Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lord Hill: Unelected, Unheard Of, Ultimate Political Insider

After denouncing Juncker as “someone no one has heard of”, Cameron has nominated Jonathan Hill for European Commissioner. Who he?

Hill worked at the Conservative Research Department in 1985 before becoming a SpAd to Ken Clarke.

In 1991 he joined the No.10 policy unit and became political secretary to Major in 1992, going on to lobby for Bell Pottinger and Quiller before moving to the Lords in 2010.

Asked by ConHome in June whether he was would want to be European Commissioner, Hill replied “non, non, non”.

As an ultimate political insider, who has never been elected to anything, he will fit right in in Brussels…

Cabinet Office: Sorry We Haven’t a Minister

Charlie Elphicke’s parliamentary debate to highlight the failings in political neutrality of charities has been postponed after the Cabinet Office realised that they no longer had a Minister for Civil Society to respond.

After the sacking of the Nick Hurd, perhaps his replacement should have a keen interest in the third sector…

Why not Elphicke himself, or Conor Burns?

The charities would love it…

Monday, July 14, 2014

THE RESHUFFLE: All the Sackings as They Happen

22.52: You read it all here first:

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister has accepted the resignations of the following Ministers:

- The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP (Minister without Portfolio)
- The Rt Hon David Willetts MP (Minister of State, BIS)
- The Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP (Minister of State, DFID)
- The Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP (Minister of State, FCO)
- The Rt Hon Sir George Young Bt MP, (Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury)
- The Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP (Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office)
- The Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP (Minister of State, DECC)

10.15pm: Phillip Hammond will take over at FCO. Eurosceptic.

10:00pm: William Hague out as Foreign Secretary, he becomes Leader of the House and will stand down from parliament at the election.

10:00pm: Andrew Lansley sacked.

9:58pm: Stephen Crabb is the new Welsh Secretary.

9:28pm: Owen Paterson sacked as Environment Secretary.

9:07pm: Solicitor General Oliver Heald also leaving.

9.03pm: Greg Barker out of DECC and will quit parliament next year.

8:34pm: Attorney General Dominic Grieve leaves the government.

8:16pm: Transport minister Stephen Hammond out.

8:07pm: Police minister Damian Green sacked.

7:30pm: David Willetts quits, will leave parliament next year.

7:27pm: Nick Hurd stands down as Minister for Civil Society.

7:18pm: Northern Ireland Minister Andrew Robathan quits.

7:17pm: Development Minister Alan Duncan quits “at his own request”.

5:36pm: Ken Clarke quits as Minister Without Portfolio.

5:29pm: David Jones sacked as Welsh Secretary.

Developing…

WATCH: Ken Clarke’s First Post-Reshuffle Interview

“I will confess that I spent more of last week at the Test match than I did in my office.”

Via ITV.

Butler-Sloss Stands Down

Last week the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman insisted:

“The focus was on finding a person with the right expertise and integrity. That’s exactly what we have in Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.” 

Theresa May vowed:

 “Baroness Butler-Sloss brings with her many years of experience in the field of child protection and law, and I am confident that she will deliver the thorough, robust and independent review that I have promised.”

Today Butler-Sloss has stood down:

“I was honoured to be invited by the Home Secretary to chair the wide-ranging inquiry about child sexual abuse and hoped I could make a useful contribution.

It has become apparent over the last few days, however, that there is a widespread perception, particularly among victim and survivor groups, that I am not the right person to chair the inquiry. It has also become clear to me that I did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact my brother had been Attorney General would cause difficulties.

This is a victim-orientated inquiry and those who wish to be heard must have confidence that the members of the panel will pay proper regard to their concerns and give appropriate advice to Government.

Nor should media attention be allowed to be diverted from the extremely important issues at stake, namely whether enough has been done to protect children from sexual abuse and hold to account those who commit these appalling crimes.

Having listened to the concerns of victim and survivor groups and the criticisms of MPs and the media, I have come to the conclusion that I should not chair this inquiry and have so informed the Home Secretary.

I should like to add that I have dedicated my life to public service, to the pursuit of justice and to protecting the rights of children and families and I wish the inquiry success in its important work.”

Where’s Brian Leveson when you need him?

UPDATE: 

Friday, July 11, 2014

All-Male Shortlist to Replace Tim Yeo in South Suffolk

Tonight sees South Suffolk Tories select a replacement for Tim Yeo from an unusual all male short list of 3 candidates. Local councillor James Cartlidge, former Deutsche Bank investment banker Jeremy Quin and Norfolk-raised barrister James Tumbridge are into the final 3 tonight after more than 100 people applied to be the Conservative candidate for South Suffolk at the next general election.

The Special General Meeting, for members only, is being held at ‘One’, Scrivener Drive, Ipswich, IP8 3SU tonight at 6.30 pm. Guido is betting that it will after the absentee Yeo experience go to either the local councillor James Cartlidge or the local boy – his family farm a small holding in the area – James Tumbridge.

Random Reshuffle Rumours Reach Railway Reportage

If this is true, someone on last night’s 16.43 Chichester to London Victoria service should really learn when to STFU:

This is why you don’t have phone conversations on trains…

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another Female Aide Complains to Whips Over Ruffley

Katie Pruszynski, who works in parliament as an aide to Chloe Smith, has complained to her whip about the Tories’ inaction over David Ruffley following his caution for assaulting a woman. Writing to Claire Perry, Katie warns that failing to sack Ruffley from the party “is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass”:

“I am very concerned about reports that David Ruffley MP has accepted a caution for the assault of his partner. I would like to know, as a female member of the Conservative Party and as a parliamentary member of staff, why the Party and the whips believe that it is appropriate for him to continue as an elected representative of the Party.

It seems to be an outrageous inconsistency that Nadine Dorries had the whip suspended for her appearance on a television show and Mr Ruffley, whose aggressive and menacing behaviour is allegedly not limited to this incident, is allowed to remain. While I understand that the police have concluded their involvement in the matter, I would like to state in the strongest possible terms that his continuing presence as a representative of the Party, and of Parliament, is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass.

I would like to know what message the whips think that this inaction sends to female staff and Party members, not to mention the wider female population that we are so keenly trying to convince that we, as a Party, are the best guardians of their interests?

You have campaigned passionately for the protection of children from sexualisation, and for the protection of women from domestic violence. I hope that you will be able to shine some light on the inexplicable stance on Mr Ruffley.”

Katie also calls on fellow staff members to come forward to the whips, telling friends:

“I don’t think that it is remotely acceptable that he be allowed to continue as an MP. If you feel you would like to send something similar (or know anyone who would), I am here for support in any way I can give it… I don’t believe this man represents the Party that we are trying to get re-elected to Government.”

Pressure is mounting on the Tories to deal with an issue that is clearly of growing concern to women within the party. The whips have known about it for years.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, it was not Ms. Prusynski who leaked this…

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

WATCH: Former Tory Whip Boasts About Paedo MP Cover Up

Pat on the back for the BBC researcher who dug this out of the archives. Back in 1995 the late Tim Fortescue, who was a Tory whip in the Heath years, explained how party whips could help cover up a potential paedophile scandal:

“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”

His little black book must have made for eye-watering reading…

Monday, July 7, 2014

WATCH: Theresa May Announces Inquiry: Statement in Full

The Home Secretary bows to the pressure…


Seen Elsewhere

Tories: Ruffley Critics are ‘Minority Feminist Groups’ | Buzzfeed
Harriet Harman Offers Less Than the Living Wage | Owen Bennett
Fallon’s Red Arrow Spin Unravels | Wings Over Scotland
What is the LibDems’ Problem With “The Jews” | Speccie
Image is the Least of Ed’s Worries | Speccie
The Most Politically Cynical Speech I Have Ever Seen | Dan Hodges
Full Sunday Sport Style Guide Email | MediaGuido
What if a Hamas Rocket Hit a BA Plane? | Richard Littlejohn
Sunday Sport Swearing Style Guide | Popbitch
Tory MP’s Love of Astrology | BBC
No.10 Shouldn’t Get Excited at Growth Figures | Mark Wallace


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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