Impartial Fact Checkers Trash People’s Vote’s Claim that One Million People Marched

The People’s Vote campaign had already come under fire for grossly exaggerating the number of people on their last march after official figures revealed that it was only attended by around 250,000 people, barely a third of the 700,000 they claimed. Now it looks like they’ve shamelessly puffed up the numbers on their second march by exactly the same margin…

Impartial fact checkers Full Fact carefully examined their claim that one million people attended their march on Saturday, finding that “experts in crowd estimation put the number at between 312,000 and 400,000.” Again, barely a third of the dodgy numbers the People’s Vote were putting out…

Full Fact say that:

“even if this density of 4.5 people per square metre [as the People’s Vote claimed] had been observed across the whole march site of roughly 160,000 square metres, that would only account for 700,000 people. Helicopter footage shows that there were areas where the crowd was much less dense than 4.5 people per square metre.”

Not that it stopped the BBC’s risible “Reality Check Correspondent” Chris Morris from endorsing their claim of a million. Remainers never stop complaining about numbers used by Brexiteers, all the while they’re fiddling their own figures on an industrial scale…

Crispin Blunt Accuses May of “Most Shameful Surrender by a British Leader” Since 1942

May might have been expecting a hard time from the DUP, nothing will have prepared her for this rocket from normally soft-spoken Tory MP Crispin Blunt. Former Foreign Affairs Committee chair Blunt says she has put the “final torpedo” in her deal by taking no deal off the table and accuses her of the “most shameful surrender by a British leader since Singapore in 1942”. Ouch…

Nigel Dodds Blasts May Over Brexit Delay

The chances of the DUP coming over to May’s side look pretty remote after Nigel Dodds seared Theresa May with an excoriating set of questions on the backstop and why she delayed Brexit. May can’t answer any of them, she just goes into European Commission Spokesperson mode…

May Won’t Let No Deal Happen Without Parliament’s Consent

Despite MPs having overwhelmingly voted to set No Deal as the legal default when they triggered Article 50, Theresa May has again confirmed Guido’s fears that she would no allow No Deal to go ahead without Parliament consenting to it all over again. Which this Parliament will never do…

“Unless this House agrees to it, No Deal will not happen.”

No Deal died two weeks ago when MPs voted against it by 202-412 and then set the course for delay. May’s bad deal is the least worst step forward from where we are now…

Government Formally Submits Resolution to Delay ‘Exit Day’

The Government has formally laid its draft statutory instrument which changes the definition of “Exit Day” in UK law, to match with the delay May agreed at the European Council last week, quashing questionable rumours last week that the Government was considering not laying one at all. It will be passed with a healthy majority, as will any future motions from the Government for further delay…

Once it passes, No Deal can officially no longer happen on 29th March in either domestic UK law or international law. This is the stark reality for Brexiteers now…

IPSA Refuse Staffer Pay Requests

After a barrage of complaints from angry staffers over the inequitable rise in MPs pay compared to staff budgets, IPSA has doubled down on their original decision. MPs will still get their 2.7% pay rise, but staffing budgets will only rise by a paltry 1.5%. That’s less than the rate of inflation – a real terms cut…

“Having carefully considered the arguments put to us and the concerns raised, the Board has confirmed its original decision of a 1.5% increase to MPs’ staffing budgets from April 2019. We acknowledge the strongly held views on this issue, and we are therefore writing individually to all MPs and to all staff members to notify them of the decision and to provide additional information.”

A host of furious staffers have told Guido that this is a “kick in the teeth” for them when they are “under paid and underfunded when they do the brunt of the work for the MP.” Their workload has risen in recent months and now staffing budgets are set to fall…

UPDATE: The Members’ and Peers’ Staff Association tells Guido that its members are angry.

“MAPSA are extremely disappointed and feel that staff have been badly let down by the organisation that is supposed to facilitate MPs offices to do the best jobs possible for their constituents. With dramatically increased workloads staff are already stretched and to receive the news that they are receiving what amounts to a real terms cut, has angered many.”

Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Hit Lowest Ever Ratings

A new poll by YouGov has revealed both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have slid back to their lowest ever net favourability ratings. The Prime Minister is down to -39 and the Leader of the Opposition down to a staggering -53. Just 51% of Tory voters now have a favourable opinion of their own party leader, but only 42% of Labour voters have a favourable opinion of Corbyn. Impressively, Corbyn manages to have both higher unfavourables and lower favourables than the Prime Minister among the public…

YouGov puts the recent slide in support for Corbyn down to “Brexit indecisiveness”. You don’t say…

Gove is Bookies Favourite to Replace May

The betting markets are saying that Theresa May is now 1/5 to not last the year as Prime Minister. The favourite to replace her now is Michael Gove, jointly with David Lidington, which is not surprising given the weekend reports of an ‘interim’ PM plot. Boris comes in next at 6/1…

Next Conservative Leader:
Michael Gove 2/1
David Lidington 4/1
Boris Johnson 6/1
Jeremy Hunt 8/1
Dominic Raab 10/1

Meanwhile PaddyPower have the odds of Nigel Farage becoming an MP this year at 3/1. Would hold off on betting just yet...

Commemorative BrexCoin Cancelled

Not only has the Government cancelled leaving the EU’s customs territory, leaving the EU’s “common rulebook” or leaving the European Union at all on the 29th March, it looks like they’ve also cancelled the commemorative 50p coin that Philip Hammond promised Brexiteers last year. Treasury minister Robert Jenrick confirmed that no coins to commemorate the 29th March had been minted – a decision which must have been taken some time ago. Is there any part of Brexit Theresa May can’t kick into the long grass?

UPDATE: Treasury sources have confirmed that the coin hasn’t been cancelled outright and will be made available after the UK finally leaves. The way things are going they might as well have just cancelled it…

Sadiq Khan’s Cronies Pocket £150,000 from Failing HS2 Quango He Appointed Them to

HS2 continues to be the black hole that can’t stop sucking taxpayers’ money in, with Old Oak Common station in North-West London proving to be the standout white elephant in a project boasting herds of them. International construction firms are even resorting to lawsuits to try to get their hands on the billion-pound contract….

Numerous quangos have inevitably sprung up to feed off the HS2 dosh, in this case it’s the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), which has already been responsible for resounding successes like cocking up a £5 billion housing development. Not that this stopped the OPDC Board – rammed with the usual Labour local authority types and GLA quangocrats – from trousering tens of thousands of pounds for attending tiny handful of meetings, according to their latest accounts:

  • Julian Bell pocketed £15,000 for 6 meetings. Labour Leader of Ealing Council.
  • Muhammad Butt pocketed £15,000 for 6 meetings. Labour Leader of Brent Council.
  • Stephen Cowan pocketed £15,000 for 3 meetings. Labour Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
  • William McKee pocketed £22,000 for 6 meetings. Also chairs Sadiq Khan’s London Industry and Logistics Sounding Board.
  • Liz Peace CBE, the chair, pocketed £27,000 for 7 meetings. Also sits on Sadiq Khan’s Homes for Londoners Board.
  • Eric Sorensen pocketed £21,000 for 7 meetings. Former CEO of development quangos which advised Ken Livingstone in the 2000s.
  • Amanda Souter pocketed £15,000 for 6 meetings. Green Party/FBPE activist sitting on the Board as a ‘local resident’.

You’ll never guess who was directly responsible for appointing the Board to their lucrative positions. Sadiq Khan… 

The Taxpayers’ Alliance’s James Roberts blasts:

“What a joke. When you look at the names involved, it’s a rogue’s gallery of Khan’s old local authority mates, all raking it in at the London taxpayer’s expense. The Old Oak Common Cock-up gets worse by the day, not least given the ongoing shambles of HS2, but Khan’s cronies carried on claiming their cushy allowances. Shameful.”

Enough cash to fight knife crime? No. Enough cash for cronies on quango boards? Absolutely…

EU Proposes Invisible Irish Border Checks if No Deal

This morning the EU announced it has “completed” planning for the event that the UK leaves the European Union on WTO terms, saying that it is “increasingly likely” that the UK will leave without a deal in mid April. They have hired 2,000 new customs officers and built 20 new border posts. What has the UK done..?

Interestingly, when asked if there will be checkpoints at the Irish border, the EU said that they are “working very closely with Irish authorities to try and perform controls away from border”. The EU is happily talking about checks away from the border in the event of No Deal, but they refused to countenance those sort of alternative arrangements with the UK in the event of a deal. Guido can’t see this as anything other than blatant bad faith on the part of the EU…

Two-Faced Foreign Minister Backs Revoking Article 50

Foreign Minister Mark Field is no stranger to off-piste excursions, he spectacularly eloped from collective responsibility on Westminster Hour last night when he publicly backed revoking Article 50:

“My personal view is that I would be happy to revoke Article 50. I appreciate that is probably a minority view, but if we get to this utter paralysis — and I sincerely hope that in the next 48, 72 hours we do not — then if that becomes an option, it’s an option I personally would take.”

Field was happy to go in towards the dry side of the Tory Party when it suited him, now he’s openly breaking their trust. Right after the referendum, he wrote directly to his constituents demanding a second referendum:

“I have always had the utmost admiration for the judgement of the British people. They have now spoken, and in record numbers. There can be no question of not respecting the referendum’s result.”

He even used an interview before the 2017 General Election to stress: “I’ve made it clear that this is a non-reversible process. We are going to be out.” He is the local MP of some former Vote Leave staffers who’ve told Guido they’ll be volunteering for Corbyn’s candidate in the next election…

Guido was less surprised by Field’s dalliance after catching him openly supporting a customs union last summer. Not the first time he’s broken his vows…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Lidington Denies He Wants To Be PM

Steve Barclay: ‘Indicative Votes’ Would Not Be Binding

IDS: This Is a ‘National Humiliation’

IDS ‘Keeping Options Open’ on MV3

“I am going to keep, and I recommend my colleagues keep, their options open on this, because we don’t know what’s going to happen this week. We don’t know what the alternatives are and whether we vote for this or not depends hugely on whether we are able to leave with no deal or not.”

Guido agrees.

Hammond: Second Referendum Should Be Considered

Chancellor Phil Hammond telling Sophy Ridge that a second referendum “deserves to be considered” gives you a clue as to why Treasury no deal planning has been such a pathetic exercise in foot dragging.

Naughtie Sorry for ERG Slur


Following Guido’s reporting of ERG outrage at BBC Today’s Jim Naughtie slurring the ERG as far-right types equivalent to the French Front National he apologised last night:

“I was wrong to say in a live discussion this morning that members of the ERG would be happy in a far-right party. That was not my intention, because I don’t believe it. I was trying to make the point that if our parties fracture in some way after Brexit – on Right and Left – we could see a political landscape emerge that looks more like the rest of Europe than it does at the moment. But my words were ill-chosen and I’m sorry for any offence caused”.

The ERG’s Andrew Bridgen responds “I was grateful for Jim Naugthie’s ‘almost apology’, as the referendum demonstrated the ERG’s views are those of the mainstream majority.” Quite.

Saturday 7-Up

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