members of Dave’s cabinet and too much champagne, but his own issues are clearly getting to him. After his  apology in the Sunday Times for being sexist, the PM was overheard thanking their political editor at last night’s media shindig for “getting his message out to women”.

Guido hears the smarm offensive has gone even further though, with female MPs press-ganged into a rota to escort the Prime Minister between the Midland Hotel and the conference hall, or at any other time he might be seen on camera. Form an orderly queue ladies…

Scotland's Top Tory Spinner in a Spot of Bother Tension Added to Tomorrow's Leadership Face Off

Another Sunday and another hit on “Dave’s candidate” for the Scottish Conservative Party leadership – Ruth Davidson. The Herald team report:

“The Conservatives’ top spin doctor in Scotland is under intense pressure over claims he has been advising a candidate in the party’s leadership election. Ramsay Jones, who as head of media has to be neutral in the contest, recently attended a meeting at Ruth Davidson’s home with her campaign strategists.”

The controversy focuses around a meeting on Sunday September 18 at the Cameroon former BBC journo’s Glasgow home. Jones, a party official paid for on short money, did a 150 mile round trip to attend. Officially, it’s  no comment all round, but Guido has spoken to other Scottish Tory figures who are fuming…

With one candidate ready to start all over again with a new party, and presumably new staff, the phrase “self-preservation society” is being thrown around an awful lot up north. Murdo Fraser’s plans have defined the entire debate to find a new Tory leader, and Davidson immediately became the “stop Murdo” candidate for those looking to save their own jobs. This meeting isn’t the first sign that the Tory establishment is backing Ruth, but it is the proof of the pudding.

While Cameron wants to keep out of this race, the timing of this story couldn’t be worse for him given that the candidates are going to come face to face at a conference hustings tomorrow afternoon in their first high-profile ding-dong. Given the temperature of the briefing going on this weekend it could get very messy…

UPDATE: Tory Party Chairman Baroness Warsi just told the Politics Show that she though Davidson was “fantastic”. There was no such praise for any other candidate. Seems the impartiality of the Party is well and truly out of the window…

Indy's Independence Whacked

Have you noticed anything different about the Indy in the last couple of days?

Well it seems that the paper has finally conceded that it is politically biased and susceptible to proprietorial influence. Given Evgeny Lebedev “speaks regularly” to the editor Chris Blackhurst, it was only a matter of time before the paper would have to quietly drop their lofty pretensions…

UPDATE: Co-conspirators point out that the change coincided with the arrival of Chris Blackhurst in the editor’s chair.

Follow Friday FoI

Paul Waugh has confirmed that a locked and hidden Twitter account is in fact that of the Downing Street Director of Communications:

Given that Craig Oliver is using his job title and place of work in his Twitter name, Guido feels we have a right to know what he’s pushing.[…]


Nick Boles a Wide Ball

Nick Boles has taken to the pages of the Telegraph to give a not-so-coded warning that Tory MPs should behave themselves at their conference and not to rock the boat:

” …what we need now is to put away our favourite ideological hobby horses, ignore the political positioning of the other parties…”

Heaven forbid that a newbie MP might dare utter something vaguely ideological to the party faithful.[…]


Yes Campaign Attempts to Rewrite History

John Denham, Labour’s anti-Business Secretary, told an electoral reform fringe meeting yesterday that the:

“Lib Dems were totally kippered in Yes campaign by thinking ‘We mustn’t do anything to upset the Tories…'”

N02AV veterans have barely been able to keep a straight face at this one, especially given that Chris Huhne was sitting on the very same panel.[…]


Rory Unreal: Ironic Tweet of the Day

Except his own private and grammar school one presumably… […]


"Something for Something" or Something

In an attempt to mop up the mess that yesterday’s speech has made, Red Ed took to the airwaves this morning and received a savaging on the Today program. His “not anti-business, but anti-business as usual” soundbite is neat, but the rest of the performance was pretty dire.[…]


Burnham Muddled and Cook's Motives Revealed

With Burnham going on the attack over the Department of Education email leaks all day, he’s managed to get himself in a right muddle. Firstly he suggested that when in government he used his departmental email address for everything including, we must presume, political activity, which would be against the rules.[…]


Huhne's Brass Neck

Chris Huhne is about to lecture you about the economy, suggesting that it’s evil “Tea Party” Tories who are threatening the economic recovery by calling for less tax and a look at our position in Europe. Of course his own raiding of the already stretched bank accounts of hard working families in order to fund his green vanity projects is perfectly legit.[…]


Back to Spin School for Belardinelli

The spinning antics of Ed Balls’ minion Alex Belardinelli are a continual source of amusement in the Guy News room. Sometimes his cavalier attitude to the truth is outdone by a spectacularly poor effort. This morning he was tweeting about “the head of world’s biggest investment fund” saying the government “can and should change course” in a reference to PIMCO – the Pacific Investment Management Company.[…]


Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

Quote of the Day

Trump supporter Raheem Kassam responds to Suzanne Evans calling him “far right”:

“We’re going to rise above it. When she goes low, we go high, to quote Michelle Obama.”

Guidogram: Sign up

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


Walkers Factory Was Raided For Illegal Immigrants Walkers Factory Was Raided For Illegal Immigrants
UKIP Leadership Latest UKIP Leadership Latest
Is This Our New Parliament? Is This Our New Parliament?
Japan’s Single Market Trade Japan’s Single Market Trade
Prezza For Jezza Prezza For Jezza
Man On Sun’s Front Page Is Not Interpreter Man On Sun’s Front Page Is Not Interpreter
Was it Davis or Davies? Was it Davis or Davies?
Multi-Millionaire’s “Hipster Begging” Multi-Millionaire’s “Hipster Begging”
Six Figures For Baroness Scotland’s Friends Six Figures For Baroness Scotland’s Friends
Sadiq Tree Policy Chop Sadiq Tree Policy Chop
Marmite Round-Up Marmite Round-Up
Watch Theresa May Burn Emily Thornberry Watch Theresa May Burn Emily Thornberry
Cameron: Brexit Means Leaving Single Market Cameron: Brexit Means Leaving Single Market
Runners & Riders Runners & Riders
Shami Stories Round-Up Shami Stories Round-Up
Masked Glitterballs Masked Glitterballs
Momentum Kids Momentum Kids
Slug-on-Thames for Parliament? Slug-on-Thames for Parliament?