Following this morning’s unpaid Tory “volunteer” row, more stories are coming out of the woodwork. A Tory activist gets in touch to report:
“I recently volunteered at CCHQ and travelled from outside of London to volunteer at a cost of around £20 a day doing around 6 hours work. I was told I could only claim for the cost of a zones 1-2 travel, which was £4.60.”
Guido put the new allegation to the Tories this afternoon but at the time of going to pixel they have so far refused to comment, instead demanding to know the identity of our source. Guido can however reveal that they were not doing phone canvassing as previous spin suggested. Does only stumping up for the tube fare for Zones 1-2 really constitute “reasonable travel expenses”? Come and campaign for the Tory party, so long as you’re rich enough to live in central London…
The Tories landed a cool £8,345,687 in donations last quarter, but a row has broken over whether the miserly skinflints at CCHQ are failing to pay their reams of election “volunteers”. The well respected Graduate Fog campaign site highlight how Tory HQ are advertising for young turks to “assist with different aspects of the party’s work”, an unfortunate choice of words since “work” falls under Minimum Wage Law.
Tory sources insist these are genuine volunteers mainly doing telephone canvassing – and there is of course a distinction between that an real work – but why then do they need “excellent written communication skills” and “knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite”? “Successful candidates” are only offered “lunch and reasonable travel expenses”.
Westminster North Tories meanwhile are looking for “campaign assistants” to help with “administration, data entry, analysis and day to day running of a busy office”. How much will they be paid for what certainly sounds like real work? “Travel expenses within London” is all that is on offer. Clearly the party is clued up on the internal memo from last year explaining how to word job adverts to get away with not paying interns.
As Graduate Fog put it:
“Are interns at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters really free to saunter in and out as they wish? Having spoken to interns on previous political campaigns, that seems unlikely. They all say they worked like dogs.”
Seems there is no long term economic plan for these hardworking people…
The diplomatic equivalent of standing at the side of a pub car park shouting “just leave it maaate, it’s not worth it…”
Asked by the Loose Women whether she would humbly put her name forward if her country was to call upon her, Esther McVey said yes:
JSP: “Do you want to be Prime Minister?”
EM: “To be honest, it is not as simple as that.”
JSP: “Yes or no?”
EM: “If I had to do a yes or no, I’d be honest, I’d say yes.”
To rapturous applause…
A warning for anyone thinking of going for lunch with Chris Bryant:
“[Telegraph political correspondent] Matthew Holehouse told me at lunch at Quirinale that he had been accidentally included in a series of email exchanges between senior figures at Conservative Central Office who were speculating about which Labour sitting MPs were paedophiles and how they should deploy this ‘information’. Matthew seemed to think that this showed that CCHQ was run by a bunch of children and he said it was worse than Damian McBride. He reckoned the paper would be running the story later that week, unless the powers that be intervened. I asked him which senior figures were involved. He said ‘very senior’, but refused to elaborate. He also refused to tell me which Labour MPs were speculated about. He didn’t believe that any of the emails’ allegations were anything other than nasty vindictiveness and an attempt to smear Labour MPs.”
A Tory spokesman is pretty clear:
“This is completely false and without foundation.”
Let’s see the emails…
This pinged into the inboxes of some lucky Tories in the south of England this afternoon. The line in bold has sparked local outrage:
Party Members are invited to meet
The Prime Minister
Tuesday 17 February 2015
commencing at 2.30pm
Due to security requirements, attendees must
PRE-REGISTER FOR THE EVENT
Members who wish to attend should register their request by email to
by 5.00pm on Monday 16 February 2015.
Accepted applicants will be advised of the event location by email on Monday evening.
A donation of £10 per head, payable upon entrance, would be much appreciated to cover the costs of the event.
Please bring a form of photo identification to the event.
Making money from room-meat. Guido is awaiting comment to find out whether this is new standard procedure. They’ve dropped the prices from last week though, down from £5,000-a-plate to a tenner on the door…
UPDATE: A co-conspirator gets in touch to say it was the same in Northfield. Birmingham last Friday. Ten pound a head…