Assange in London Ecuadorian Embassy Seeking Asylum

He is on £240,000 bail put up by a coalition of right on types including; Michael Moore, Jemima Khan, Ken Loach, John Pilger, Tariq Ali, Sir Phillip Knightley; magazine publisher Felix Dennis, Nobel prize winner Sir John Sulston, former Labour minister and chairman of Faber & Faber publishing house Lord Matthew Evans and Professor Patricia David.

Oh well, it is only money…

UPDATE: This in from the Embassy of Ecuador:

Statement on Julian Assange

June 19, 2012
This afternoon Mr Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy seeking political asylum from the Ecuadorian government.

As a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, with an obligation to review all applications for asylum, we have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito.

While the department assesses Mr Assange’s application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorian Government.

The decision to consider Mr Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.

Last month Assange sympathetically interviewed the socialist Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa for his TV show The World Tomorrow, broadcast on Russia Today. Ironically Ecuador has a poor record on human rights and freedom of the press… 

Carr: I'm Amoral and I Have Osborne in my Pocket

Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance has been doing the rounds today after he was revealed to have reduced his bill to the Exchequer by over £3 million in the last year. Guido thought you would enjoy this video of Carr publicly ripping into the very people he had privately joined…

Hari: Old Habits Die Hard

Here we go again…

Via @Steven_Maclean

MenschBozier Launch New Social Network

This one will get their many, many fans going  – Louise Mensch and Luke Bozier have launched a new social media website. Menshn will seek to provide a platform for real-time chat. The Tory MP and ex-Labour defector have both had their fair share of Twitter hate, apparently they are seeking a bit more of a grown up discussion. They’re taking on some pretty big rivals. Remember that Quara thing?

In the Thick of It Loop II

Much excitement today about snippets of gossip from Armando Iannucci’s visit to Parliament last night, where he was previewing his American series Veep. Spilling the beans on what to expect from the next season of the Thick of It, Iannucci coughed that the series would be overshadowed by a judge led inquiry. The Times have done a whole piece on it, despite regular Guido readers learning this back in February. Needless to say, Iannucci was rather sceptical about Leveson: “it’s interesting watching them all swear on oath and then say what they say.” 

The good Lord Justice did not escape criticism either: “When Tony Blair was giving what, at best, we can call evidence  and then that protestor invaded and Leveson launched an inquiry into himself…” An inquiry into ethics and practices of Lord Leveson eh?

Breaking: Brian Admits Discussing Emergency Hearing

You read it here first…

UPDATE: According to the Guardian “Leveson believed an emergency hearing would bring “unnecessary cost” to taxpayer and core participants so decided against it.” Not because it was absurd over-reaction then…

Councillor Quits After Doing a Gordon

A Lincolnshire councillor has been forced to quit after drawing criticism for her low attendance.

Sara Cliff attended just 19 meetings from a possible 52, a strike rate far more impressive than many sitting MPs.

Are you watching Gordon…

Via @OnTablets

Leveson v Cameron

This morning Guido revealed that Leveson threw his toys out of the pram over the Mail on Sunday splash, and now the Standard reports that Leveson went as far as to question David Cameron’s support for the Inquiry – not publicly of course – through his favoured means of crossing the constitutional division of power – phoning the Cabinet Secretary.  A paranoid Brian apparently wanted to check the government still had confidence in him. Questions will not be tolerated. 

Thick of It Hits Brussels

Life imitating art once again. Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci was in town last night previewing his American spin off Veep. Perhaps an EU series next…

Video via @ukipwebmaster

Public says No to Politician PCCs

New figures show the public don’t want politicians taking up roles as police commissioners. Later today Policy Exchange will release the results of a poll showing that just 6% think politicians would make good PCCs. With Labour having a remarkable change of heart about the whole policy after realising they would win most of them, what’s the worst that could happen? This could get very embarrassing… 

Exclusive: Leveson Loses It Over Mail on Sunday Front PageThreatened Special Hearing This Week Over Critical Story

Guido understands that a furious Leveson had to be talked down from calling a special hearing yesterday – despite the Inquiry being in recess – after the Mail on Sunday claimed he had threatened to quit over Michael Gove’s “chilling effect” speech. The Mail on Sunday reported that Leveson delivered the ultimatum after demanding Gove be gagged for suggesting that the Inquiry was having a dangerous impact on the free press. Leveson lost the plot when his implicit threat to quit the Inquiry was made public, and only decided against holding a hearing this week to summon the Mail on Sunday for a judicial bollocking after being convinced that the move would be seen as a major over-reaction. Instead, Guido has learnt that core participants have received a note from Brian inviting them to make submissions about the story by 4pm tomorrow. He seems to be encouraging third-parties to criticise the Mail on Sunday and do his dirty work for him…

Leveson’s attempts to make life difficult for journalists who criticise him comes as Downing Street has decided to caution ministers against commenting on the Inquiry lest Brian walks out. It seems the pattern of Brian’s responses to a critical free press is fury followed by threats. He’s losing it…

"Stampede" at Labour HQ

Anger about redundancies at Labour HQ has turned to acceptance. Guido understands that there has been a “stampede” to accept voluntary redundancy. Word is that with 10% of the 300 strong workforce facing the chop, 30 have come forward who are desperate to move on. As reported in the Daily Star Sunday, the party have had to take a loan so that they could afford the pay-offs. From an orderly queue…



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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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