Sexist Smearing of Oakeshott Costs Guardian Five-Figure Sum

Remember that outrageously sexist piece that defamed Isabel Oakeshott in The Guardian? Guido covered it in some detail here. Isabel hired the “rottweiler of the right” hardball lawyer Donal Blaney to secure the removal of the comments and an apology by 4pm today. Wisely The Guardian caved in before the deadline.

This has now appeared under the article:

“This satirical sketch originally included a comment – fictitious, of course – which could have been interpreted as being of a sexual and vulgar nature about Isabel Oakeshott. Although this was not our intention, we acknowledge the potential for distress and misinterpretation and we apologise to her for any distress this has caused.”

A further clarification/correction will appear in the print edition tomorrow and will go up elsewhere on the appropriate page on The Guardian website. It will be tweeted out by The Guardian about now too. In simple terms, however, it is game, set and match. The Guardian has agreed to pay a five-figure damages and costs settlement and to apologise for the sordid things it wrote about Isabel. Let’s not forget how John Crace at first tried to spin the trashy, sexist smearing of Oakeshott as somehow an allusion to the “tooth fairy”. Brexit has driven people mad…

Darren Grimes Wins Appeal Against Electoral Commission

The County Court has ruled in favour of Darren Grimes’ appeal, exonerating him of the Electoral Commission’s kangaroo court imposed fine. The Commission’s argument for their egregious fine hinged on Darren’s accidental registering as an individual campaigner rather than a group. The Court has found that this is clearly disproportionate for ticking the wrong box…

Darren won on both alleged offences. The notice has been quashed.

While the Government spent almost half a million pounds fighting him, Guido readers’ generous donations supercharged Darren’s appeal helping to raise over £90,000 to take the fight back to the Remain establishment. The average donation was just £30…

Responding to the news, Darren said that “today’s verdict is a victory against the Remain Establishment which has done all it can to try and discredit the biggest electoral victory in this country’s history.” 

Darren tells Guido:

I am delighted and relieved that the Court has found me innocent.

This case has taken a huge toll on myself and my family, and I’m thankful it’s now over. I will be eternally grateful to all those people who have supported me – your generosity and kind words of encouragement have kept me going.

The Electoral Commission’s case was based on an incorrectly ticked box on an application form – something that it had been aware of for over two years and had not been raised in two previous investigations. Yet the Commission still saw fit to issue an excessive fine and to spend almost half a million in taxpayer cash pursuing me through the courts. This raises serious questions about its conduct both during and after the referendum.

Today’s verdict is a victory against the Remain Establishment which has done all it can to try and discredit the biggest electoral victory in this country’s history. The powerful vested interests in this country don’t like the idea of the people taking back control. This victory is for every one of the 17.4 million who dared to defy the doomsayers and who want the referendum to be respected.

There has been a well- funded, coordinated campaign against me and those that have stood up to the Remain Establishment. Well today they have lost. I just hope that their attempts to overturn our democratic structures don’t put more people off from getting involved in politics. It is vital that people from my generation get involved in democracy and help shape the future of our country. I hope the Electoral Commission’s actions do not put young people off from engaging in politics.

One in the eye for the Remain Establishment!

‘Britain’s Brexit Crisis’ Panorama Highlights

Guido brings you the must see moments from last night’s BBC Panorama. The programme revealed the UK negotiating team never really wanted to leave, and that Theresa May never threatened to walk away from the talks. Watch it in full here

Sadiq’s Labour Government Slammed Rent Controls in 2010

Sadiq Khan’s rent control policy launch hasn’t exactly been an unmitigated success, it’s already been branded “economically illiterate” by most economists while the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has dismissed it as a “pre-election populist measure that places blame on landlords but ignores the problems of the London housing market” which will only “reduce the supply of rented housing further over time and raise housing costs in the long run”. Meanwhile Shaun Bailey is actually launching house-building policies instead of just trying to bash landlords…

Sadiq could have saved himself a lot of time and hassle if he’d just read this Treasury report from February 2010, which explains:

“A key factor behind the decline in the private rented sector was the introduction of rent controls during the First World War. Artificially low rents reduced investment in the sector, contributing to a tenure shift to owner-occupation and lower maintenance standards in the stock that remained. The low quality of stock that had resulted from rent controls also deterred many potential tenants.”

“Rent controls had a particularly negative effect impact on both supply and quality of UK rental accommodation over the period to 1988.”

“The impact of pre-1988 rent controls was that little new private rental sector stock entered the market, with long-run rates of return being depressed. What stock remained tended to be older than in other tenures, and of lower quality, as the use value of higher quality stock was considerably higher in the owner-occupied sector, resulting in tenure switch. Those who remained often lacked funds (or incentives) for the adequate repair and improvement of properties. Many consider rent control to have been a major factor to the subsequent delay of much of the inner city housing stock.”

Who was a Minister in the Labour Government which produced the report? Sadiq Khan!

Friday Caption Contest (Naughty May Edition)

Telegraph Cock Up Gives Brexit Party Free Full Page Ad

A photo cock up by The Telegraph has meant that the Brexit Party have been given a free full page ad in today’s issue, worth up to £70,000. Yesterday’s issue carried a version of the ad that appeared to put Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice behind bars. Today he’s been uncaged…

Brexit party sources tell Guido they’re sure this couldn’t have been an accident, saying “that’s not how graphics work”. Still, they’ll be chuffed with an extra day of a free ad…

Merkel: Backstop Can Be ‘Overwritten’

Merkel has given a strong hint that the EU could be prepared to move on the backstop, telling a German press conference that the backstop will be “overwritten” if alternative solutions can be found. This doesn’t actually change the EU’s position yet – as things stand the UK would still be signing up to the backstop in the legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement while the alternative arrangements would be in the non-binding political declaration. It’s still a significant softening of the EU’s rhetoric around the backstop after stonewalling the issue throughout the Tory leadership contest…

It’s good timing, the Alternative Arrangements Commission run by ProsperityUK, led by Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan, published their 268-page Alternative Arrangements Report and Protocols just yesterday. No solution for the Irish border is going to be perfect from day one but it does blow apart the fiction promulgated by May and the EU that the backstop is the only way to solve the border issue. The backstop remains by far the single biggest impediment to a sensible deal, no excuse for either sides’ negotiators not to be looking at alternative arrangements now…

Saj: I Applaud Nigel Farage

Interesting intervention from Sajid Javid this morning who went out of his way to defend the Brexit Party against spurious charges of extremism and even “applaud Nigel Farage” for leaving UKIP and denouncing it as “thugs and extremists” after it was hijacked by Batten and Tommy Robinson. Olive branch from Team Boris with a general election looking ever more likely…?

Laura Murray’s Off-the-Shoulder Pro-Brexit Protest

Looks like not all of Team Corbyn were too happy with his decision last week to formally announce that Labour would campaign for Remain. Former close aide Laura Murray, now Labour’s controversial Head of Complaints, just happened to change her public Facebook profile picture to feature a Norwegian ‘Nei Til EU’ [No to EU] bag. The same day Corbyn announced the switch…

Who’d have guessed that Corbyn’s inner circle were still diehard eurosceptics…

The End of This Week

It was cringe-making at times, it was devastating at times, it was much loved by political obsessives and it was a ratings success. That was This Week that was. Andrew Neil long complained about the late night scheduling, which gave it a slightly alcohol glazed tinge for many viewers. All part of the charm…

Sadiq Launching Policy He Can’t Even Implement Tomorrow

Sadiq Khan’s flagship rent control policy is finally set to be rolled out tomorrow after multiple delays – evidently they decided last Thursday wasn’t the ideal time for it after all. Rumour has it that it’ll be Len “f***ing disgrace” McCluskey’s Unite Union who will have the dubious honour of hosting the launch of Sadiq’s dire policy. The policy which has either pushed rents sharply up or rental accommodation quality and supply sharply down pretty much everywhere it’s been introduced…

Except as Sadiq well knows, he doesn’t even have the powers to implement rent control policies himself, so his launch tomorrow is actually just an exercise in posturing and begging the Government to give him new powers to do so, which obviously no sane Government is going to do. Although given how frantically May’s been pushing through left-wing policies as part of her ‘legacy’ maybe it’s not so futile after all…

Labour MEPs von der Lyin’?

Last night Labour in the European Parliament released a statement boasting about their role in confirming Ursula von der Leyen as the most powerful appointee in the EU. The new Commission President was approved by just nine votes, meaning that Labour’s ten MEPs could have stopped her. Her voting record in the German Parliament reveals she both voted against acknowledging climate emergency and against lifting the advertising ban on abortion services. Didn’t stop Labour giving the UK a hostile euro-federalist who’s made clear she wants the EU to have greater tax-raising powers, more protectionism and its own army…

Now Labour MEPs are sneakily trying to insinuate that they didn’t actually vote for her after all – the line they’ve gone for is “it was a secret ballot!” before mysteriously going quiet when challenged on which way they actually voted in said secret ballot. Either their press office is lying or there’s some serious dissembling going on from the MEPs. Learning the art of ‘constructive ambiguity’ from Comrade Corbyn himself…

Jeremy Hunt Apologises for Accidentally Missing Key Vote

It turns out PM hopeful Jeremy Hunt wasn’t paired after all for the Government’s heavy defeat, he’s now apologised for missing the votes as “I thought I was slipped and it turns out I was not”:

He’s a details guy…

Gina Miller Twists the Truth Unchallenged on Sky

On Sky News this afternoon, Gina Miller and Adam Boulton slipped up, erroneously claiming that the Conservative Party Manifesto did not say that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

AB: None of those manifestos said leaving without a deal, which is what this issue is about

TH: The Conservatiove Party Manifesto said that No Deal was better than a Bad Deal, clearly.

GM: The manifesto didn’t say that

AB: The manifesto didn’t

But it literally did in black and white on page 36…

Miller then went on to claim that she is not running anti-Brexit campaigns, asserting she’s not an anti-Brexit activist. It must have just been purely coincidental that she found herself…

  • Founding anti-Brexit campaign Best for Britain
  • Campaiging with anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians
  • Working with Euro-federalist campaign group European Movement to advocate the People’s Vote march.
  • Marching for a ‘People’s Vote‘ alongside anti-Brexit MPs Caroline Lucas, Stephen Doughty, Vince Cable, and Peter Kyle.
  • Speaking at Lib Dem Party Conference 2018
  • Speaking at a People’s Vote rally
  • Founding anti-Brexit campaign ‘End the Chaos‘, which argues for a second referendum.
  • Founding anti Brexit campaign Lead not Leave
  • Threatening Boris Johnson with legal action if he tries to stick to his manifesto commitment that No Deal is better than a bad deal.

Not that Sky’s Boulton challenged her on any of that…

The 17 Tories Who Rebelled on the Grieve Amendment

The division lists are out after the Government’s crushing defeat by 41 votes on Grieve’s latest Brexit-blocking amendment. 17 Tory MPs voted directly against the Bill, including DCMS Minister Margo James who resigned to do so:

  • Guto Bebb
  • Steve Brine
  • Alistair Burt
  • Jonathan Djanogly
  • Justine Greening
  • Dominic Grieve
  • Sam Gyimah
  • Richard Harrington
  • Margot James (resigned)
  • Phillip Lee
  • Jeremy Lefroy
  • Oliver Letwin
  • Paul Masterton
  • Sarah Newton
  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Keith Simpson
  • Ed Vaizey

A further 24 Tory MPs also appear to have broken the three-line whip by abstaining without a clear reason, including Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart. Karen Bradley – the minister responsible for the Bill – also abstained but she was paired. Philip Hammond reportedly came to Parliament just so he could abstain “in person”…

Guido is aware of 6 other Tory MPs who were absent for clear reasons, although it’s worth remembering that there may be more, whether through pairing/illness etc. Government MPs in bold:

  • Richard Benyon
  • Peter Bottomley
  • Graham Brady
  • Greg Clark
  • Ken Clarke
  • Alan Duncan
  • Vicky Ford
  • David Gauke
  • Cheryl Gillan
  • Damian Green
  • Philip Hammond
  • Stephen Hammond
  • Simon Hoare
  • Jeremy Hunt (by mistake)
  • Gillian Keegan
  • Huw Merriman
  • Anne Milton
  • Bob Neill
  • Matthew Offord
  • Nicholas Soames
  • Caroline Spelman
  • Rory Stewart
  • Julian Sturdy
  • Tom Tugendhat

Word is already doing the rounds that May’s whipping may not have been as robust it should have been to avoid giving her successor a poisoned chalice…

UPDATE: From Caroline Johnson “Your reporting of “rebels” is inaccurate. I did not rebel by abstaining. I was paired. As was Pauline Latham. Victoria Prentis was not “rebelling” either her mother died last night”. We have amended the headline and corrected the list accordingly. Apologies and condolences.

MPs Pass Grieve Anti-No Deal Amendment 315-274

Margot James resigned as a DCMS minister to back the amendment…

Lords Cheer Baroness Hayter After Corbyn Sacking

Baroness Hayter was cheered across the House of the Lords – as enthusiastically as the Lords ever cheer anything – as she took her seat on the backbenches after being dramatically sacked by Jeremy Corbyn last night. Hayter accused Corbyn of having a bunker mentality, Corbyn naturally thought the best way to prove he didn’t was by sacking her. Instant justice for people who criticise Corbyn, anti-Semitism cases just kicked into the long grass…

Selmayr Reveals Not One UK Negotiator Really Wanted to Leave

Tonight’s Panorama is proving to be another revealing affair – on Brexit this week rather than the chronic anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. There’s already been the revelation from Barnier that May was never serious about ‘no deal’. Juncker’s “monster” Martin Selmayr had another fascinating nugget on Today…

Nick Robinson reveals that Selmayr made an “extraordinary secret offer” to David Lidington to put Brexit “on ice” for five years to develop a new intra-EU partnership instead. Selmayr then talks about how he floated the idea in a late-night session with UK negotiators: “I think we all agreed in the room but we all are officials and we had to respect the mandate that was given and that was unfortunately to negotiate a divorce.” Hardly surprising that they came back with such a terrible deal given not one of them genuinely believed leaving was a good idea…

Selmayr himself won’t be around for any more late-night negotiating sessions, Libération’s Jean Quatremer has got the fascinating inside scoop on how the “sulphurous” Selmayr has been swiftly defenestrated after trying to hijack the process of picking a new Commission President to get another pliant puppet put in place. Guido somehow suspects it won’t be the last we’ll be seeing of him…

BBC To Recruit Over 75s Licence Fee Gestapo

As the BBC licence fee row drags on, it has today been revealed that the BBC is recruiting a crack team to make ‘personal visits’ demanding of those aged over 75 to see their licence fee papers and force those without to hand over what little cash they have to continue using their televisions. The BBC’s corporate director of policy has claimed this new team of intimidating enforcers will be separate from the BBC’s ‘enquiry officers’ who are currently responsible for forcing people to cash up for the company’s deeply unpopular tax. This new team reminds Guido of another group who used mass intimidation of  without fear of repercussion…

Not all of today’s licence fee row news is this difficult to stomach however, as it seems BBC officials are starting to listen to Guido’s advice. Today the BBC Director-General announced the company could become an opt-in subscription service like Netflix from 2027—a decision Guido recommended the beeb should take 6 months ago. If only the BBC had switched from its outdated funding model, as Guido advised, the need for an OAP license fee ‘Gestapo’ would be avoided in the first place…

Bercow Selects Grieve’s New Anti-Brexit Amendment

In the most predictable development of the day, Bercow has selected Grieve’s beefed-up anti-prorogation amendment, despite it being even more contrived than the version that was rejected by Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing last week. There’s a sizable number of Tories who have put their name to it already, former minister Alastair Burt co-sponsoring the amendment with Hilary Benn despite not even rebelling on the weaker Grieve amendment last week.[…] Read the rest

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