No.10 Confirm Nadine is Not Security Threat to PM

An unnamed No. 10 insider has briefed Nick Watt of the Guardian:

“Nadine Dorries has made clear that she does not think the prime minister should be murdered. But she is well known for having unusual views and unusual ways of expressing them. There will no change to the security arrangements for the prime minister. We were never genuinely concerned about a threat to the prime minister’s life.”

Unlikely to be a sense of humour failure, Downing Street staffers are clearly wittier than previously thought. Either way the original story that Guido ran this afternoon made it clear that the comment was made metaphorically. Given that Nadine is not the only Tory MP thinking these political thoughts, conference could well be a metaphorical bloodbath for the PM.

UPDATE:

TUC Say: Maggie! Maggie! T-Shirts Out! Out! Out!

Another victory for Maggie against the unions.

Bigot-gate II

Talking of backtracking on press releases, check out this stunning¬†reverse¬†ferret from Nick Clegg’s Office this afternoon over the word “bigot”:

1:

Date: 11 September 2012 15:00
Subject: Deputy Prime Minister Equal Marriage reception this evening

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg will tonight be joined by celebrity campaigners, religious figures, activists, charities and politicians as he hosts a reception to celebrate the Government’s historic consultation on equal marriage.

Guests will served Ben and Jerry‚Äôs ‚ÄėAppley Ever After‚Äô ice cream, specially renamed by the company in support of equal marriage and will be entertained by Diversity, London‚Äôs only gay, bisexual and transgender community chamber choir. The Government‚Äôs consultation on equal marriage was published on 14 June this year. The Government will respond by the end of the year.

The Deputy Prime Minister is expected to say:

‚ÄúContinued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we ‚Äúpostpone‚ÄĚ the equalities agenda in order to deal with ‚Äúthe things people really care about‚ÄĚ. As if pursuing greater equality and fixing the economy simply cannot happen at once.

2:

Date: 11 September 2012 16:24
Subject: Recall: Deputy Prime Minister Equal Marriage reception this evening

Communications (Cabinet Office) would like to recall the message, “Deputy Prime Minister Equal Marriage reception this evening”.

3:

Date: 11 September 2012 16:30
Subject: CORRECTION: Deputy Prime Minister Equal Marriage reception this evening

With apologies, please see corrected text below. The last version you received was incorrect and sent to you in error. Please only quote from the text below.

I’m sorry for any inconvenience this causes

The Deputy Prime Minister is expected to say (check against delivery):

‚ÄúContinued trouble in the economy leads some people to demand we ‚Äúpostpone‚ÄĚ the equalities agenda in order to deal with ‚Äúthe things people really care about‚ÄĚ. As if pursuing greater equality and fixing the economy simply cannot happen at once.

That plan seems to have gone well.

No one has noticed.

Hardly anyone anyway.

Surely not a pre-conference attention grabber?

Emails via TND.

PRCA Backtrack on Press Release Mocking Chloe Smith

You would think that the lobbying group representing lobbyists would know how to check a press release before it’s sent out. What with being PR experts and all…

Not so with the Public Relations Consultants Association. Compare and contrast these two versions of their release from this afternoon. The first version has been pulled from their website…

Now you see it:

PRCA – PRCA calls for Chloe Smith to engage with the lobbying industry
Tue, 11 September 2012 

The PRCA has called for Chloe Smith, who has been handed the ministerial brief for the proposed statutory register of lobbyists, to listen and engage with the industry.¬†Smith has joined the Cabinet Office from the Treasury, where she was best known for her poor performance when interviewed by Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman.¬†The minister takes over from Mark Harper, whose consultation proposals into a statutory register are still being considered following widespread criticism that it would not include in-house lobbyists.

Now you don’t:

PRCA – PRCA calls for Chloe Smith to engage with the lobbying industry
London, 11th September 

The PRCA has called for Chloe Smith, who has been handed the ministerial brief for the proposed statutory register of lobbyists, to listen and engage with the industry. Smith has joined the Cabinet Office from the Treasury to take over from Mark Harper, whose consultation proposals into a statutory register are still being considered following widespread criticism that it would not include in-house lobbyists.

Probably best not to take the mick out of the minister you will be trying to lobby…

Grant Shapps' How to Guide for CCHQ Team Reshuffles

Have you ever landed a fancy new job and then got stuck wondering just how you are going to reshuffle the team below you? Well fear not, internet guru Grant Shapps has just the solution for you. Watch with amazement as the new Tory top dog announces his beefed up team:

Deputy Chairman:

  • Sarah Newton MP

Vice Chairmen:

  • Alok Sharma MP – BME Communities
  • Richard Harrington MP – Campaign Finance
  • Bob Neill MP – Local Government
  • Michael Fabricant MP – Parliamentary Campaigning
  • Nicola Blackwood MP – ¬†Social Action
  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP – International Affairs
  • Alan Lewis – Business
  • Andrew Stephenson MP – Youth

With rebellious LibDem getting promoted, note Blackwood and Clifton-Brown keep their jobs despite voting against the whips on Lords reform. No such luck for Conor Burns and Angie Bray…

1% Bob's £100,000 Delusion

It takes something pretty extraordinary from Bob Crow to raise an eyebrow, but the RMT fat cat has surpassed himself at the TUC today:

“I’ve been in a minority all my life. I’ve got more in common with a Chinese labourer than I do with a city¬†financier –¬†I don’t care if it’s the Queen’s head or the Queen’s arse on a ten pound note… If you¬†spit¬†on your own you can’t do nothing. If we all¬†spit¬†together we can¬†drown¬†the bastards.”

Guido challenges Crow to find a Chinese labourer earning £100,000 a year while living in a rent-subsidised council house.

The only minority Bob’s in is the 1%…

Quote of the Day

Danny Alexander slams Miliband’s ‘pre-distribution’ in the House:

“Spend money before it arrives in the hope it might come later.”

Tim Yeo Quits Lucrative Green Job MP and CEO Walk From Eco City Following Guido Revelations

Last month Guido revealed that Tim Yeo’s cab-selling company Eco City Vehicles was set to profit from a change in the law agreed by their own CEO Peter Da Costa – yet another conflict of interest from the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. Following the revelations here and here, Yeo has quit as a director of the company. Da Costa is also standing down.¬†With the lobbying mission accomplished, now Yeo is running for cover…

There has been speculation in recent weeks that No. 10 have become increasingly worried about Yeo’s outside interests, raising questions over whether he could stay as the Energy Select Committee chairman while having such high level interests in green businesses. Some see Yeo’s “man or mouse” attack on the PM was a tanks on lawn warning shot from the golf fan. The loss of his Eco-City job means he’s down over ¬£3,000 per month, but don’t feel too sorry for him – Yeo remains a director of ITI Energy, AFC Energy, Eurotunnel and ¬†chairman of TMO Renewables. Guido will say it once again – just because the conflict of interest is declared, it’s still a conflict of interest.

Dame Jowell Quits to Spend More Time With Crook Hubby

Hardly a surprise, but Shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has quit the shadow cabinet today as promised. Heebie jeebie-giving Jowell told Ed it was job done following the Games.

No news yet on whether he asked her to stay with a new job.

More time now to spend with her “estranged”¬†criminal¬†hubby.

UPDATE: The couple certainly seemed to have patched things up at the Olympics opening ceremony…

Nadine: "We Need a Kill Cameron Strategy, Not a Voice"

Earlier Guido noted that the Conservative Voice team were “not quite saying what they wanted”. No such restraint from one Tory backbencher.¬†Nadine Dorries isn’t very happy with the new group,¬†particularly¬†the fact that this morning’s launch consisted of an all-male panel. Speaking more¬†broadly¬†she tells Guido:

“We need a kill Cameron strategy, not a voice.”

Metaphorically speaking of course, but ouch. Guido wonders how many of her¬†colleagues¬†agree…

UPDATE: Nadine is stressing the metaphorical aspect of that quote. As originally stated above.

UPDATE II: 

Whispers are Louder than Conservative Voices New Group Denies Big Donor Backing

In the subtle surroundings of Cameron’s old haunt – the dining room of the St Stephens Club – Conservative Voice launched this morning with David Davis and Liam Fox, as well as recently un-promoted members of the 2010 intake like Dominic Raab and Steve Barclay.¬†While everyone was on their best behaviour today, making sure to say nice things about the Prime Minister and how this most certainly was not a challenge to his authority, what is clear is that the right of the Tory party are at least trying to organise.

Multiple mentions of Obama-style fundraising and online campaigning could not hide the fact ¬†that the whole thing seemed a little dated though. Soundbites like¬†“a vision of radical and popular conservatism that reflects the aspiration of the voters, join us on this exciting mission,” were¬†complemented¬†by dated branding.

As one senior Tory told Guido afterwards:¬†“this itself will not amount to much, but if it annoys the Prime Minister then sign me up”. The fact that the group has been set up by Don Porter, until recently the Tory’s most senior volunteer, shows just how deep the dissatisfaction is in the party. Despite this, the group claims they will be working “closely with the leadership and CCHQ”. Whether that lasts beyond what is shaping up to be a¬†tempestuous¬†Tory conference remains to be seen.

Probed on their funding by Guido, Porter confirmed that as of yet they have no “big donors”,¬†though they were touting for them. Apparently the 25 most¬†vulnerable¬†seats and 25 must win targets will be getting help, but details of what the group will be actually doing ¬†beyond¬†being¬†a lightning rod for discontent was vague. The two somewhat tainted standard bearers of the right – Davis and Fox – were careful to attack the LibDems today rather than¬†Cameron.¬†While they talked about giving a voice to the right, you have to wonder whether their “conservative voice” would have been put to better use around the cabinet table.

Fox is putting a brave face on his enforced liberation from the shackles of government: “There are limitations to what ministers can say, given the constraints of Coalition. There are no limitations on what we can say.” That was not strictly true¬†this morning though – it was clear the group were not quite saying what they wanted. Guido had to chuckle at the picture of Cameron looming over proceedings…

Zac Showed Boris How He Could Win Richmond

On the weekend the Mail frontpaged a meeting between Zac Goldsmith and Boris in which, they claimed, Zac outlined how if he stood down in protest against Heathrow expansion plans, Boris could stand in his place and return to parliament. Subsequently sources around Zac and Boris have variously claimed it was only “jokingly” mentioned and¬†“fanciful”, with Boris using the Heseltinian word formulation that he had¬†“absolutely no plans to return to the House of Commons”. So was it only jokingly mentioned by Goldsmith?

Guido has it from reliable sources that it very definitely was mentioned and that Zac went through the strength of feeling on a ward-by-ward basis in the constituency, taking Boris through a detailed analysis of the hostility towards Heathrow expansion in his¬†constituency. Zac argued that either of them would win a by-election if he stood down in protest at a policy change. Tory MPs tell Guido ¬†that Zac is disillusioned with being an MP and may not stand at the next election in any event. It might be preferable for Zac to go out in a blaze of glory on a matter of principle which simultaneously opens the way neatly to a challenge to Cameron if he changes the position on Heathrow expansion…¬†

Awkward Ed Silent on Thatcher Death Taunt T-Shirts

Talk about an awkward Ed Miliband moment. The Telegraph reports this morning that t-shirts bearing the slogan “Thatcher: a generation of trade unionists will dance on her grave” are being sold at the TUC congress in Brighton. Guido has also found sick so-called Thatcher “party packs”¬†on sale for those inclined to celebrate the death of an old lady.

According to the seller they have been pretty popular:

While Labour types on twitter have issued heavily caveated criticisms, so far there has been no comment from Ed on the taunting of Lady T.

Being stuffed full of union cash does put him in quite a tricky position – hardly wants to upset his paymasters who are obviously keen on dancing on Maggie Thatcher’s grave.

But maybe there’s another reason he hasn’t condemned them…

Union "Wealth Creators" Give Chuka £24,500

Chuka met with comrades at the TUC conference last night, and he was certainly full of bluster as he made the journey south with his boss:

Guido wasn’t quite sure what Chuka had been smoking, but then suddenly all became clear. In June 2010 the GMB union donated ¬£8,500 to¬†the sharp-suited MP, coming back again the following year to give him another grand. Then this summer Paul Kenny’s band of killjoys – currently planning coordinated strikes with Unison – sent Chuka another¬†¬£15,000 to “support his office”. A grand total of ¬£24,500 over the last two years.¬†So that’s what he meant by creating wealth.

Since unions are such good wealth creators they won’t need taxpayers’ money any more then…



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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

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

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