When Dave’s away…
When Dave’s away…
Talking of headaches for Dave, last night’s ICM/Guardian poll has UKIP on 18%, their highest ever rating and double their ICM rating for a month ago. Labour, the Tories and the LibDems all lost four points each, with Labour falling below Ed’s fabled 35% target. UKIP are up nine points. What was that about a referendum?
As Guido reported in his Sun on Sunday column, the Labour triumvirate of Tom Watson, John Spellar and Michael Dugher are being remarkably tight-lipped about what was discussed over lunch with Lord Ashcroft last week, and who picked up the tab. A friend points out that “Tom Watson’s credit card hasn’t been seen in 25 years” and Spellar is a notoriously “careful with his money” Yorkshireman. Presumably that means Aschroft made his first donation to the Labour Party by footing the bill.
And it’s paying off: the flirting continues this morning, with Ashcroft gleefully retweeting Watson’s digs at Gove and Watson laying on the praise for Ashcroft’s polling. It seems Watson can be bought off with food…
The fact that Tory MP Stewart Jackson hasn’t even sold his house will make his battle with IPSA’s expensive legal team, Cherie Blair’s Matrix Chambers, all the more interesting. Especially since he isn’t even considering selling up. Guido is however more amused by Jackson’s claim that house prices were falling in his area, so the value of his property couldn’t possibly have increased by 20% as IPSA claim. Which is somewhat ironic given that Jackson’s wife is none other than Daily Express property hack Sarah O’Grady, known for headlines such as “House prices rocket to a three-year high”, “Biggest house price rises in a year”, “House prices surge for second month in a row” and “House prices on rise again”. And many, many more. Stewart obviously isn’t a reader…
As of 17:20, this is the wording of the very, very broad Tory Queen’s Speech referendum:
“This House respectfully regrets that an EU Referendum Bill was not included in the Gracious Speech.”
Guido hears the Speaker is minded to accept.
Well it could be 1992 all over again. Dave’s attack on Tory “pessimists” this morning is worth nothing, given what has happened since. On Lawson and Portillo’s Brexit conversions, he insisted earlier:
“I think they’re wrong. There are some pro-European pessimists who say, you have to, in Europe, simply sign up to every single thing that anyone in the EU suggests. You sign every treaty, you sign everything – there is no alternative. I think they are completely wrong. The second group of pessimists say there is no prospect of reforming the EU, you simply have to leave. I think they are wrong too.”
Since then another former Chancellor, Norman Lamont, has joined in the fight and a Queen’s Speech pro-referendum amendment has emerged. No surprises to see Boris pop up either. Surely just coincidence that the Mayor of London, speaking at the very same global investment summit as the PM, offers some ankle to the Tory Eurosceptics.
Boris Johnson says PM is right to want to renegotiate UK's deal with EU, and if we don't get what we want we must be willing to walk away.
— Stephanie Flanders (@MyStephanomics) May 9, 2013
Boris says leaving EU would not be fatal for UK but "a shot in the arm" for democracy, though he's still "narrowly" in favour of staying in.
— Tim Ross (@TimRossDT) May 9, 2013
Boris Johnson says if PM cannot get better deal on EU.."We have to be prepared to go our own way."
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) May 9, 2013
Helpful timing, as ever.
Her first day with the whip reinstated…
UKIP at their highest ever poll rating for YouGov, Tories at their lowest this parliament. 25% of Tory 2010 voters are now backing UKIP. It isn’t as simple as 27+17 beats 38, but food for thought nonetheless…
When Lynton Crosby was hired by Cameron, a grumpy Lord Ashcroft kindly warned the Aussie hardman:
“Finally, I know you understand as much as anyone that it’s never a good thing when the adviser is the story. That being the case, I’m sure you’ll get on with the job and stay out of the limelight. Meanwhile, I’ll be following progress closely and will no doubt have more to say as things unfold.”
Taking to Twitter Lord Ashcroft has been quick to get with the Twitter meme thing, going so far as to recommend a Downfall Parody video:
A different take on the local elections!! http://t.co/ZlPK0aIaOf
— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) May 8, 2013
It looks like the good Lord’s lunch yesterday with Labour’s attack dogs has paid off. Can it be a coincidence that the limelight is shining on Crosby just hours later? Labour Twitter lines to take are full of digs at the antipodean spinner, for example:
I bet Lynton Crosby is calling together the No 10 media team right now to work up an immigration angle to the Fergie Retires story…
— Michael Dugher (@MichaelDugherMP) May 8, 2013
Dugher, singing for his supper.
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
Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:
“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”