Monday, July 14, 2014

WATCH: Ken Clarke’s First Post-Reshuffle Interview

“I will confess that I spent more of last week at the Test match than I did in my office.”

Via ITV.

Butler-Sloss Stands Down

Last week the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman insisted:

“The focus was on finding a person with the right expertise and integrity. That’s exactly what we have in Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.” 

Theresa May vowed:

 “Baroness Butler-Sloss brings with her many years of experience in the field of child protection and law, and I am confident that she will deliver the thorough, robust and independent review that I have promised.”

Today Butler-Sloss has stood down:

“I was honoured to be invited by the Home Secretary to chair the wide-ranging inquiry about child sexual abuse and hoped I could make a useful contribution.

It has become apparent over the last few days, however, that there is a widespread perception, particularly among victim and survivor groups, that I am not the right person to chair the inquiry. It has also become clear to me that I did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact my brother had been Attorney General would cause difficulties.

This is a victim-orientated inquiry and those who wish to be heard must have confidence that the members of the panel will pay proper regard to their concerns and give appropriate advice to Government.

Nor should media attention be allowed to be diverted from the extremely important issues at stake, namely whether enough has been done to protect children from sexual abuse and hold to account those who commit these appalling crimes.

Having listened to the concerns of victim and survivor groups and the criticisms of MPs and the media, I have come to the conclusion that I should not chair this inquiry and have so informed the Home Secretary.

I should like to add that I have dedicated my life to public service, to the pursuit of justice and to protecting the rights of children and families and I wish the inquiry success in its important work.”

Where’s Brian Leveson when you need him?

UPDATE: 

Friday, July 11, 2014

All-Male Shortlist to Replace Tim Yeo in South Suffolk

Tonight sees South Suffolk Tories select a replacement for Tim Yeo from an unusual all male short list of 3 candidates. Local councillor James Cartlidge, former Deutsche Bank investment banker Jeremy Quin and Norfolk-raised barrister James Tumbridge are into the final 3 tonight after more than 100 people applied to be the Conservative candidate for South Suffolk at the next general election.

The Special General Meeting, for members only, is being held at ‘One’, Scrivener Drive, Ipswich, IP8 3SU tonight at 6.30 pm. Guido is betting that it will after the absentee Yeo experience go to either the local councillor James Cartlidge or the local boy – his family farm a small holding in the area – James Tumbridge.

Random Reshuffle Rumours Reach Railway Reportage

If this is true, someone on last night’s 16.43 Chichester to London Victoria service should really learn when to STFU:

This is why you don’t have phone conversations on trains…

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another Female Aide Complains to Whips Over Ruffley

Katie Pruszynski, who works in parliament as an aide to Chloe Smith, has complained to her whip about the Tories’ inaction over David Ruffley following his caution for assaulting a woman. Writing to Claire Perry, Katie warns that failing to sack Ruffley from the party “is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass”:

“I am very concerned about reports that David Ruffley MP has accepted a caution for the assault of his partner. I would like to know, as a female member of the Conservative Party and as a parliamentary member of staff, why the Party and the whips believe that it is appropriate for him to continue as an elected representative of the Party.

It seems to be an outrageous inconsistency that Nadine Dorries had the whip suspended for her appearance on a television show and Mr Ruffley, whose aggressive and menacing behaviour is allegedly not limited to this incident, is allowed to remain. While I understand that the police have concluded their involvement in the matter, I would like to state in the strongest possible terms that his continuing presence as a representative of the Party, and of Parliament, is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass.

I would like to know what message the whips think that this inaction sends to female staff and Party members, not to mention the wider female population that we are so keenly trying to convince that we, as a Party, are the best guardians of their interests?

You have campaigned passionately for the protection of children from sexualisation, and for the protection of women from domestic violence. I hope that you will be able to shine some light on the inexplicable stance on Mr Ruffley.”

Katie also calls on fellow staff members to come forward to the whips, telling friends:

“I don’t think that it is remotely acceptable that he be allowed to continue as an MP. If you feel you would like to send something similar (or know anyone who would), I am here for support in any way I can give it… I don’t believe this man represents the Party that we are trying to get re-elected to Government.”

Pressure is mounting on the Tories to deal with an issue that is clearly of growing concern to women within the party. The whips have known about it for years.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, it was not Ms. Prusynski who leaked this…

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

WATCH: Former Tory Whip Boasts About Paedo MP Cover Up

Pat on the back for the BBC researcher who dug this out of the archives. Back in 1995 the late Tim Fortescue, who was a Tory whip in the Heath years, explained how party whips could help cover up a potential paedophile scandal:

“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”

His little black book must have made for eye-watering reading…

Monday, July 7, 2014

WATCH: Theresa May Announces Inquiry: Statement in Full

The Home Secretary bows to the pressure…

Leon Brittan Denies Rape Allegation: Full Statement

“It is true that I have been questioned by the police about a serious allegation against me. This allegation is wholly without foundation. 

In addition I would like to put on record that I welcome the fact that there is now to be an independent review to look at the missing files belonging to the Home Office.

It has been alleged that when I was Home Secretary I failed to deal adequately with the bundle of papers containing allegations of serious sexual impropriety that I received from the late Geoff Dickens MP. This too is completely without foundation – as evidence from the Home Office’s own report supports. As I made clear in the statement that I issued on 2 July, I passed this bundle of papers to the relevant Home Office officials for examination, as was the normal and correct practice. I wrote to Mr Dickens on 20 March 1984 informing him of the conclusions of the Director of Public Prosecutions about these matters.

In this same report, Mr Dickens thanked the Home Office for the way in which the information he provided was handled and said in a speech to the House of Commons on 31 March 1987: ‘I should like to place on record my thanks to the Home Office for following up the cases that I keep sending to it. I should also like to thank the Attorney General. They have been very helpful and a strength to me in my campaigns.'”

Friday, July 4, 2014

Breaking: Thanet South Tories Select Former UKIP Leader

craig-mackinlay-thanet-south

Craig Mackinlay has been selected as the Tory candidate for the Thanet South constituency at the 2015 General Election – a seat being eyed as likely to be fought by Nigel Farage. Mackinlay was briefly UKIP’s leader in 1997 before serving as deputy leader of the party between 1997 and 2000. He joined the Conservative Party in 2005. Canny choice…

Ruffley: “I’m Cheerful” After Caution for Assaulting Woman

Guido bumped into a tired looking David Ruffley at the Spectator summer party last night. Given the circumstances (he has accepted a caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend) it seemed polite to ask him how he was, “I’m cheerful,” was his surprising reply. Tension started to rise as the Tory MP then accused Guido of “inaccuracies” in our reporting, when pressed on what those inaccuracies were specifically he offered no specifics. He then went off in huff with the Sunday Times political editor. Ruffley later left Westminster’s Blue Boar bar with a leggy blonde around midnight…

Guido is reliably informed that Ruffley has gone into hack-schmoozing overdrive in the last two weeks, organising lunches with Lobby journalists, offering punchy and colourful off-the-record source quotes and briefing against fellow Tories. Indeed at last night’s bash he took journalists from several papers aside for one-on-one chats. Making himself useful to the papers is his cynically calculated way of making sure his own name stays out of them…


Seen Elsewhere

Thacker Played Down Scandal | Times
How Clegg Lost the Women of Britain | Sophy Ridge
Multiculturalism: At What Price? | Allison Pearson
Labour Failed Those Victims | Labour Uncut
We Cannot Ignore the Race Issue Here | Dan Hodges
74 MPs Who Back Stop Mills Motion | Speccie
Milibande | Ian Birrell
The True Meaning of Political Correctness Gone Mad | Speccie
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel! | Bloomberg
Bercow Blinks | Guardian
Speaker on the Ropes | Indy


VOTER-RECALL
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Former Rotheram MP Denis MacShane concedes…

“I think there was a culture of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat if I may put it like that… Perhaps yes, as a true Guardian reader, and liberal leftie, I suppose I didn’t want to raise that too hard.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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