Guido understands that Newsnight are not far from finishing a special investigation into what one source describes as the “culture of aggression in politics”. The report will focus on the Tory bullying/blackmail scandal that has engulfed the party, also looking at the “wider problem” of the poisonous climate that led to a young activist taking his own life. Guido hears the programme has already interviewed around 40 young Tory activists, parliamentary staffers and even non-political Westminster workers such as cleaners, with several agreeing to speak only if their faces were silhouetted and voices disguised. The family of Elliott Johnson are also believed to be helping with editorial input. No chance of them doing a McAlpine with this one, hopefully…
These quotes from Rob Halfon to the Blue Guerilla website last year read slightly differently now. Halfon, who was a regular on the scandal-hit Road Trip campaign, backed his paramour Alexandra Paterson as she ran for the chairmanship of the Tory youth wing:
“I have seen from the hard work that she does with RoadTrip2015 that she is a dynamic and hardworking individual. She has the drive and ability to motivate the grassroots and ensure that CF resources are properly utilised around the country in the run up to the general election.”
Alexandra said at the time:
“CF should work hard – and play hard. That’s what I’ll bring to the table as CF Chairman”
At least she kept her election promise!
Tory deputy chairman and Cabinet minister Rob Halfon has admitted to having an affair as the blackmail plot engulfing the party deepens. Halfon says in a statement:
“What I did was wrong, and I feel ashamed. I am not proud of myself. The most important thing to me is to continue to repair my relationship with my partner.”
In unrelated news, Alexandra Paterson [pictured], the chairwoman of the party’s official youth wing, who Halfon backed for the position and who is a close friend of the now notorious Mark Clarke, today deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts…
Downing Street wheeled out Eric Pickles last night to stick the boot into the Vote Leave campaign, hyperbolically blasting the pro-Brexit student protesters as being part of a “nasty… strategy of intimidation“. Pickles is calling on the Electoral Commission to deny Vote Leave the official Leave campaign designation:
“I believe the actions of Vote Leave in disrupting the CBI conference and declaring a strategy of intimidation and protest disqualify Vote Leave from being a designated lead campaigner in the forthcoming EU referendum campaign.”
That would be the same Eric Pickles who was the subject of a complaint by the Cabinet Secretary to David Cameron after his SpAds were accused of behaving “unacceptably” by briefing against a senior public servant.
The same Tory party that openly called on its youth wing to deliberately “form our own publicity stunt” and disrupt Gordon Brown’s announcement of Labour’s election slogan back in 2010.
The same Tories who sent CCHQ staffers to Trafalgar Square to hold up ‘Vote for Change’ placards for the television cameras as Gordon made his way down Pall Mall to see the Queen.
The same Tories who followed Miliband around with Salmond and Sturgeon masks during the election, facing allegations that anti-Labour protesters shoved the then Labour leader.
The same Tories who snuck a Conservative activist into Question Time to lay into Miliband on prime time television.
If arranging for two teenagers to hold up a banner during a speech is “nasty”, what does that make the Tories’ own campaign tactics?
Things have not gone entirely to plan on Boris’ trip to the West Bank today.
First, a Jewish Chronicle journalist covering the trip alongside British journalists was told by the Palestinians that she could not attend because she is Israeli. Nice.
Then, the Palestinian Prime Minister’s office banned British journalists from attending his meeting with the London Mayor. Palestinian journalists will be allowed to ask questions.
What next? Boris blasted those who want to boycott Israel as “corduroy-jacketed lefties”:
Comments which led to threats from Palestinians on Twitter of a mass protest and “security concerns” meaning that all Boris’ meetings in the Palestinian territories had to be cancelled. According to LBC’s Tom Swarbrick, who is on the trip, the British press pack have been holed up in their hotel and are now heading back to Jerusalem. Just one problem…
The CBI wouldn’t let representatives from the Vote Leave campaign into their conference this morning, though two Eurosceptic protesters managed to sneak in and heckle the PM with a cry of “CBI, voice of Brussels”. Vote Leave have confirmed to Guido that they helped organise the protest…
UPDATE: Here is Cameron talking up the opportunities of Brexit:
“Some people seem to say that really Britain couldn’t survive, couldn’t do okay outside the European Union. I don’t think that is true. Let’s be frank, Britain is an amazing country. We’ve got the fifth biggest economy in the world. We’re a top ten manufacturer. We’ve got incredibly strong financial services. The world wants to come and do business here. Look at the record of inward investment. Look at the leaders beating the path to our door to come and see what’s happening with this great country’s economy. The argument isn’t whether Britain could survive outside the EU. Of course it could.”
Something to chew on for his CBI audience, who are some of the worst anti-Brexit scaremongers around…
Congratulations to the new Baroness Pidding of Amersham, who was sworn in to the House of Lords yesterday. Though it is slightly odd that this top Tory activist, who was credited with helping to run the Road Trip 2015 campaign during the election, received such a muted response from the Tory youth movement on her big day. “There are just three messages of congratulations on her Facebook page,” notes a knowing Tory source. Surely nothing to do with Baroness Pidding’s popularity plummeting since her implication in the Elliott Johnson bullying scandal…
Home Secretaries will be given powers to identify journalists’ sources without authorisation from a judge. Theresa May has confirmed she will be able to sign an “urgent warrant” to view journalists’ sources without consulting a judge, which will […]
Tory HQ has written to Conservative associations warning them not to step out of line on the EU referendum. Well aware that Eurosceptic local Tories are not going to swallow Cameron’s renegotiation package, they are banning them from using any […]