Tell Hodge the Dodge to Answer Guido’s Questions

CLICKGuido emailed over his questions to Margaret Hodge again today, alas once more he has heard nothing back.

You can help pile the pressure on Hodge to stop dodging our questions by joining the growing number of others tweeting her on the #HodgeTheDodge hashtag.

Click here

Max Moments Clifford: “I Was Sexually Adventurous”

MAX-MOMENTS

In his tell-all book Max Clifford devotes several chapters to his sex life. No detail is spared:

“I was sexually adventurous from an early age and if I wanted to do something specific like having sex with a girl when her parents were in the next room, I’d keep on trying until I found someone who wanted to do it too. Almost anything went, including having two girls at a time, having sex with girlfriends’ mothers and watching others have sex. It all seemed very natural to me. When I look back now at the risks I took, I realise I could have had all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases but luckily I never have.”

Too much information…

Guidogram Going Out Shortly

The Guidogram round-up of the week is going out shortly.

Thousands of Westminster insiders read the Guidogram, everyone from Downing Street insiders to Fleet Street never miss it. Don’t miss out for the latest on Maria Miller’s £90,000 question, the graph that was re-tweeted over 650 times and a little treat for question-dodging Margaret Hodge . Make sure you sign up if you want to receive details of the location of Guido’s Christmas drinks.

Join the conspiracy and become a subscriber to the Guidogram, free, to keep in the loop. You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Guardian Vote for Strike Ballot

The Guardian NUJ chapter have voted to ballot all staff on whether to strike over forced redundancies. That could be a £100,000 day saving for the management.

Guardian insiders say it is “odds on” that the strike ballot will pass.

All out…

Hunt’s PPS Demands Debbie Says Sorry

It is Health PPS wars this afternoon as Tory MP Rob Wilson ups the pressure on Andy Burnham’s PPS over her ill-advised question to the Prime Minister.

Jeremy Hunt’s number two has written to his opposite number, Debbie Abrahams, demanding an Eoin Clarke-style apology:

Serves her right for taking anything Clarke said seriously…

Miller Car Crash Interview Raises More Expenses Questions

Maria Miller has been well and truly skewered by the Standard this afternoon during an interview in which she tried to play down allegations about her expenses. Did Sir Thomas Legg, the man who carried out the first independent audit into her second home claims, know that her parents lived in the property? “I obviously spoke to the Fees Office about my claims and they were happy that everything was in order”. Hardly a yes.

Who was the second independent auditor? Joe Murphy reports that “The Culture Secretary replied that it was the Conservative Party which “audited all Conservative MPs’ expenses”.  Her definition of independent may raise some eyebrows as the Tory panel was headed by the then Chief Whip and David Cameron’s chief of staff”. Most suspect of all was Miller’s answer to the charge that her decision to stop claiming just as the expenses scandal broke was more than coincidence:

“”I think there was a lot of concern about the rules and, er, a lot of concern about, you know, the whole issue, and it’s something I felt that I didn’t want to be, sort of, mixed up in, the fact that I …”  Mrs Miller finally stopped trying to explain herself, and simply said:  “I just made that decision.””

She will have to do better than that when John Lyon comes calling…

WATCH: President Bartlet v ‘Dr’ Eoin Clarke

Guido wouldn’t want Eoin’s readers not to know his PhD is in the history of Irish feminism…

Why Guido Won’t Be Apologising to Hodge the Dodge

This morning the Telegraph issued a carefully-worded apology to question-dodging Margaret Hodge:

hodge“Contrary to our report “Hodge faces challenge over family firm’s taxes” (Nov 20), Stemcor, in which Ms Hodge has a small shareholding, has not abused transfer pricing to avoid tax. We accept that there is no inconsistency or hypocrisy in Ms Hodge criticising other companies for tax avoidance and apologise to her for any contrary impression.”

Note the very specific assertion that Stemcor did not abuse transfer pricing to avoid tax. Guido never made that claim. The paper’s willingness to describe a million pound plus shareholding as “small” is odd, and crucially there is no mention of Hodge’s use of shares held in trusts. She has still yet to reply to our repeated questions, which followed a very different line to the Telegraph’s accusations and have been sent again to her today. Guido stands by everything we have written.

Standards Commissioner Confirms Maria Miller Investigation

The BBC is reporting that it’s game on with Sir John Lyon.

Could be tricky…

UPDATE: 

Quote of the Day

There were plenty of lamentations for Harding last night, but Times Political Editor Roland Watson took the biscuit:

“Newsroom mourning for smart, humane, inspirational, brave, respected and loved editor.”

Burnham’s PPS Repeated Loony Dr Eoin’s Fibs in Commons

debbie

Last night saw the fourth grovelling mea culpa from ‘Dr’ Eoin Clarke, and it was perhaps his best yet. Guido’s favourite Irish feminism historian was once again forced to “apologise wholly and unreservedly” this time to “Virgin Care, its employees, subsidiaries and service users, as well as my readers, for writing over 46 blog entries that contained false, inaccurate and defamatory statements”. Ouch…

Surely no Labour MP would be stupid enough to read something on the good doctor’s blog and quote it, almost verbatim, in the House of Commons? Step forward Debbie Abrahams, Andy Burnham’s PPS. At PMQs on 24th October, Abrahams asked David Cameron:

“Can the Prime Minister explain the relationship between Virgin Care donations to the Tory party, the number of Virgin Care shareholders on clinical commissioning group boards and the number of NHS contracts that have been awarded to Virgin Care?”

Where could she possibly have got the inspiration for her question? Last night Clarke had to admit that “Virgin Care has NOT made donations to a political party” and “Virgin Care does NOT have hundreds of “sleeper cells” in Clinical Commissioning Groups”. As we went to pixel Abrahams’ offices were not answering their phones, and her re-tweet of Clarke praising her question was mysteriously deleted this morning:

debbie2

Will she also be issuing an apology and retraction?

The Weirdest MP Christmas Card Yet

Godless, Christmas-less and just a bit odd…

Found a worse one? Get in touch…

HuffPo Brain Drain Continues as ‘Mehdi-Effect’ Hits Traffic

The Huffington Post has lost yet another of their original hires as Dina Rickman jumps ship to go to The Week. She tells Media Guido that she has enjoyed her time there, adding tellingly that her move is to do with “career development”. A wise exit then…

With the near constant exodus of talent, things aren’t looking up for the site. The original HuffPo political team hires of Chris Wimpress and Dina Rickman have both left following Mehdi’s arrival. Noticeably the job advert to replace Rickman says that the UK site was “launched in July 2011 and has already surpassed 2.5m unique visitors per month”. Funny that back in September AOL were boasting that the site had nearly double that at 4.1 million. They call that downturn the Mehdi-effect…

Murdoch Plans 7 Day Times

7-day-times

The editor of The Times, James Harding, resigned after becoming aware that he no longer enjoyed the confidence of Rupert Murdoch. John Witherow, the long-serving editor of The Sunday Times, is the front-runner to be appointed editor of The Times. News Corporation is reported to have taken legal advice on whether it could merge the two newspapers into a more economic seven-day operation. During the Harding era broadsheet newspaper circulations have collapsed:

circulation-falls

rupert-murdochWhen he bought the paper in 1981 Rupert Murdoch gave an undertaking “to preserve the separate identities of The Times and The Sunday Times.” Given that The Times is losing nearly a million pounds a week that is an undertaking that is no longer viable in the digital age. In the circumstances the government is unlikely to stand in the way of a rationalisation of the papers into a 7-day operation, like its tabloid sister The Sun…



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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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