Tory/UKIP Defection Runners and Riders

Tim Montgomerie’s warning today that two Tory MPs are seriously considering defecting to UKIP has got the rumour mill spinning. As ever Guido gives you his tongue in cheek take on the runners and riders.

Mark Pritchard
Eurosceptic rating: 10/10

Pritchard is a serious contender. The secretary of the 1922 Committee resigned from his position as the Conservative Party’s International Office deputy chairman last month, telling the papers that his decision was a protest against Cameron’s weakness on Europe. Could he be about to jump ship?

Bill Cash
Eurosceptic rating: 10/10

Cash has a history of causing trouble over Europe, and was famously part of the Maastricht Rebellion that did for John Major. He has a fractious relationship with Dave and led a rebellion against the Coalition last year. Said to be reaching the end of his tether, though has stated on the record he does not want to quit the EU.

George Eustice
Eurosceptic rating: 9/10

An outside punt but it would be the completion of a journey for Dave’s one time Press Secretary who now leads a new group of moderately disgruntled eurosceptic Tory MPs. Guido can’t really see it happening due to the bright party career ahead but…

He’s ex-UKIP…

Douglas Carswell
Eurosceptic rating: 9/10

Carswell has long been an outspoken critic of the government, and ramped up the pressure on Cameron last year by suggesting that ministers could not be trusted to defend British interests on the continent. Extremely closed to fellow rabblerouser Dan Hannan. His name on a UKIP ticket would be a huge coup…

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Eurosceptic rating: 8/10

Everyone’s favourite eccentric backbencher lambasted the Tory leadership last year for allowing the Lib Dems to dictate Coalition policy on Europe, and has suggested that the EU could be the issue that brings down the government. He is even an expert on ‘flexicurity’…

Nadine Dorries
Eurosceptic rating: 8/10

To say there is no love lost between Nadine and Dave would be an understatement. Dorries has been strongly critical of Cameron’s stance on abortion, child benefit and his closeness to Nick Clegg, and was furious after her boss’ quip at PMQs that she was ‘frustrated’. Revenge is a dish best served cold and the party machine are not helping her with a little local difficulty in the Boundary Review.

While Guido understands that a defection isn’t imminent and Tim was obviously trying to put pressure on them not jump, there is clearly serious and growing discontent among Tory backbenchers. It can only be a matter of time…

More Mayor Hilton Speculation

Guido never had Matthew d’Ancona down as a Daily Star Sunday reader but you learn something every day. He writes this afternoon: “Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s closest adviser, has indicated that he may run for mayoral office when he returns from sabbatical, on the grounds that this will enable him to make a real difference at street level.” Confirming what we said back in February:

“…few believe he will return to Downing Street – rumour has it that he wants to try out his big ideas directly by running a city as mayor.  Given that he got nicked in 2008 for losing his rag with a train ticket inspector in Birmingham, we can cross Brum off the likely list.”

Guido’s money would be on Brighton for the former Green voter, but it’s hardly a big budget executive…

Ken’s Tears Make a Splash

After promising to make this campaign about substance and decrying distractions, Ken’s tears stunt has backfired. Tonight 1.6 million Londoners will see this picture of an exhausted and tired old man in tears on the front page of the Standard. Hardly a vote winning look. As one exasperated member of the campaign team put it “it’s impressive to make Ed look like the competent one.”

Red on Red: Watson Attacked as “Labour’s Mafia Boss”

The fallout continues. Labour colleagues are pointing more fingers at Watson:

“It looks like Watson may have overplayed his hand here. Its difficult to see how Siôn Simon is going to come out of this well and if MPs do make it on to the ballot paper its  going to look like a defeat for them. In 24 hours they’ve managed to give shadow cabinet member Liam Byrne the outsider/underdog status which can only help his campaign. 

 Watson tried to reinvent himself for the new politics era but he’s let the mask slip. He walks around with a halo on calling for more transparency in the media one moment and then be doing secret back room deals half an hour later. He’s the fixers fixer, in many ways he’s like Kevin Rudd in Australia. He complains about “invisible voices” and “faceless men”, but they are him. He called James Murdoch a mafia boss, but it takes one to know one, he’s Labour’s mafia boss”

Labour sources point to the fact normally “the General Secretary would have stepped in by now to sort out this mess,” but Iain McNicol is “an ineffective lightweight with no authority”.

Tempers are flaring…

 

UPDATE: A former Labour SpAd twists the knife:

“This is now going to turn into a ‘stop Sion’ campaign. Watson, what a genius. Doing for Sion what he did for Gordon…”

The Tears of a Clown

Newt tried it, so did Santorum, as did Hillary and now Ken:

Don’t cry for me Venezuela…

UPDATE: Full marks to the Standard for this gem of a headline:

Dave Takes Up Brown’s Legacy

Dave arrives in Indonesia and moments later:

“A tsunami watch was issued for countries across the Indian Ocean today after a large earthquake hit waters off Indonesia, sending residents pouring from their homes in panic. The US Geological Survey said the 8.7-magnitude quake was centred 20 miles beneath the ocean floor around 269 miles from Aceh’s provincial capital.”

Can anyone remember another Prime Minister this sort of thing used to happen? Surely not…

Birmingham Backlash Boils Over

As Guido reported yesterday there is open revolt at Harman and Watson’s plans to stitch up the Labour Birmingham Mayoral race as exposed by Patrick Wintour. It was dismissed as stirring but now one of the candidates, Gisela Stuart, has broken cover in the Times:

“The whole point of the mayors was to devolve power and increase democratic participation, but the Labour Party’s response is as an old-fashioned, backward-looking party. The party machinery has to show some faith in the good judgment of voters and you cannot do that by drawing up rules which narrow down the contest.”

You read it here first…

UPDATE:



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Interesting choice of words from Putin on Golden Shower-gate:

“People who fabricate and use fake news about Trump are worse than prostitutes.”

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

Labour Drops Student Anti-Semitism Probe Labour Drops Student Anti-Semitism Probe
Israeli “Plot”: Latest Israeli “Plot”: Latest
Video: Putin on Russian Prostitutes Video: Putin on Russian Prostitutes
New European: Leave Voters “Lager Louts” New European: Leave Voters “Lager Louts”
Sion Simon Deletes Pro Remain Statement Sion Simon Deletes Pro Remain Statement
John Woodcock’s Fake News John Woodcock’s Fake News
May’s Brexit Plan – Full Text of Speech May’s Brexit Plan – Full Text of Speech
May Speech: Briefed Quotes May Speech: Briefed Quotes
Labour MP in Grieving Gaffe Labour MP in Grieving Gaffe
Sion Simon Impersonates a Brexiteer Sion Simon Impersonates a Brexiteer
Oxfam Attacks World’s Biggest Charitable Donor Oxfam Attacks World’s Biggest Charitable Donor
Trump vs Corbyn: Who Said It? Trump vs Corbyn: Who Said It?
Hammond: No Deal and I’ll Make UK Tax Haven of Europe Hammond: No Deal and I’ll Make UK Tax Haven of Europe
Benn’s Brexit Committee Bunfight Benn’s Brexit Committee Bunfight
Prospective Labour Candidate is Dominatrix Prospective Labour Candidate is Dominatrix
Watch: Corbyn Not “Out of Control” Watch: Corbyn Not “Out of Control”
Real Brexit: Gove Sets The Standard Real Brexit: Gove Sets The Standard
Tristram: V&A Must Charge for Entry Tristram: V&A Must Charge for Entry
Stoke: Fierce Four-Way Fight Stoke: Fierce Four-Way Fight