Another Top Kipper Defects to Tories

A second top Kipper has defected to the Tories in two days, just as UKIP conference gets underway in Bournemouth. Alexandra Phillips, who used to be an aide to Nigel Farage and was head of media at the party’s HQ, says it is “time to go home”. She tells Guido:

“After watching UKIP tragically turn in on itself for the past year I felt that I had personally and professionally outgrown the party. When Theresa May became Prime Minister and immediately embarked on promoting a policy reintroducing selective education to build social mobility, assenting to explorative fracking for future energy security and approaching Brexit with a pragmatism and determination I find admirable, I knew it was time to go home.”

UKIP having a bit of an existential crisis at the moment…

Return of Osborne

George Osborne still believes he is in play. Here are the top lines from his Today programme interview:

  • He’s not going anywhere: “I don’t want to write my memoir because I don’t know how the story ends.”
  • Theresa May was the best PM “of the candidates who put themselves forward”. Subtle.
  • May’s grammar schools plans don’t help the majority: “80% of the discussion is about where 20% off the children go”
  • The new PM’s “special share” provision for Hinkley “would not add anything”
  • He is going to be noisy: “the voice for the liberal mainstream of the country”
  • Will he be a distraction from May’s government? “Not necessarily.” So, yes.

Earlier this week Paul Goodman at ConHome foresaw a route back to power for Osborne: the Tories lose to a Sadiq Khan-led Labour in 2025, Osborne becomes party leader and wins the 2030 election, becoming PM at the age of 59. If May goes wrong, Boris 2020 is the more likely outcome. Osborne’s very long game is a very long shot, unfortunately it’s all he has left…

Gove Tipped as Next Sunday Times Editor


Since Michael Gove got his new gig as a columnist for the Times there has been some scuttlebutt going round that it might be an audition for the editorship. Writing in The Oldie, the Mail’s Stephen Glover suggests the Gover is being lined up for the top job at the Sunday:

“[Fleet Street] is awash with a story (which by the time you read this may have already broken its banks) that Gove is about to be made editor of Murdoch’s Sunday Times.”

He goes on:

“According to ‘friends of Gove’, whom I have consulted, no offer of any editorship has been made by Murdoch, from which it follows that none could have been accepted. Of course, it may be that these friends are not being wholly honest…”

Incumbent editor Martin Ivens, who’s been at the paper for two decades, might have something to say about that. Be your stubborn best…

Top Kipper Defects to Tories Live on Air

Former UKIP party director Steve Stanbury, who has been a major behind the scenes figure for the Kippers for years, has just defected to the Tories live on the Daily Politics. He says UKIP has achieved what it set out to do and the Tories are now best placed to deliver Brexit…

Tory MP Justin Tomlinson Suspended From Commons


Tory MP Justin Tomlinson has been suspended from the Commons for two days for leaking a Public Accounts Committee report to Wonga. Extraordinarily, Tomlinson thought it acceptable to share a draft report on regulating consumer credit with a Wonga employee. The Wonga employee replied with a series of recommendations, which Tomlinson then put to his committee. The Standards Commissioner ruled he “committed a serious breach of the Rules of Conduct” and the Privileges Committee today found:

“Mr Tomlinson committed a contempt in disclosing a draft committee Report to a third party and that his actions constituted substantial interference in the work of that committee… We recommend that Mr Tomlinson apologise to the House by means of a personal statement and that he be suspended from the service of the House for two sitting days. These days should be consecutive and not be divided by non-sitting days or recesses which would inadvertently extend the period of suspension beyond that specified.”

The Privileges Committee say Tomlinson made no financial gain from the exchange of information. He did however nominate his local football team for a big money sponsorship deal from… Wonga. He’s lucky just to get a slap on the wrist…

First Picture of May’s Cabinet


Click to enlarge

Witney By-Election Runners and Riders


Dave is off and a by-election has been called, as ever Guido gives you your (early) runners and riders:

  • Dan Hannan – Got his wish of being sacked as an MEP, surely it’s time for this hero of the revolution to come to Westminster?
  • Syed Kamall – The Tory MEP leader is another one looking for a job. Helped broker Dave’s unsuccessful EU renegotiation. Cameron told Kamall he was “finished” after he backed Brexit. Fitting replacement then.
  • Ruth Davidson – Touted as a future Tory leader, Ruth will have to come down from Scotland one day if she’s to succeed Theresa. Has however repeatedly said she’s happy north of the border. UPDATE: Spokesman says “That won’t be happening.”
  • George Osborne – His Tatton seat is disappearing under the Boundary Review. Could he do the chicken run down to Witney?
  • Toby Young – Still on the candidates list, has made positive noises about partial selection in schools. If he gets in now he could be in Boris’ Cabinet.
  • Esther McVey – Lost her seat in 2015 and is sniffing round any seat she can find. Never off the telly as she tries to mount a comeback.

A quick back of a fag packet list, stay tuned for more names as and when they come…

Complete Government PPS List


Prime Minister Theresa May MP – George Hollingbery MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer – Philip Hammond MP – John Glen MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury – David Gauke MP – Craig Williams MP

Home Office
Home Secretary – Amber Rudd MP – David Rutley MP
Minister of State – Brandon Lewis MP – Victoria Atkins MP
Minister of State – Ben Wallace MP – Tom Pursglove MP

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign Secretary – Boris Johnson MP – Andrew Stephenson MP
Minister of State – Sir Alan Duncan MP – Pauline Latham OBE MP
Minister of State – Baroness Anelay – Amanda Milling MP

Ministry of Defence
Secretary of State for Defence – Michael Fallon MP – Graham Evans MP
Minister of State – Mike Penning MP – Jo Churchill MP

Ministry of Justice
Justice Secretary – Elizabeth Truss MP – Robert Jenrick MP

Department for Education
Education Secretary – Justine Greening MP – Henry Smith MP
Minister of State – Nick Gibb MP – Seema Kennedy MP/Edward Argar MP

Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit Secretary – David Davis MP – Stewart Jackson MP
Minister of State – David Jones MP – Jeremy Quin MP

Department for International Trade
Secretary of State for International Trade – Liam Fox MP – Iain Stewart MP
Minister of State – Greg Hands MP – Helen Whately MP

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Secretary of State for Business – Greg Clark MP – Conor Burns MP
Minister of State – Jo Johnson MP – Wendy Morton MP

Department of Health
Secretary of State for Health – Jeremy Hunt MP – James Morris MP
Minister of State – Philip Dunne MP – James Berry MP

Department for Work and Pensions
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Damian Green MP – Mark Pawsey MP
Minister of State – Penny Mordaunt MP – Peter Heaton-Jones MP

Department for Transport
Secretary of State for Transport – Chris Grayling MP – Mike Freer MP
Minister of State – John Hayes CBE MP – Victoria Prentis MP

Department for Communities and Local Government
Communities Secretary –Sajid Javid MP – Rebecca Harris MP
Minister of State – Gavin Barwell MP – Rebecca Pow MP

Office of the Leader of the House of Commons
Leader of the House of Commons – David Lidington MP – Kevin Hollinrake MP

Office of the Leader of the House of Lords
Leader of the House of Lords – Baroness Evans of Bowes Park – Kwasi Kwarteng MP

Scotland Office
Secretary of State for Scotland – David Mundell MP – David Morris MP

Wales Office
Secretary of State for Wales – Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP – Glyn Davies MP

Northern Ireland Office
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – James Brokenshire MP – Oliver Colvile MP

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Secretary – Andrea Leadsom MP – Sheryll Murray MP
Minister of State – George Eustice MP – Simon Hoare MP

Department for International Development
International Development Secretary – Priti Patel MP – Kelly Tolhurst MP
Minister of State – Rory Stewart MP – Amanda Solloway MP

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Culture Secretary – Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP – Craig Whittaker MP
Minister of State – Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP – Mims Davies MP

Cabinet Office
Paymaster General – Ben Gummer MP – Lucy Frazer MP

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP – Stuart Andrew MP

Nicky Morgan Looked Round Posh Private School For Son


Sacked former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been Theresa May’s fiercest Tory critic on grammar schools. All eyes on her in the Commons this afternoon after she blasted the PM:

“I believe that an increase in pupil segregation on the basis of academic selection would be at best a distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards and narrow the attainment gap and at worse risk actively undermining six years of progressive education reform. 

[…] Read the rest


May Orders Ministers to Link Every Policy to Meritocracy

Theresa May’s grammar schools speech was as much about defining her premiership as anything else. If eagle-eyed photographer Steve Back hadn’t snapped those secret government papers outlining the return of grammars, today’s speech would not have been made until conference. Senior Tories watching noted one key line:

“It will mean recalibrating how we approach policy development to ensure that everything we do as government helps to give a fair chance to those who are just getting by”

This is tanks-on-Labour’s-lawn rhetoric, but the PM is deadly serious about revamping how policy is formulated across Whitehall.[…] Read the rest


Tory MP Will Quince Sings For Britain’s Got Talent

Colchester MP Will Quince singing Bring Him Home from Les Mis, the song that made the career of Alfie Boe. And here he is belting out Nessun Dorma at a charity gig three years ago:

We’ll find out next year if he made it through…[…] Read the rest


Gove Gets to Work


Times hacks are used to their editorial conferences being a very Tory affair – true blue attendees have included Tory peer Danny Finkelstein, former Tory MP Matthew Parris and former Tory Tim Montgomerie to name but a few. It was nonetheless noted in the newsroom that having a sitting MP present crossed the line rather than blurred it.[…] Read the rest


1922 Committee Nominations


Brady, Walker, Gillan, Clifton-Brown, Blackman and Nigel Evans have all been returned unopposed, but there’s plenty still to play for. 12 committee places up for grabs, 14 nominations received:

1.   Steve Baker

2.  Sir Simon Burns

3.   David Burrowes

4.   Rehman Chishti

5.   […] Read the rest


Tories Lead by 14 Points


The Tories’ lead over Labour is holding strong, as a gold standard survey from ICM for the Guardian reveals a 14 point gap between the parties. When these figures are plugged into Electoral Calculus’s seat calculator, they project a Conservative majority of 367 seats, next to Labour’s 195 – a drop of 35.[…] Read the rest


Theresa’s Copy and Paste Job


Theresa May tells us that “obviously over the summer – over the last few weeks – quite a lot of work has been done”. Which is good to know. So does the new government have any further detail on their plan for Brexit or their legislative agenda?[…] Read the rest


LBC’s Tom Swarbrick New Number 10 Broadcast Chief


Theresa May hires another journalist to join her Downing Street team – LBC chief correspondent and presenter Tom Swarbrick is to be the new Number 10 head of broadcast. Big move for one of the brightest young up-and-coming journalists around. Getting the new PM on telly would be a start judging by her disappearing act in the first 50 days…

Send any updates to[…] Read the rest


Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

Quote of the Day

Tory MP Stewart Jackson on Bob Geldof:

“Now loudmouth multimillionaire soapdodger Bob Geldof is supporting the LibDem campaign in Richmond Park. Haven’t the voters suffered enough?”

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