Another U-Turn: Poppers Unbanned

Victory for Crispin Blunt as Home Office minister Karen Bradley confirms that the government no longer considers poppers a psychoactive drug:

“I understand that the Council has now advanced its understanding of the psychoactivity of the alkyl nitrites group under the Act and concluded that only substances that directly stimulate or depress the central nervous system are psychoactive under the Act. Having given due consideration, the Government agrees with your advice and interpretation of the definition. We do so in the understanding that “poppers” have these unique indirect effects. Our understanding is that this approach does not have any further implications for the operation of the Act and that other substances that the Act intends to cover are not affected.”

That sound you can hear coming from the parliamentary estate: “Wooooooooooooooo!”

Just 8% Say Osborne Up to Job of PM

Osborne’s worst poll ratings since the Omnishambles Budget of 2012 from YouGov in today’s Times. Even Tory voters say he’s not up to the job of PM…

Crabb Sticks It to Osborne

Stinging line from the new Work and Pensions Secretary as he announces the government has “no plans” to make no further welfare cuts:

“A compassionate and fair welfare system should not just be about numbers. Behind every statistic there is a human being. Perhaps sometimes in government we forget that.”

Victory for IDS, painful defeat for Osborne…

Chloe Smith’s Revenge on Osborne

Former Treasury minister Chloe Smith, hung out to dry by Osborne in that infamous Newsnight interview and then dumped by the Chancellor, gets her revenge. On Osborne and the Budget she says:

“I don’t think [PIP] was the right measure to include in the budget, that is what I will be saying in my speech tomorrow. Ultimately the Chancellor is responsible for the budget. The Treasury is responsible for trying to collect together all the savings on expenditure. I think it is sensible we are debating the balance of the savings and expenditure. I don’t think this is a good proposal and I will be speaking out against it.”

On IDS:

“I think he is an honourable man who has therefore had to make a decision about what was in his area of responsibility. As elected politicians in a democracy we all have to be confident that we have to justify what we are proposing to do with taxpayer’s money.”

She calls on the government to target protected universal benefits instead:

“I will be saying in the Commons instead we should be looking at universal benefits, in particular that we give well-off pensioners – a bus pass, a free TV licence and help with winter fuel – when they don’t need it. I think that is where we should look instead of this proposal on PIP.”

If Cameron was running for a third term Osborne would be out of a job by now…

Osborne’s £4 Billion Budget Black Hole

So the Budget vote goes ahead tomorrow with a £4 billion spending black hole – the money to pay for the PIP u-turn will not be found until the autumn.

The government will also u-turn on the tampon tax and solar panels, not opposing Labour’s amendments.

The PMOS says Cameron “absolutely” retains full confidence in the Chancellor…

IDS on Marr: Full Interview

The most explosive 20 minutes of political television this year so far:

“They are losing sight of the direction of travel they should be in. It is in danger of drifting in a direction that divides society rather than unites it, and that I think is unfair.”

“That is deeply unfair, and that unfairness is damaging to the government, it’s damaging to the party and it’s damaging to the public.”

“It looks like we see benefits as a pot of money to cut because they don’t vote for us.”

“There needs to be a greater, collegiate sense on how decisions are made. This is not the way to do government.”

“This is not some secondary attempt to attack the prime minister or about Europe. It is nothing to do with that at all – if I wanted to do that I would have been clear. I have never, ever hidden my views about something and I’m not doing it now. I am genuinely, genuinely concerned.”

These quotes will hang around Osborne’s neck as long as he retains ambitions to be PM…

Vid via @liarpoliticians

Civil War at DWP

Pensions minister Ros Altmann stabs IDS in the front:

“I am extremely shocked by the news of Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation and the way he has behaved… I simply cannot understand why he chose to quit like this when it was clear that Number 10 and the Treasury had told him they were going to pause and rethink these measures. I’m particularly saddened that this seems to really be about the European referendum campaign rather than about DWP policy… I have found him exceptionally difficult to work for. It has been a hugely challenging time for me as he was preventing me from speaking to the public”

DWP minister Shailesh Vara knifes Ros Altmann:

“I have to say I am surprised by Ros’s comments. The fact is that I recall Ros attending all the meetings at which we discussed government policy and then we both went out to defend the policy in the Commons and the Lords, which as you know wasn’t always easy to do. Ros’s recollection does not accord with mine and I’m sorry that this all happened.”

As does Priti Patel:

“All meetings with our Ministerial team have been constructive and every Minister has had the freedom to take forward policy ideas in their brief, to lead media campaigns and engage freely with parliamentary colleagues. Iain has been a remarkable SofS [Secretary of State] to work with. He has run the largest delivery Dept in Govt with great determination and it has been a real privilege to work with him as one of his Ministers.”

Justin Tomlinson joins in to defend IDS:

“Iain always conducted himself in a professional, dedicated and determined manner. He actively encouraged ministers and teams to engage, challenge and develop ideas. We were to be ourselves, our judgement backed as we worked as a team both for DWP and the Gov.”

A circular firing squad at Caxton House…

Cameron’s Letter to IDS

No Chuka, the First Nigerian London Assembly Member is a Tory

Florence Eshalomi is the Labour London Assembly candidate who has been targeted by Momentum, though at least Chuka has got her back.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Osborne’s Ratings Crash to 2013 Levels

The declining trend of the Chancellor’s fortunes is illustrated again by YouGov today – Osborne’s personal ratings as worse than any time since 2013. Just 23% think he’s doing a good job, while twice as many think he’s doing badly. In 2015 Osborne managed to reverse public perceptions and secure a positive rating.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Osborne Asked: “What’s a Bloke Got to Do in Your job to Get the Sack?”

[gigya src=”https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/cdn/embed_player.swf” style=”background-color:transparent; display:block; max-width: 700px;” flashvars=”image_option=small&imgURL=&link_color=%2358d1eb&mp3Author=AlexWickham2&mp3Duration=319971.0&mp3LinkURL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboom.com%2Fboos%2F4314118-george-osborne-on-today&mp3Time=08.27am+17+Mar+2016&mp3Title=George+Osborne+on+Today&mp3URL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboom.com%2Fboos%2F4314118-george-osborne-on-today.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&player_theme=light&rootID=boo_player_1&show_title=true&waveimgURL=https%3A%2F%2Fd15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net%2Fi%2Fw%2F4823380″ width=”100%” height=”150″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]

A very tetchy few minutes for George Osborne as John Humphrys asks him again and again why he has missed his debt targets, and then the killer: “What’s a bloke got to do in your job to get the sack?” Osborne’s get-out for missing his surplus target by 2020?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tory Tampon Rebellion

Osborne faces defeat on his Budget motion next Tuesday unless he can deal with the Eurosceptic rebellion on the tampon tax – not repealed by the chancellor today thanks to Brussels. Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan says:

The people we elect should be responsible for setting the taxes in this country – not unelected EU judges and bureaucrats.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Penny Mordaunt Given Pearl Necklace

A freshwater pearl necklace from the Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, no less. The brutal regime also bestowed upon Penny a pricey Omega watch, revealed in the latest declarations of ministerial gifts out today. Gay-flogging Qatar meanwhile bunged Philip Dunne “Concord gents & ladies watches in gift box”.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tory MEP’s Ides of March

tory-meps-backstabbing

Today is the Ides of March and Europhile Tory MEPs are preparing for the referendum aftermath. Syed Kamall backed Brexit despite intense pressure from Downing Street to join the Remainers. Now Kamall’s enemies among the 20 strong group of Tories – most of whom are Remainers – are circling.[…]

+ READ MORE +

ICM Poll Has Tories and Labour Level

guido poll

The latest ‘gold standard’ ICM poll has the Tories and Labour level on 36% each. For the first time since Corbyn’s election the two parties are neck and neck. Corbyn surge![…]

+ READ MORE +

Tory MEP Leader Backs Brexit

Capture

After some delay, Syed Kamall has gone with his conscience. Bravo!

“After much thought, my personal decision is to vote to leave the EU; not because I think David Cameron did a bad job, but because I believe that on balance we could forge a better future outside…

A crucial deciding factor for me is immigration.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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