Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dave the Rave: Tories Launch Ibiza Branch

Chuka Umunna is not the only politico on Ibiza this summer. The Tories have just launched their own Balearic branch of Conservatives Abroad:

“Ibiza is renound for attracting the world’s party people and last week was no exception as Conservatives Abroad launched its latest new branch  – Conservatives Abroad Ibiza. Overlooking the secluded bay of Porroig, residents and visitors mingled in the beautiful home and gardens of Charlie and Louise Bracken for cocktails and canapes, generously sponsored by Ibiza-Southerbys.”

How long before Ed Vaizey jets out for a fundraiser?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tories Very Publicly Break Cover in Speaker Row
MP Demands Delay in Appointment of New Clerk

He’s at it again. Tory MP Rob Wilson has written to the Leader of the House, the PM and the Speaker to very publicly blow up the row over the appointment of the new Clerk of the House:

“Media reports suggest, as does the Australian Senate website, that Ms Mill’s Department of Parliamentary Services oversaw the CCTV ‘spying’ on a senior Labor Senator’s office for the purpose of unmasking a whistle-blower and also recorded a Senator’s movements. The Senate Privileges Committee has a significant investigation underway which apparently will report early next year, March 2015.

In these circumstances, how can we possibly appoint a Clerk of the House of Commons who is under investigation for a serious breach of parliamentary privilege? Should we not await the investigation being carried out by the highly respected cross-party Australian Senate Committee?

Likewise, it is reported today that the Speaker (as a compromise to critics) is now considering a split in this historic role. I seriously doubt the merit of this proposal and agree with Sir Robert Rogers when he said: “I can’t think of more than half a dozen chief executive-type decisions that I have had to take over the last three years that haven’t had to be very closely informed by a profound knowledge of the house and what the house will take. So the two roles are inextricably intertwined.” Furthermore it would not overcome the concerns outlined above regarding Senate Committee investigation into Ms Mills.

I therefore urge you and the Prime Minister to use your good offices to find a way to block the appointment of Mrs Mills, at least until such time that matters become clearer. It could prove extremely damaging to both Parliament, and to all concerned with Ms Mills’s appointment to do otherwise.”

The Speaker will take great pleasure in swiftly replying, no doubt.

Friday, August 15, 2014

THE CHOICE: Tories Draw Level With Labour

At the end of July Labour launched their summer offensive, drawing up the battle lines for next year with the catchy slogan: “The Choice: The Labour Future, The Tory Threat”. Well, after three weeks of shadow cabinet speeches up and down the country outlining “the choice” faced by voters, the people have spoken. YouGov’s poll for the Sun today sees the Tories draw level with Labour for the first time in three months, both parties on 35%. This confirms yesterday’s Ipsos Mori poll which also had both parties level. Labour are telling voters what “the choice” is, and the voters are making it…

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tories Thrash Labour in Donation Stakes: Q2 Figures in Full

Electoral Commission figures out this morning show the Tories are amassing a decent pre-election war chest, raking in £7,185,709 in donations in Q2 of 2014. That’s almost double Labour, who banked just £3,761,615 by comparison. The biggest single donation was given to UKIP, £1,079,567 from Paul Sykes’ Highstone Group.

Those posters don’t pay for themselves…

SpAd Movements: Truss Takes PX’s Porter to Defra

Liz Truss has landed a big name from wonk world as her new media SpAd. Guido understands Policy Exchange brainbox Ruth Porter will be shopping for a new pair of wellies as she heads off to Defra. It’s a strong move all round, Ruth’s media handling experience will help boost the public profile of ambitious Liz, while another PX graduate moving into the heart of government bolsters their reputation as a feeder club for top Tory talent. Politically-ambitious Porter herself must be in line for a decent seat next time round. She will be replaced at PX by former Bank of England economist Steve Hughes. White Dee cruelly overlooked for the job…

Monday, August 11, 2014

£173,000 Simmonds Quits Saying Expenses Are Too Low

Mark Simmonds has told the BBC that his decision to quit parliament was due to the “intolerable” impact of expenses rules on his family, saying his allowances don’t allow him to rent a big enough house in London to bring up his children. Last year Simmonds was named by his local paper as the most expensive MP in his county after they found he had claimed £173,436.96 in expenses for 2013. He cost the taxpayer:

  • £137,426.92 payroll
  • £13,005.38 office costs
  • £5,910.00 staffing expenses
  • £25,000 employing his wife Lizbeth as his office manager

Simmonds and his wife directly took home over £160,000 from the taxpayer last year, as well as claiming for tens of thousands more in other expenses. On top of that, IPSA rules allow MPs to claim £27,875 a year for rent. He says that is not enough to bring up his family in London. Guido imagines his missus told him he wasn’t going anywhere so he might as well start on getting a proper job and making some proper money…

Warsi’s Bitter Welcome for New Female Muslim Tory Peers

Baroness Warsi used her punchy Sunday interviews to imply that “public school” Tories around the PM had it in for her because she is a “a brown, working-class woman” who they saw as “not good enough” to serve in office. Two bits of information might influence how we view that claim – the names of the two new Muslim women appointed by those same nasty Tories as peers on Friday, the impressive women being businesswoman Nosheena Mobarik and popular former Hague SpAd Arminka Helic.

Those less kind than Guido might suggest that Warsi’s very public discovery of principles might have something to do with the two impressive new female Muslim Tory peers threatening her uniqueness as a female Muslim and her therefore being at the centre of attention.  Guido understands she got wind of the appointments just prior to her resignation…

Another Foreign Office Minister Resigns

Mark Simmonds, best known for missing the Syria vote because he was busy discussing Rwanda with Justine Greening, has quit his job at FCO. No.10 deny it is anything to do with policy, his replacement will be James Duddridge. Simmonds will also stand down as an MP in Boston and Skegness in 2015. Analysis by Survation of local election results back in 2013 shows that on paper the seat is UKIP’s best chance of landing an MP…

Hammond loses two ministers in two weeks…

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ellison Faces Public Plain Packs Backlash

plain

The final six week consultation on plain packaging for cigarettes comes to an end today. Pushy public health minister Jane Ellison is under pressure to take into consideration the 100,000 people who have signed a petition opposing plain packs, as well as the 50,000 who personally wrote to the Prime Minister rejecting the proposal. Ellison would never dream of ignoring 150,000 vocal opponents to her policy, would she?

Pic via @cjsnowdon.

Are You a FOB or a FOG?

It’s been a bad week if you are a FOG (Friend of George). First Osborne’s big spending speech was obliterated from the news agenda by Warsi, then Sajid Javid’s second attempt disappeared under Boris’ shadow. Harry Mount in this week’s Speccie explains why the FOBs are beating the FOGs:

“Boris is already forming a loose-knit collection of supporters — FOBs, friends of Boris, to engage in mortal combat with the FOGs, friends of George Osborne, should there be a leadership contest. Jesse Norman and Zac Goldsmith are said to be keen FOBs — they have received little preferment under Cameron and bring powerful cadres of MPs in their wake. Alongside them is Nadine Dorries, one of the few Tory MPs to back Boris openly.

Boris’s deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse — who has the safe seat of North-West Hampshire lined up at the election — will be a staunch ally in the next Parliament. Interesting how Boris loyalists slip easily into safe seats while Cameron’s former advisers have to talk their way past grass-roots Tory opposition to coalition policies.

And here’s where the FOBs have the edge over the FOGs. George’s gang are largely in it for themselves. Their loyalty remains tied up with their own ambitions, which Osborne wisely satisfies from time to time. Boris’s gang are in it for the man himself. And the gang is growing every day. There are quite enough MPs — ones Osborne has been indifferent to — who will do anything to stop the Chancellor getting the top job.”

Are a FOB or a FOG? Maybe you are a FOT (Friend of Theresa)? A FOM maybe (Friend of Michael)? Perhaps you are looking ahead and have become a FOS (Friend of Saj)? Guido suspects in time others will decide to become a FOL (Liz, not Liam) or a FOP (Friend of Priti). Or even a bitter FOE (Friend of Esther). One thing is clear, there aren’t many left who give a FOC…


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion hot-button


Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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