Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Miliband Bottles EU Referendum

Back in 2011 Guido recommended that Miliband call for an in/out EU referendum. It would have helped him make an impact with ordinary, sensible voters, distanced himself from Brown and Blair and wounded “cast iron” Cameron over his failure to keep his own referendum promise. Today’s announcement confirms that an in/out referendum would be “unlikely” under a Labour government. Miliband is ruling out a vote unless “significant” treaty changes are proposed. The Labour leader had the chance to lead on this issue, to outflank the Tories and offer voters something clear and definitive. Instead he has given them a deliberately vague fudge. Miliband says this morning that “you can’t trust the Tories on Europe”. He is the man who doesn’t trust the people on Europe… 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

“Oh God, It’s Happening to Me Now”

Today in court three alleged victims of sex offences at the hands of Nigel Evans gave evidence against the former Deputy Speaker. The first alleged victim told the court he felt a “very drunk” Evans put his hand down his trousers in a Soho bar. He said he thought at the time “oh god it’s happening to me now… if I don’t walk away I am going to hit him,” and that “it wasn’t a comedy squeeze. I knew what he was doing, he knew what he was doing.” Evans was, he said, “like a drunken 14 year old at a school disco who couldn’t chat you up with words”. Another witness present confirmed they also saw Evans put his hand down the man’s trousers. Under cross-examination, the alleged victim played down the incident, saying “he was just being drunk Nigel” and that he didn’t consider himself the victim of a crime.

The second alleged victim told the court a “very clearly very heavily intoxicated” Evans put his hands down his trousers at Tory party conference in 2003. He said he told Conor Burns, now a  Tory MP, that Evans was subsequently put to bed. He said he told then junior whip Mark Hoban what had happened and that he considered it something he could leave the whips to resolve. The alleged victim described Evans as “a drunken letch at a bar” and said that “although I thought his behaviour was unacceptable I didn’t want it to be pursued.”

The third alleged victim claimed Evans tried to kiss him at parliament’s Strangers bar. He said that when he left the bar to use the bathroom Evans called him into another room and leaned in to kiss him. He told him “No, we’re not doing that” and pushed him away. A friend later dismissed the incident, saying “that’s what Nigel can be like”. The trial continues…

Via @stepholiversky, @evansma, @rachelsmithlep and @joshhalliday.

MEPs Plot to Spike No.10′s Choice for EU Commissioner

Despite Downing Street getting to choose the candidate for EU Commissioner, the European Parliament has to approve their pick. Guido understands Number 10 is preparing for the possibility that the PM’s first choice will be spiked by MEPs as revenge for the British vetoing the 2011 treaty. So Dave faces a dilemma. Does he put forward his first choice as normal and risk seeing them vetoed, or does he hold back who he actually wants at the risk of a decoy first nomination scraping through? Andrew Mitchell will be watching closely.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Today in Court

Daily List for Monday 10 March 2014 at 

THE LAW COURTS, RINGWAY, PRESTON

Court One

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE KING

For trial (no witnesses)

EVANS, Nigel

04ZD0330513

No witnesses until 11/3

Evans is charged with nine sex offences against seven men. He denies all the charges.

UPDATE:

Dave’s Barrister Brother Backed Legal Aid Cuts Strike

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, Dave’s barrister brother was sympathetic to Friday’s strike over Government cuts to the legal aid budget that will leave some junior lawyers paid less than the minimum wage. Alexander Cameron’s case was not sitting on the strike day so he did not picket. But a source at his London chambers tells Guido: “He would not have gone to court even if his case had been sitting.”

Leaked Tory Candidates List Confirms Dave’s Women Problem
Less Than 1 in 3 Names on the List are Female

Guido has obtained the top-secret Conservative Party parliamentary candidates list – and it doesn’t look like the Tories’ “women problem” will be going away. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, less than a third of the names on the list are women, just 31%. This despite Cameron’s promise to get more women on board and him privately blaming Tory associations for not selecting female candidates, though actually it is CCHQ who have approved twice as many men as women for selection. Even then the overwhelming majority of safe seats which have already chosen candidates have been won by men. Labour’s Michael Dugher is scornful, he tells Guido: “Female Tories will still be in a minority and David Cameron has broken all his promises to do anything about it.” Stay tuned for more revelations from the leaked Tory candidates list…

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Business Turns on Tories

James Brokenshire’s first big speech as immigration minister went well then. First he landed the PM in it by accusing the “wealthy metropolitan elite” of encouraging mass immigration by employing cheap foreign nannies. Just like Dave did.

Now business leaders have piled in, Institute of Directors boss Simon Walker says of Brokenshire’s speech:

“It is feeble and pathetic to hear yet more divisive language from politicians on immigration.”

So Brokenshire has managed to alienate his boss and get business to turn on the Tories in one move. Slow clap.

Why Has Owen Paterson Really Been Off Work?

Every morning CCHQ sends its MPs and staff a media monitoring summary of the day’s main news events. There were more than a few raised eyebrows when this morning’s briefing landed in Tory inboxes:

Must have missed that one…

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rock Subject of Two Female Staff Complaints
Labour Question Rock Chum Llewellyn’s Role

Guido understands that Patrick Rock was the subject of two complaints from female staff, Downing Street claims there was only one complaint and it was dealt with properly. The first complaint was from a junior female Downing Street staffer and the second from a senior civil servant who is no longer in No. 10. The dismissal of the complaints is said to have led to disquiet amongst female staff who were uncomfortable with Rock.

Downing Street last night denied there was a second complaint, which might be technically true as the senior female civil servant is thought to have complained informally rather than via the formal civil service grievance procedures. Guido understands that the complaints were about inappropriate pestering rather than anything of a groping nature.

Labour are suspicious and have two questions about the matter, firstly “Did Number 10 deliberately wait to announce [Rock arrest] to let the Harriet Harman story run?” and pointedly given his closeness to Rock “Is Ed Llewellyn the right person to look at this?”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Private CCHQ Briefing Warns MPs How to Stay Out of Trouble

Tory MPs and their staff attended a meeting this afternoon where they were warned about dodgy donations while making their latest declarations. Click through the slides* below to see who they are scared will expose their financial misdeeds:

You have been warned…

*We kept the other 43.


Seen Elsewhere

From the IRA to Windsor Castle | WSJ
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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