Remainers Tear Into “Shockingly Bad” People’s Vote Howler

Not content with just losing a referendum, the Losers’ People’s Vote campaign has decided to lose its credibility as well after their woeful attempt to calculate how much an extra year of transition would cost the UK was absolutely panned by Remainers. Incredibly, they managed to come up with a figure of £182.5 billion as the cost to the UK by 2025 of extending the transition period by a single year. Brexiteers have been complaining that it would be an expensive waste of time but these numbers make George Osborne’s predictions look plausible…

Remainers tore into the vast array of basic errors in their methodology, describing the forecasts as “shockingly bad”, “self-discrediting nonsense”, “diabolical”, “extremely disappointing”, and a “huge gift” to Brexiteers. Thanks!

EU Unity Latest: Tusk & Selmayr’s Public Spat

Something was incensing Juncker’s “monster” Martin Selmayr and Donald Tusk, who couldn’t stop themselves from have a fierce public row on the way into their press conference earlier. Brexit causing blood pressures to rise in Brussels too…

UPDATE: Selmayr responds:

“The President of the European Council @eucopresident had a factual question to the @EU_Commission before his press conference, and I helped out. Very simple.”

If that’s how Tusk asks a simple “factual question” Guido would hate to see him when he’s cross…

There Will Not Be a Hard Border

Full stop.

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

Some big hitters set for a grilling from the Guildford audience tonight…

Juncker & Varadkar Guaranteed to the Irish Parliament No Hard Border in the Event of No Deal

The Brexit negotiations are teetering on the brink over the question of the backstop for the Irish border. Some fundamental truths are being forgotten in the froth of the negotiations:

  • If there is no deal, there is no backstop. If the EU collapses the negotiations by insisting on unreasonable backstop conditions, there will be no backstop whatsoever. Would the EU rather have a deal on everything else with no backstop, or no deal at all AND no backstop?
  • The President of the EU Commission and the Prime Minister of Ireland have both already guaranteed no hard border even with no deal. As can be seen in the above video clip, Juncker and Leo Varadkar have all given unambiguous guarantees that they won’t put a hard border under any circumstances – including no deal. So why risk wrecking the negotiations over it?

The fact that Ireland has guaranteed no hard border in the case of no deal means that they clearly have no intention of constructing a hard border in the absence of the EU’s backstop – this is abundantly clear from the Taoiseach’s stated position as forcefully made to the Dáil Éireann

“… we are not drawing up any plans for a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland full stop. Because there isn’t going to be one and I have made very clear to my counterpart in the UK and also to the other EU Prime Ministers that under no circumstances will there be a border full stop.”

If the backstop is genuinely about concern for Ireland, not about trying to force the UK into a certain position, why is Ireland’s own commitment not sufficient? That is the question journalists should be asking.

The current trajectory of the negotiations is unsustainable unless the EU changes its stance on the backstop. Tory MPs have been discussing whether the EEA as a staging post on the way to a Canada-style deal could be a viable alternative – this is unlikely to solve the problem as the EU will simply throw up the same obstacles when the UK tries to leave that. May’s proposed transition extension does nothing to help either. It is simply a very expensive and unpopular way of drawing out the same problems for longer.

Ministers have increasingly been considering the possibility of a mitigated no-deal instead: hand over some cash in exchange for basic legal agreements on aviation, passports, haulage etc. and then negotiate sensible future arrangements outside the cauldron of the Article 50 process. Given the current state of the negotiations, this is starting to look more and more appealing…

UPDATE: Guido’s news editor, Hugh Bennett, reiterates the Irish PM’s “no hard border, even in the event of no deal” guarantee:

Dozen Tories Took £85,0000 of Junkets to Riyadh in Last Year

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has just announced he is pulling out of the upcoming “Davos in the Desert” conference in Saudi Arabia next week after revelations that the country was behind the torture and killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This morning Guido revealed Tory Vice Chairman Rehman Chishti had received £46,000 from the Saudis, further research by Guido reveals that since 2017, 11 other Conservative MPs have declared all-expenses-paid trips to Saudi Arabia, funded by the Saudi government. These junckets are worth more than £85,000. Liam Fox will not be taking his planned trip to Saudi Arabia next week, but look at all the Tories who did…

  • Richard Bacon
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Alex Burghart
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Leo Docherty
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Mark Garnier
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • James Heappey
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • Simon Hoare
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Philip Hollobone
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Mark Menzies
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Stephen Metcalfe
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • Andrew Mitchell
    • Meetings with the Government of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. Paid for by the Saudi Government. 13-15 January 2018. Value: £6,629.67
  • Keith Simpson
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802

Following their visits Mark Menzies warned Ministers to not be “put off by siren voices that want us to disengage” with Saudi export markets, and Leo Docherty called for further trade engagement with Saudi Arabia “the right thing to do not only commercially, but strategically and morally.” 

U.S. intelligence is now reportedly “convinced” the Saudi state is responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s worth keeping an eye on which MPs have been very quiet on this issue…

UPDATE: Bravo to Mark Menzies who has written a letter to the Foreign Secretary supporting a “thorough investigation”.

Big Losses To Clip RSPB’S Wings

A little bird tells me that the humans at the RSPB are about to admit “a significant” problem. At their AGM on Saturday they will reveal an enormous deficit of over £10m. Membership is down, grants have stopped and jobs will go.

So why have donors lost confidence in the RSPB? Why did the CEO announce last month that he is going? Why is the charity mimicking the RSPCA’s death spiral with its ferocious legal attacks on those who dare to disagree?

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Labour Furore Over Chuka’s £150,000, £451-an-hour Jobs

The fight for social justice is arduous, those who are called to wage the war on poverty have to make sacrifices. So respect to Chuka Umunna for taking up the fight. At an hourly rate of £451…

He is topping up his MP’s salary of £77,379 with another £65,040 a year for chairing a new social justice think-tank for 12 hours a month. Which combined with his media fees will take him well over £150,000-a-year. That is more than the PM is paid, the hourly rate of Chuka’s fight for social justice is more than 60 times the national minimum wage. The twitterati’s social justice warriors have flipped out with the likes of Owen Jones and Matt Zarb-Cousin gleefully highlighting his avarice. That he would accept such a position, knowing the furore it would invoke whilst still serving as an MP, surely signals that he is giving up on future advancement within the Labour Party…

Everyone is Leaving the New Centrist Party

United For Change, the beleaguered mysterious centrist party created by former investment banker and LoveFilm founder Simon Franks has run into yet more problems, according to one former employee, all 12 original members of full-time staff the organisation employed in July deciding to leave.  Guido understands that staff felt that Franks was offering ‘no direction and no vision’ whilst ‘being obtuse.’ Over the summer 8 members of staff resigned, and as of this week the final original 4 have, according to the same source, left the party.

Now Franks’ outfit is scrambling to find more employees, with three new job listings appearing on W4MP yesterday:

Going well…

Tory Vice Chairman Paid £46,000 from House of Saud

As the world learned this week of the horrific torture and murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi – he was according to some reports alive when his torturer began cutting him up with an electric bone saw – the register of MPs’ interests was published. The new register of interests reveals that Tory MP Rehman Chishti received £46,000 from Saudi Arabia between March 2016 and January this year for advisory work with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Chisti only stopped taking the lucrative £2,000-a-month payments from the Saudis when he became Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Communities in January. The party position comes with a £10,000 honorarium.

Guido looks forward to getting the benefit of hearing Chisti’s inside view of the Saudi regime’s behaviour when he speaks in the inevitable debates on the matter in the Commons…

UPDATE: Dozen Tories Took £85,0000 of Junkets to Riyadh in Last Year

Bercow Has No Intention of Resigning Next year

Watch the reaction when Sky reporter Aubrey Allegretti asked John Bercow to clear up if he’s definitely resigning as Speaker next summer. He didn’t answer and instead his aide aggressively shoved the reporter away. This is revealing on a number of levels.

Firstly, the video reveals that he condones this kind of unnecessarily aggressive behaviour from his staff. Secondly it confirms that Bercow is unwilling to give an on the record confirmation of when he intends to step down. It has been widely reported that “John Bercow has told friends he intends to stand down as Commons Speaker next summer”. The use of “friends” by political journalists often means the subject himself is giving an unattributable comment or he has authorised someone the comment on his behalf. By avoiding giving an on the record commitment to go he will be able to say next year that he gave no such commitment, despite it being widely reported this week.

Bercow’s ruse is intended to merely take the heat out of the moment following publication of the Cox report and leading parliamentarians calling for him to go. Not the usual awkward squad, people like Maria Miller. By letting it be known without personally committing that he intends to go soon, he discourages MPs from making a move against him. A push against the Speaker requires substantial effort and involves the risk of retribution or a loss of preferment. The Speaker enjoys almost monarchical powers in parliament, he is the prince of the Palace of Westminster. Wounding him without removing him means he will be able to exact revenge and that is very much within his bullying nature. Unless there is a concerted and organised cross-party effort Bercow will stay in office for as many years as he can. He has no intention of stepping down whatever his “friends” tell the press.

PMQs: Special Delivery

“Ding dong!” That was odd, thought Theresa. Who could it be at this time? She didn’t remember ordering anything. Bemused, she pottered over to the door and cautiously opened it up. A wispy old man dressed strangely like a delivery boy was shuffling from foot to foot on the doorstep. “What is it?” she asked. “Err, I’ve got a pizza for Theresa,” he mumbled, nervously reading from a piece of paper. “To share with Esther and Penny?” How very strange, Theresa puzzled. She had invited Esther and Penny over to play checkers, but both of them had turned her down, muttering something about “being dead”. They had been doing rather a lot of socialising this week, she supposed…

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McDonnell: “I Long For a United Ireland”

McDonnell just told a lobby lunch this afternoon that “I long for a united Ireland, but I recognise democracy.” But refused to rule out a pact between Labour and the DUP. Good luck on that one…

Boon Scooting Off


Emma Boon, who has been SpAd-ing for Chris Grayling, is leaving the Department of Transport to go work for the electric scooter company Bird (fastest ever startup to become a ‘unicorn with a $2 billion valuation’ apparently). After over 3 years as a SpAd, the veteran of DEFRA and former campaign director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance is scooting off to Amsterdam. Her husband moved there in April for work so she’s been racking up the air miles. Spirited, last time Emma featured on here she rang up to complain that it wasn’t taggedTotty Watch“.

Guido also brings you a few updates of some other SpAd moves that we missed at the time. Sophie Dean is Esther McVey’s media SpAd, while Philip Hammond also has Steffan Ball and Tim Pitt working for him – Pitt was previously shared between Hammond and Liz Truss. Charlie Ogilvie, a man with a reputation for inter-departmental debriefing, is working for Claire Perry. Get in touch with any updates…

EU Survey Manipulates Franchise to Boost Remain

An EU-funded survey found an extraordinary 18-point lead for Remaining in the European union (53%-35%), way out of line with the polling average which shows the country remains more or less equally divided down the middle. What could have caused such an unusual result?

Upon deeper inspection, number boffin Matt Singh found that the Kantar poll had included respondents as young as fifteen years old, as well as others who are not entitled to vote such as non-UK citizens. On top of that it was not weighted to the 2016 vote, nor did it include any turnout modelling. They might as well have asked a “People’s Vote” coffee morning…

After Iran’s ill-fated flirtation with votes at 15 from 2009 to 2011, not one single country in the world has had a franchise that extends that low. Why is the EU suddenly seem desperate to follow Iran’s dubious example…

Parliament’s Gender Toilet Gap

Parliamentary researchers have been reeling over a recent change in access rights to the changing room facilities and showers in parliamentary office block Portcullis House. One previously open to all has now become the exclusive domain of female MPs, despite their smaller numbers. Staffer’s WhatsApp chats have been fuming, pointing out the highly unequal distribution of resources …

Guido is told that one unknowing staffer got a shouty earful from an irate Theresa Villiers for approaching the newly restricted changing room. True to type, snooty MPs have taken facilities away from the many and given them to… themselves.

Bercow Unmoved by Commons Harassment

Watch this to the moment when Labour’s Teresa Pearce told the House that her constituent who was a victim of abuse by her employer. Her employer being “this House”. You could hear a pin drop in the chamber. Bercow couldn’t bring himself to look at Pearce. He just stares resolutely down at his order paper…

Corbyn’s PMQs Pizza Gag

A reasonably well-executed gag about pizza from Corbyn after grilling the PM on whether Chequers is dead or not…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Conservative) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 17 October.
Q2 Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Labour)
Q3 Alex Norris (Nottingham North) (Labour)
Q4 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Labour)
Q5 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Conservative)
Q6 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (Lib Dem)
Q7 Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
Q8 Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) (Conservative)
Q9 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Conservative)
Q10 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Labour)
Q11 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Conservative)
Q12 Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (Lib Dem)
Q13 Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Conservative)
Q14 Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Conservative)
Q15 Alan Mak (Havant) (Conservative)

Comments in the comments…

Piers Morgan Pied on Live TV

Guido suspects a lot of viewers will be very jealous of Harry Hill…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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John McDonnell tells the Gallery/Lobby lunch what the priest told him to do…

‘He persuaded me to do this. He said you need to soften your image. So do Mumsnet and do this…. I’m trying to soften my image.’

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