Tory MPs Should Spank Whips With Own Words

Given the pressure that the Whips are putting on the Tory backbenches is likely to increase, Guido thought he would prepare a handy guide to one-liners to throw back at them. Have a delve into Guido’s “Little Black Book of Whippicisms”…

Last time a government was on the ropes and refusing to grant a free vote, Mark Francois said “The government really don’t deserve to get away with this…”, in 2008 as the Tories’ shadow European minister, he mocked the LibDems for abstaining:  “They are going to hide in the toilets because they have not got the guts to vote.” He also accused Labour and the LibDems of not having “equal trust in the British people” in terms of letting them decide. He can add Conservatives to that list now…

Greg Hands, the latest addition to the Whips Office, has made his views on a referendum very clear in the past: “This is about democracy. The way the Government is trying to wriggle out of their promise to hold a vote is exactly the sort of behaviour that has eroded trust in politics.” Quite…

Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin has unsurprisingly not publicly commented on the notion of a referendum or perhaps anything, on the record, ever. The same can’t be said of the rest of the gang though: Angela Watkinson MP voted for a referendum last time round, as did her fellow whips John Randall, Jeremy Wright, Brooks Newmark and James Duddridge. No doubt they will be reminded of that fact as they work the phones this weekend…

The Revolving Door at Health

“Asda has signed up former Department of Health comms chief Sian Jarvis to oversee its PR and lobbying” reports PR Week this morning. The former GMTV political hack spent twelve years spinning.

“Jarvis will already be familiar with the Asda comms team, as the supermarket has been a key funding partner in the DH’s Change4Life anti-obesity drive, which is promoted by Freud Communications. Coincidentally, Asda also uses Freuds for corporate PR advice. “

How convenient! No spell in the cooler?

Justine Greening's SpAd Choice

Justine Greening has picked her Special Advisers for Transport. They are Graham Hook as policy SpAd, he’s the former CCHQ briefer for Question Time. Victoria Crawford from the CCHQ press office will handle the media, she always used to take an audible deep breath before beginning spinning Guido, never worked out if it was out of apprehension or a respiratory issue. Guido hopes they like trains…

German Financial Times Signals the Return of the Deutsche MarkIs this the €nd?

Is price on the lastest edition of the German Financial Times trying to tell us something?


Do they know something that we don’t?

Via Mr Zero Hedge.

Friday Caption Contest (Baby Boris Edition)

To celebrate the release of Just Boris by Sonia Purnell, a dip into the archives.

A copy of the book up for grabs…

Usual rules apply.

Tory MPs Face a Weekend of Soul SearchingIDS Leaning on Dave

Guido speculated yesterday as to what Iain Duncan Smith will do on Monday. He is reportedly lobbying Dave to reduce the Whip to one line, something that Guido, at this stage, fully expects to happen in order to avoid a sizeable walkout. Euroscepticism is at IDS’s core, far more so than any other senior Cabinet Minister, and he’s almost un-sackable in many ways. He’s still in a tight spot here though. Those who suggested that IDS might quietly slip off to his favourite haunt – the Slug and Lettuce – during the vote, have come unstuck. Immediately before the debate on Monday’s order paper is: “Questions to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, including Topical Questions.”

As the cold war between Cameron and his party’s conscious rapidly warms up, there is soul searching going on from the Cabinet down to the humble backbencher. One A-lister – George Freeman – was overheard yesterday decrying the fact his association are threatening him with de-selection if he votes against the referendum. Guido will be keeping an eye on whether his careerism, or the people of Norfolk, comes first…

One Junior Minister who instinctively wants to rebel, but will not, said to Guido:

“If I have to resign over this principle how many sacrifices of other principle issues are made in doing so? Monday’s vote is one of frustration, I recognise that, but the revolt will lead to nothing except a loss of influence by those who resign. It’s a battle in which a few may gain notoriety, but it will come at the expense of others and runs the risk of destabilising the coalition when the country can least afford it. So an inconsequential though principled battle is fought but a war lost.”

That seems to some up the feeling of those staying loyal. Sentiments that would not have had to be aired publicly if Cameron had the integrity and balls to make this a free vote…

Bernard Jenkin Takes Down Eustice, and CCs Everyone Else

Dear George

Firstly, David Nuttall’s motion sums up the EU question which faces the nation: do we carry on with EU integration on present terms of membership; or get out altogether; or renegotiate revised terms of membership? Your amendment seeks to narrow the terms of the debate by removing reference to one option which is clearly available to this country, which is to leave the EU. I personally don’t agree with an in-out referendum, but I recognise that that it is a legitimate option to be debated. The argument that this was not in our manifesto is irrelevant.
I think we all appreciate your and others’ efforts to build bridges here, but I feel I must make it clear to colleagues why I (and probably most colleagues) cannot support the amendment as drafted. I am copying this to backbench colleagues.

Second, you advance your amendment on the basis that it is consistent with the coalition agreement, but this is not relevant either. Both the coalition agreement and our manifesto have both been overtaken by events. Support for fiscal union in the Euro area was not in either – and would have never have been entertained if it had been proposed for either document. It is fiscal union which is leading to a fundamental change in the character of the EU, and which has given rise to the demand for this debate.

Third, as a supporter of renegotiation, why am I not tempted by your amendment? Because any remit for renegotiation must set out the objective of establishing a new relationship with our EU partners. For such a new relationship to be meaningful, there must be a fundamental change in that relationship. It must restore the basic democratic principle that the authority to pass laws should be democratically accountable to those who are affected by them. The powers delegated to the EU (or withdrawn) must in future be determined by Parliament, and not by the EU institutions acting autonomously. Without this, nothing much will change. The difficulty we now face is that the EU Treaties are now so all encompassing, and the institutions so assertive, that the exercise of merely nibbling back powers and competences here and there would not reverse the effect of the Lisbon Treaty on the UK, or Nice, or Amsterdam, or Maastricht, or the Single European Act, or address the fundamental problems which actually arise from the Treaty of Rome.

Finally, there is a great danger that Parliament will emerge from this looking very out of touch if the House is not to debate the original motion or at least something which reflects its spirit. The BBBC adopted this motion in response to the e-petitions which demand an in-out EU referendum. Had the authors of the amendment approached the BBBC with their motion, it would not have been entertained by the BBBC, since there are no e-petitions behind it. If this amendment were to be selected, the debate and the vote which followed would be on the amendment, and not on the main motion – hardly an example of e-petitions working as they were intended!

Yours ever


Bernard Jenkin MP (Harwich and North Essex)
Chairman, PASC (Public Administration Select Committee)

BIS Officials Bite At Vince's Briefing

Vince Cable has taken to the pages of the FT to brief against Thresesa May and Iain Duncan Smith:

An ally of Mr Cable said: “Vince really wants to come forward with a good package for business this autumn but we want to see other departments putting their weight behind these efforts. They need to bring something to the table.”

His line is that they do not realise how serious the growth situation is, however Vince might want to make sure his own department is in order before he whispers into hacks ears. Guido understands that some officials at Business Innovation and Skills are none too happy with the drop in stature their department has had since the old man took over from Mandy. Although he had his faults, they feel Prince of Darkness made the department’s presence felt in every nook and cranny of Whitehall. They are moaning at a lack of “kudos” these days and gently remind the Minister in charge of growth that it’s going to require more than just sniping against others for not cutting enough red tape…

Mr Eugenides tweets

“Mubarak, Murdoch, now Gaddafi… one by one, Tony Blair’s friends are meeting grisly ends. If I were Cliff Richard I’d be shitting myself.”

Dave Joins "Britain in Europe"

No.10’s very own little Euro-crisis hasn’t calmed down overnight. Sources close to George Eustice get in touch to say that his amendment hasn’t gone down well with the leadership despite reeking of a stich-up attempt, however there is mistrust on the benches about Eustice none-the-less. As of this morning, the Tory leadership are still unwilling to give any ground, blaming the LibDems, but it’s going to be a long weekend…

The “Britain in Europe” briefing that went out last night from CCHQ to the troops has not gone down well, not least because “Britain in Europe” was the name of 1999 grouping that brought together Blair, Ken Clarke, Helseltine, Heath, Mandy, Charlie Kennedy, Huhne, Hain and Kinnock to try to get us to join the Euro. Accusations of “going native” are two a penny this morning…

Evidence of Dave’s change of heart can be found on Page 5 of the lines to take:

Q: What’s wrong with having a referendum on renegotiating Britain’s relationship with Europe?

Britain’s interest is in being in Europe but not run by Europe. Conservatives are clear that we should get powers back from Britain to Brussels so we don’t need a referendum on that, we just need a Conservative majority government.

The leadership are in a panic flap and it’s showing through sloppiness and stubbornness. They are going out of their way not to make this easy for themselves…

UPDATE: Another wrecking amendment has been launched by Richard Harrington. It’s not getting much support.

Despair on the Left

Gaddafi provided support over the years to not just the IRA but a rag-bag of left-wing fringe groups. There were many on the left who were not keen on taking on the tyrant in Tripoli. The New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan was lamenting the dictator’s demise and the “imperialist war” waged by the West last night. That kind of thinking is common on the left.

Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”


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