Theresa May’s sense of humour was on display when she appointed Alan Duncan as BoJo’s deputy at the Foreign Office, he had after all just a week before described him as “Borisconi”. In comments recorded before the referendum and broadcast last night on “Brexit: A Very British Coup“ Duncan said:
“I’ve always thought that Boris’s wish was to lose by one so that he could be the heir apparent without having to have all the… you know, s-h-1-t of clearing up all the mess, that’s always been my view of Boris.”
A lot of the commentariat and political class suspected that this was his calculation. To be fair many on the Leave side suspected this of him as well. That was until the campaign got into full swing. Boris led from the front, he put his heart into it, he energised the campaign. If it wasn’t for him the campaign would have been totally dominated by Nigel Farage, who even he would admit, does not appeal to everyone. Boris was the ace card that won the TV debate.
Guido’s gut feel is Boris’ heart was entirely for Brexit, his head was less sure, in the end he went with his heart. That is enough for most Tories, three quarters of whom backed Brexit. For that reason, when the ball comes loose from the scrum, Osborne won’t have a chance of getting sight of it…
Theresa May has suffered the first resignation of her premiership: Jim O’Neill has quit as a Treasury minister over the Northern Powerhouse, Hinkley Point and grammar schools. O’Neill is a close Friend of George – he’s already being linked with Osborne’s new think tank. Lobbing a grenade at Number 10 will be viewed in the context of Osborne’s multiple interventions over the last week, he’d already briefed out to the FT that he was thinking about quitting. O’Neill has also resigned the Tory whip and become a cross-bencher…
Fair to say 37 year-old barrister Robert Courts is a surprise choice as the Tory candidate in Witney. Just 48 hours ago he was a 6/1 outsider with the bookies – at one point they were offering 20/1 – so how did this humble underdog secure the seat? Grumbles from West Oxfordshire suggest CCHQ attempted to stitch up the selection for David Cameron’s chosen successor, his aide Natasha Whitmill. The party blocked the general candidates list from applying for the seat, then blocked the two local bookies’ favourites, James Mills and David McFarlane, from the final shortlist. Whitmill should have comfortably beaten the remaining lower profile candidates and become the MP. However, Witney Tories rejected Dave’s choice and plumped for Courts, a military history fan and lover of Game of Thrones, instead. A tale of the unscrupulous methods of Tory selections and the brutality of local politics, and how Dave failed to fix it for his final crony…
Robert Courts, the deputy leader of West Oxfordshire district council, has been selected as the Tory candidate in Witney. He’ll be an MP on 20 October…
Yesterday Guido revealed how most Tory candidates had been blocked from standing in Witney to ensure a local candidate took the seat. It looks like even more of a stitch up this morning. Here are your new runners and riders:
- James Mills – The bookies’ favourite and leader of the local district council.
- David McFarlane – The local association chairman. A letter has gone round from old Etonian Lord de Mauley telling members to vote for him. They’ve been accused of trying to “ram raid” the process.
- Natasha Whitmill – Worked in Cameron’s constituency office since she was 22. Dave is reportedly helping her win the selection and there’s growing anger that she might win. The final crony?
- Robert Courts – Deputy leader of the district council.
- John Cotton – Leader of the neighbouring district council. Semi-local.
So CCHQ, McFarlance and Whitmill are all being accused of their own separate stitch ups. Decision tonight…
Brooks Newmark has instructed Carter-Ruck to remove all his sext pictures from the internet. Letters have gone out from the solicitors to newspapers, who have complied with his demand because they are his copyrighted images. He used to like sharing his photos…
Now if you search the stories about him you will see that the original pictures he sent have indeed been removed. Obviously since he sent photos voluntarily to our “Sophie” this will be amusing to argue about in Court. A senior government Special Adviser has been known to share with colleagues some of the funnier – so far unpublished – pics of Brooks in his pyjamas. “‘Ere, do you want to see some dirty pictures?”
Things are moving quickly in Witney. Guido hears a Tory Parliamentary Assessment Board meeting to vet candidates was rushed through over the weekend and a decision could be made as soon as Thursday night. The word is it will be a local candidate and that the party has not opened selection to the main candidates list, excluding the likes of Dan Hannan and Esther McVey. There are a lot of upset Tories who wanted to put their names forward and now believe they’ve been blocked from running. Will they direct their anger at David Cameron, who is highly influential in the Witney selection, CCHQ’s head of candidates Gareth Fox, or Theresa May? Baroness Jenkin will also be unhappy after she just yesterday called for the new MP to be a woman. A shortlist of local candidates is likely to be very male and pale…
In the post-Brexit vote period house prices have risen 0.7% month-on-month in September (vs -1.2% in August) and were up 4.0% year-on-year (vs +4.1% in August), according to real-estate website Rightmove. This contrasts with the 18% drop predicted by the Treasury when George Osborne was Chancellor.[…]
Theresa May’s government will still be held to the 2015 Conservative manifesto. Here’s an update on how it’s doing.
— DailySunday Politics (@daily_politics) September 18, 2016
Back in February the Sunday Politics launched its Manifesto Tracker, recording which election promises the Tories have kept or broken.[…]
George Osborne still believes he is in play. Here are the top lines from his Today programme interview:
- He’s not going anywhere: “I don’t want to write my memoir because I don’t know how the story ends.”
- Theresa May was the best PM “of the candidates who put themselves forward”.
Since Michael Gove got his new gig as a columnist for the Times there has been some scuttlebutt going round that it might be an audition for the editorship. Writing in The Oldie, the Mail’s Stephen Glover suggests the Gover is being lined up for the top job at the Sunday:
“[Fleet Street] is awash with a story (which by the time you read this may have already broken its banks) that Gove is about to be made editor of Murdoch’s Sunday Times.”
He goes on:
“According to ‘friends of Gove’, whom I have consulted, no offer of any editorship has been made by Murdoch, from which it follows that none could have been accepted.
Former UKIP party director Steve Stanbury, who has been a major behind the scenes figure for the Kippers for years, has just defected to the Tories live on the Daily Politics. He says UKIP has achieved what it set out to do and the Tories are now best placed to deliver Brexit…[…]
Tory MP Justin Tomlinson has been suspended from the Commons for two days for leaking a Public Accounts Committee report to Wonga. Extraordinarily, Tomlinson thought it acceptable to share a draft report on regulating consumer credit with a Wonga employee. The Wonga employee replied with a series of recommendations, which Tomlinson then put to his committee.[…]