Ask Pred-Ed About the Lobbyist Roland Rudd Right Now

Last week Ed promised to release a list of business clients he met at a dinner at the home of super-spinner Roland Rudd. So far he has not coughed the information. Lets ask him what he’s hiding…

Ed’s Twitter humiliation is becoming a near monthly occurrence. He’s doing yet another #AskEdM event at 15:00.

As ever Guido is making it easy for you to take part, all you have to do is click the box above and you are away.

Did you sup with a long spoon Ed, or were you the prey?

UPDATE: Are you listening Ed? Lots of people want a question answered:

Clegg's Other Lobbyist

With the LibDems trying to have their “told-you-so-moment” over a register of lobbyists, Guido drew your attention yesterday to the controversial spinmeister Clegg has brought into the heart of his operation – Olly Grender. Overnight many a co-conspirator also pointed out that Clegg’s Chief of Staff Jonny Oates is another flesh presser…

Starting at Westminster Strategy in the nineties, Oates worked his way up to become a director at Bell Pottinger in 2004. With a host of international and UK clients that would put any sandal-wearing LibDem member off their lentils, Bell Pottinger are the largest UK firm to refuse to take part in any of the voluntary regulation schemes that are around. Their chairman Peter Bingle has been at the forefront of defending the industry this week. Almost a lone public voice…

So two of Clegg’s closest advisers right now are former lobbyists. His promised clean up of the body politic clearly doesn’t start at home…

Controversial Lobbyist at the Heart of Downing Street

In those heady days of spring 2010 Nick Clegg told the ITV leadership debate that he wanted “something I’ve supported all my adult political life, which is a complete clean-up from top to toe of politics.” This included an end to murky lobbying and he subsequently convinced the Conservative coalition negotiators of the need for a compulsory register of lobbyists. So it is odd then that the lobbyist Olly Grender has gone to spin for Nick Clegg out of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. Grender is in Downing Street covering the maternity leave of Clegg’s gatekeeper Lena Pietsch, which means she will be back on the outside practising the dark arts very soon….

After spinning for the Liberal Democrats in the run up to the 1997 election, Grender turned to the dark-side of lobbying at Neal Lawson and Jonathan Mendelsohn’s scandal ridden and now defunct LLM Communications, which became notorious for their level of access to the Blair government. Eventually she moved on to PLMR – Political Lobbying and Media Relations. Leaving the quack green energy companies represented by the firm aside,  the organisation boasts that they represent Frankenstein doctors  like PLMR client Reneuron who experiment with stem-cells taken from new-born children, and pro-puppy-torturing and mouse-probing animal research organisations like UAR. PLMR also spin for the Brazilian Beef food processing industry, which George Monbiot accuses of “deforestation, slavery and murder”. Classy stuff…

Given the unfettered access that Grender now has and that her appointment is only temporary, what measures have been taken in Downing Street to make sure that her firm’s clients, who until very recently were paying her to represent them, do not have undue influence? The Cabinet Office can instigate a cooling off period after officials leave the government before they can jump through the revolving door. Will this “two years in the cooler” apply to Grender and her corporate lobbying career? With Nick Clegg leading the charge against the spinmeisters, what has he done to get his own house in order?

Miliband Voted Against Lobbyist Register in 2006

Ever the opportunist, Ed constantly tries to be the first out of the blocks in a crisis, so that he can harp on that the Prime Minister is following his example. It’s a useful tactic to mask the real weaknesses of his day-to-day leadership. Well today the tactic is being used with the state register of lobbyists. Except he is going to come unstuck, again…

Ed is expected to take to the airwaves this afternoon with the line tested by Shadow Cabinet Office minister Gareth Thomas, who told the BBC at the weekend:

“David Cameron has still not introduced the compulsory register of lobbyists he promised. The government should bring forward as a matter of urgency plans for a compulsory register of lobbyists with records being kept of meetings between lobbyists and ministers.”

But has Ed and his top team always been in favour of such a register? If so, why did he, along with Balls, Cooper and Gareth Thomas vote against a LibDem bill that would have brought in the register in 2006? Woops…

Via @JasonJHunter. The full list of who voted against the bill is here

Pred-Ed: Miliband's Shady Dinner with Lobbyists and Predators

Given that this is the week that shady chats and hand shakes in private rooms will be coming under extra scrutiny, Guido thought he would give Ed a gentle reminder of his promise to publish a list of attendees at a suspiciously “private and off the record” dinner held for him at the home of lobbyist-spinmeister Roland Rudd last week:

Ed has turned to the corporate lobbyist to boost his severely dented, if ever existent, reputation in the business world. Roland’s known clients include Murdoch, the Daily Mail, not so environmentally sensitive miners like Rio Tinto and African Barrick Gold. Rudd’s client list includes Boots and easyJet, owned by predatory asset stripping private equity companies, the most aggressive takeover group in the world KKR – the original “Barbarians at the Gate” – investment banks like Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered, UK taxpayer bailed out banks like Royal Bank of Scotland and Greece’s bankrupt Alpha Bank. Glencore the rogue commodities trading operation run out of Switzerland retains Rudd.

Labour’s current favourite targets the big energy companies like ENI, Shell, EON and Centrica could have been sat round the table with Ed. Embarrassingly UK Uncut favourites Vodafone may have passed the port to Ed and given Rudd represents Wonga, which the Labour Party’s Stella Creasey campaigns against, there will be extortionate interest if they were there. Rudd represents hedge fund operators DE Shaw and the London Stock Exchange, currently home to the unwashed 0.99% in occupation. With all these “predators” at his fingertips, which ones did Rudd choose to give Ed “some straight advice”?  No wonder Ed is reluctant to admit who he had dinner with…

Rumour Mill Says Fox Might Go Tonight

And so the “Dear David/Dear Liam” rumour mill begins. Paul Waugh tweets that he is picking up chatter that Fox will walk tonight. It would make sense and take the sting out the inevitable savaging by the Sundays, but then it would also be out of character. Guido did a quick text around to be told the it was a load of cobblers. But then they will say that until they are setting up a microphone…

UPDATE: Speculation mounting. Think it’s Foxtrot Oscar time…

Ed Meets Predators for Dinner

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Guido just asked Ed Miliband at his Labour HQ press conference (with Ed Balls) if the lobbyist Roland Rudd is a producer or a predator? He waffled on about meeting business people all the time but didn’t answer the question. He did promise to reveal who he met at last night’s dinner held off-the-record at the lobbyist’s home. So we will find out if he dined with producers or predators.

Should be noted that Roland Rudd made his millions representing financial service companies as well as predators and prey in takeover battles. Are spinners producers?

Michael Hintze: For Whom the Bell Spins

Flying in from China to face the growing music, Michael Hintze, the donor in the spotlight regarding Liam Fox’s shadow operation, is said to have hired Lord Bell to spin for him this morning. Hintze, the chairman of the hedge fund CQS, gave Adam Werritty a desk in his Grosvenor Place office and is one of his key benefactors. Given that the Sunday papers are crawling over anyone who has ever given Fox a penny, it seems Hintze is getting ready for a fight… 

UPDATE: It looks like they are keeping it cosy. Richard Alston the Non-Executive Director of Bells’s Chime Communications (which owns Bell Pottinger,) also sits on the international advisory board of CQS. Bell Pottinger also represent the Sri Lankan government and have worked closely with Liam Fox in the past.

Fox Trashes Werritty

Another key development in the fox-hunt from Joe Murphy at the Standard. He has got the text of “friends of Fox” attempting to trash his bestest friend Adam Werritty. Murphy stresses that he believes this is what Fox told GOD:

“It is clear that Werritty was masquerading as something he was not.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: Cameron's PMQ Briefer Leaves Downing Street

Today’s PMQs session will be a tough one, unemployment is up, the defence secretary is in the wars and the Health Bill is falling apart. If you notice something a little different about Cameron’s performance at Prime Minister’s Questions later it will be because Peter Campbell, who has been in charge of Dave’s PMQs briefings since the moment he became Tory leader, has joined the Downing Street exodus.[…] Read the rest

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Fox Speaks Out, Sort Of

“Friends of Liam Fox” have been in touch with Ben Brogan over at the Telegraph:

“I gather he is close to a put up or shut up moment about his private life: if his pursuers have something to say they should say it out loud rather than whisper speculation, he tells friends.”

Given that it’s Liam’s “friends” that have got him into this mess in the first place, Guido would take what they say with a pinch of salt, but he’s certainly surprised that Fox would take that high-risk route.[…] Read the rest

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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.[…] Read the rest

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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. 

[…] Read the rest

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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.[…] Read the rest

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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…[…] Read the rest

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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?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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