More from Lord Ashcroft on Labour making inroads into Tory-held marginals this morning. Of the twelve constituencies with Tory MPs polled, nine are Labour gains. Worth noting the rise of UKIP in each of the seats above. Ashcroft’s analysis shows the Tories can afford to lose no more than 21 seats to Labour if they are to remain the largest party. They are currently behind in 38…
Norman Baker has at last brought Theresa May some good news after a fairly dire week. Regular readers will not be surprised about the Loon of Lewis has quit – Guido reported the preparations for the departure back in mid-October. Now ConHome have even more good news for the Home Secretary:
“The second loss of a child abuse enquiry Chairman. A backbench backlash over the European Arrest Warrant – which isn’t all that popular in Downing Street or the Whips’ Office either. Revelations of enough illegal immigrants undeported “to fill Wembley Stadium almost five times over“. Politicians described as having had their “worst week ever” have seldom actually had it. But it is hard to think of a worse one than last week for Theresa May – notwithstanding Norman Baker’s welcome resignation. Yet here she is – back on top of our monthly poll future Party leader poll.”
May has the backing of 24% of the Tory grassroots, to Boris’ 22%.
Gove is in third on 11%, ahead of George on 10%, with his protege Saj on 9%.
But of course, ‘there isn’t a vacancy’…
Earlier this week a well versed government source whispered to Guido that Ed Llewellyn is holding out to secure the Ambassadorship to Berlin. Well, the latest No. 10 SpAd hospitality declarations suggest Herr Llewellyn has been busy making plans for the job. In only one of two publicly declared engagements, Dave’s Chief of Staff attended the Königswinter Conference, an annual meeting that has taken place since the Second World War “with the aim of improving the troubled relationship between Germany and Great Britain”. It sees “around 80 German and British politicians, diplomats, business managers, academics and journalists for a profound exchange of ideas”, promising to “create bonds and friendships”, and presumably future careers. For you, Eddie, ze coalition is almost over…
Back in September Michael Fallon hired defence lobbyist Bill Clare to spin for him as his special adviser. The right-winger worked for Michael Howard before joining Liam Fox’s abortive bid for the Tory leadership, ending up on the side of the angels at arms manufacturers General Dynamics, eventually going on to spin for the London First group. A job that he appears to have kept for longer than he strictly should…
An email has emerged that shows Clare’s old lobbying organisation claiming to have kept the newbie SpAd on their roster while he worked at the Ministry of Defence:
From: Gavin Hayes
Sent: 02 October 2014 15:25
Subject: Bill Clare
This it to let you all know that as of Monday 22 September Bill has started an exciting new role working as an adviser to Michael Fallen MP the Defence Secretary at the MOD.
Bill will continue to provide advice and support for the Let Britain Fly campaign over the next couple of weeks by phone and email but will no longer be coming into the office.
I would like to personally thank Bill for all his fantastic work on the Let Britain Fly campaign over the last year and for all the support he has given us.
We wish Bill all the very best of luck and success in his new job.
Campaign Director, Aviation
At a time when the MoD were bombing ISIS, why was Clare apparently combining SpAd-ing with being a business lobbyist? Curiously, London First also “work with government and police organisations in helping their respective cyber units”.
Cyber Units like the one recently set up by the Ministry of Defence.
Guido does wonder if this unusual arrangement was cleared with the MoD permanent secretary and the Cabinet Office, and whether the conflict of interest was declared?
UPDATE: Statement from Bill Clare:
My last working day for Let Britain Fly was Monday 22nd September – as they have now confirmed – at which point I closed down my company in accordance with my agreement with the Cabinet Office. I began work with the MOD on Thursday 25th September. The email you’ve been “leaked” is not accurate – so your story isn’t either – a point I understand Let Britain Fly has been in touch to make and to confirm the dates above.
Guido has received no such communication from Let Britain Fly…
Craig Oliver is facing a misconduct hearing as smears return to the heart of Downing Street. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Labour have reported him to the Cabinet Office for breaking the Special Advisers Code of Conduct after he accused Peter Oborne of being “tired and emotional” on Newsnight. The rules prohibit any adviser from the “preparation or dissemination of inappropriate material or personal attacks.” Labour MP Sheila Gilmore has written to Jeremy Heywood calling for an investigation:
“It is disgraceful that such a senior adviser to David Cameron has behaved in this way. This shows Craig Oliver to be as nasty as the rest of the Tory party. Jeremy Heywood should treat this incident with the utmost seriousness. The taxpayer should not be paying the wages of someone so unprofessional.”
When the spokesperson needs a spokesperson…
As this video of Michael Gove wandering through James Delingpole’s garden went viral yesterday, Guido wondered if James, who joined UKIP but then failed to pass the party’s selection process, might be heading home to the Tories. He certainly seems to be enjoying Owen Paterson’s return to the limelight, and his tweets on UKIP have been very critical of late:
He tells Guido:
“It’s a great rumour. I think where UKIP and Conservatives are concerned I’m going to remain bisexual. Basically, I f**king hate politics.”
Having it both ways…
Sobering polling for the Tories from Lord Ashcroft today, who has a snapshot of voting intentions in ten Tory-held marginals with Labour currently in second place (plus Corby, which went Labour mid-term). Nine of the eleven are Labour gains. Ashcroft concludes “swings to Labour appear to be related to the UKIP presence”, finding:
“UKIP could hamper Labour in Tory-held target seats by diverting voters who might otherwise switch straight from blue to red – though the evidence so far is that this effect is not yet strong enough in these seats to counteract the erosion of the Tory vote.”
28% of UKIP voters polled say they’d prefer a Labour government, 35% want a Tory win…
Interesting that Labour’s Anne Begg admitted on Sky News that she had not been told the context of Lord Freud’s comments by party spinners, heavily caveating her criticism accordingly. The Adam Smith Institute have come out in support of Freud, […]