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…

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Osborne Camp Responds

Not for the last time, Boris has overshadowed the Osborne camp. Poor Sajid Javid was giving a speech on the economy at the very moment Boris stole the headlines. When asked by Guido, Saj declined to be drawn on whether he would back Boris for leader in a post-Dave age, though did say he had already sent the Mayor a text:

“All that Boris has said is that he’s going to stand for election and that’s great news.”

Almost as if the Chancellor’s close ally has a dog in the fight…

BORIS 2015: I Will Stand

At last Boris confirms what we knew all along:

“I haven’t got any seat lined up but I might as well be absolutely clear, in all probability I will try to find somehwere to stand in 2015. It is highly likely that I will be unsuccessful in that venture, you should never underestminate the possibility of these things going badly wrong, but I will try that. One thing is absolutely clear, I will serve out my mandate here in London.”

Happy holidays, Prime Minister…

UPDATE:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

So Long, Farewell, Sayeeda Says Goodbye

Sayeeda Warsi’s Tory colleagues are really, really sad that she has quit. A Tory source tells Guido:

“Warsi’s resignation is classic Warsi. Attacks her own team, pure grandstanding, and shows that she is a quitter. Her resignation does nothing to help the innocent civilians on both sides who are suffering. She had a much better chance of helping support the ceasefire if she had stayed inside Government. But instead she has thrown in the towel.”

Reaction elsewhere has been broadly positive:

With friends like these…

Warsi Resigns to Spend More Time With Her Diaries

Quite late in Baroness Warsi’s career to discover principle:

How will FCO cope without its ‘Senior Minister of State’?

Cynical and calculating to the end, it is hard to see this resignation as anything other than a naked attempt to salvage her reputation. Warsi was due to go during the reshuffle, but the PM reportedly had second thoughts. Now she will be free to snipe, as they feared…

UPDATE: Warsi’s letter to the PM:

warsi

UPDATE II: No.10 have finally responded:

“The Prime Minister regrets that Baroness Warsi has decided to stand down and is grateful for the excellent work that she has done both as a Minister and in Opposition. Our policy always been consistently clear – the situation in Gaza is intolerable and we’ve urged both sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tory MP Graham Stuart Raving Video Emerges

Well one Tory MP  is having a mental recess. Gurning Graham Stuart spent his Saturday night at the Humber Street Sesh with monged out fellow revellers dancing to Endoflevelbaddie. For those of you not aquainted with the four piece dance collective: “With the best name in the history of music, Endoflevelbaddie hail from, well, another galaxy probably”:

“Endoflevelbaddie combine massive production, slick visuals, sharp lyrics and a live show second to none. With producer ‘Endoflevelbaddie’, VJ ‘EyeSaw’ drummer ‘Beat ‘em Up’ and MC ‘Player 1’, they cut a striking image in anonymous masks.”

Also cutting a ‘striking image’ was silver-haired shape thrower, Graham, who can be seen below having it large:

Guido approves.


Seen Elsewhere

What We Learned From the Referendum | FT
Scottish Crisis Moves South | Nick Wood
English Democrats Accidentally Celebrate Yes Victory | Pink News
Union In Its Current Form is Dead | Janan Ganesh
Labour Could Be Split in Two | Sun
Ashcroft Poll: Why Scotland Voted No | Buzzfeed
Boris: Change Barnett Formula | Sun
Cameron is Back | Dan Hodges
What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts
Labour are the Biggest Losers | Phil Collins


VOTER-RECALL
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Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:

“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”



It was only a tiny tiny collision.


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