May Hires New Press SpAd


Theresa May has hired Patrick McLoughlin’s spinner Tim Smith as her final Downing Street press SpAd. Another alumnus of the CCHQ press office, Smith has been a SpAd at Transport for the last year, taking a short sabbatical to fight the good fight during Zac’s battle against Sadiq. Smith going to Number 10 means the Tory chairman’s chief of staff job is up for grabs…

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Project Fear Spinner to Be Brexit SpAd


Osborne’s former aide and Project Fear spinmeister James Chapman is to be David Davis’ SpAd at the new Brexit department. Chappers hasn’t been replying to Guido’s texts but the former Daily Mail political editor’s eyebrow-raising move from arch-Remain cheerleader to Brexit adviser is now confirmed. The rumoured £72,000 salary cap for aides has caused colleagues to speculate he’ll be on around half what he was earning at the Mail, a bit of a comedown. It will certainly surprise many Leavers that a prominent Remainer will be taking such a key role – his staunch pro-Remain views are still up on his Twitter accountHas he seen the light?

See the SpAd List in full here.

Brutal Tory Attack Ad Says Labour Soft on ISIS

Owen Smith’s disastrous day yesterday has inspired the Tories to produce this attack advert repeating their line that Labour is a threat to national security. Whoever wins…

Tory Report Clears Feldman and Shapps

feldman shapps clarke

Clifford Chance’s investigation has dropped in the middle of August while most people in Westminster are on holiday. It completely exonerates most of the key players in the Tory bullying scandal. Here are the top lines:

  • 13 victims of bullying identified, six potential sexual assault victims, five of which weren’t covered by the inquiry. The other withdrew their complaint.
  • No evidence Lord Feldman and Grant Shapps were aware of allegations of bullying or harassment of young activists by Mark Clarke. They did however both know Clarke had been involved in inappropriate behaviour around the Conservative Future elections, including adding ineligible voters to databases.
  • Grant Shapps’ then chief of staff, Paul Abbott, had received complaints containing allegations of bullying by Clarke. He confronted Clarke over four out of five of the allegations and forwarded one of them to Clarke.
  • No evidence to support allegations that CCHQ or Baroness Pidding had leaked names of the preliminary investigation’s interviewees
  • No evidence that Lynton Crosby was aware of allegations of bullying or harassment of young activists by Clarke

Expect cries of a whitewash…

Report in full below:

First Picture of Bearded Gove


Sarah Vine gives her verdict:

“I know a certain ex-minister who is very much enjoying his new hipster look. Meanwhile, the female of the species is doing precisely the opposite: obsessively extracting every last vestige of bodily fuzz.

I can’t be the only woman who wishes these tonsorial trends were reversed — and that for once we could be the ones to, er, let our hair down on holiday.”

More stubbly than beardy, though the potential is there…

Photo via Londoner’s Diary

Tory Press Chief to Be Home Secretary’s SpAd


Some more SpAd movements: Guido hears Tory Director of Communications Amy Fisher is returning to government as a Special Adviser to Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Fisher was Chris Grayling’s SpAd before heading up the press operation at CCHQ after the election. She had to put out more than her share of fires in a busy 12 months and was a formidable opponent, so is a smart hire for the Home Office. See Guido’s SpAd List in full below:

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May Hires Top IoD Wonk


Theresa May has hired Institute of Directors wonk Jimmy McLoughlin to lead Downing Street’s business relations. McLoughlin, who worked on May’s leadership campaign, will replace Cameron’s arch-Remain SpAd Dan Korski. It’s a smart hire – May’s ‘reforming capitalism’ shtick means she’ll need help bolstering relations and McLoughlin is one of the most likeable people in SW1. Here’s the SpAd list as it stands:

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May Imposes Authority on Whitehall


Much has been made of Theresa May’s formidable joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill rigorously vetting new SpAd appointments. This isn’t really that out of the ordinary, Ed Llewellyn would do likewise during the Cameron era. What has changed under the new regime is the level of control exerted over everyday life on Whitehall. Over the couple of weeks Downing Street has imposed its authority on government departments, insisting that everything from minor campaign launches to bog standard press releases go through Number 10 first. Departments were used to a far higher degree of autonomy, now everything has to be signed off. To some it has felt like a slightly suffocating centralisation of power. Sensible for the first few weeks perhaps, but ministers are hoping the PM loosens her grip once she is settled in…

PM Off on Two Week Holiday to Switzerland


Theresa May is off on holiday today – she will be enjoying two weeks outside of the EU in sunny Switzerland. The PM famously enjoys bracing walking holidays there with her husband Philip. In 2007, when she was Shadow Leader of the Commons, May offered this travel advice:

“We have two favourite areas in particular: Zermatt and the Bernese Oberland.



Dave’s New Landlord Blasted Brussels and Talked Up Brexit


David Cameron’s new landlord reckons Britain will be “richer” and “more plentiful” outside the EU. Dave and the family have moved into a three-storey end-of-terrace house in Chelsea, which would usually rent for £11,000-a-month. Its owner Dominic Johnson is an old friend and is letting the Camerons stay there for free.[…]


Cameron Rewards Remain Failures

The honours list is out – confirmation that Stronger In boss Will Straw will have his failure rewarded with a CBE. Arise Sir Craig Oliver, No.10 comms chief who went to spin for BSE. There will also be a CBE for Dan Korski, the Downing Street aide best known for orchestrating pro-Remain support during the campaign.[…]


Bank of England Rubbish Osborne’s Brexit Fibs

osborne balls

George Osborne’s claims that voting to Leave would cause interest rates to rise and a year-long recession have been demolished by the Bank of England. Osborne’s Treasury forecast of the two years following a Leave vote predicted GDP at between -3% and -6%.[…]


Dave’s £225 Swimming Trunks From Designer Notting Hill Shop


The Sun has snapped some unflattering pictures of Dave on holiday in Porto Vecchio – their headline across a double page spread reads “Blue Whale Spotted Off Corsica”. Even more eye-catching is the fact that the former PM is wearing a pair of £225 swimming trunks.[…]


SpAd List Taking Shape


Theresa May’s Downing Street team is slowly taking shape – her former SpAd and Vote Leave alumnus Stephen Parkinson is to be given a role. All of David Cameron’s SpAds were told to clear their desks and just two have been brought back into the fold, Rachel Wolf and super-SpAd Sheridan Westlake.[…]


New Transport PPS “Strongly Opposed” to HS2


HS2 may have hit another rail bump. The new Transport PPS, Victoria Prentis, is “strongly opposed” to building the high-speed rail link. Prentis, whose picturesque rural constituency of Banbury would see HS2 run through its eastern edge, says on her website:

“While I recognise the importance of investment in our transport network, I am strongly opposed to the building of HS2.



Theresa May Smiling as Tory Polls Improving

poll icm july

When run through Election Polling’s UK swingometer, ICM’s figures today show that Labour is facing down the barrel of May’s gun next election. If these numbers become a uniform swing, the Tories are likely to take 41 seats from Labour and two from the LibDems, with a further surprise win in SNP held Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.[…]


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Trump jokes about media bias…

“The media is even more biased against me than ever before. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. It’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My Wife Melania gives the exact same speech! And people get on her case! And I don’t get it! I don’t know Why!”

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