Guido’s exclusive that Alex Belardinelli, henchman to Ed Balls, is to be replaced by Damian McBride, was always destined to remain exclusive.
Some people have no sense of humour:
Others revealingly project their own Machiavellian ways:
It always amuses Guido when Balls and Brown refer to the Prime Mentalist’s old spin doctor as “Mr McBride”. As Guido revealed in his Sun column yesterday, Balls has been quick to dash speculation that he might bring McPoison back into the fray.
The Shadow Chancellor’s spokesmen tells Guido Balls and McBride have only “bumped into each other twice” since Easter 2009, once at an Arsenal match and then at a Labour fundraising dinner. He insists “they’ve never discussed him coming back to work for the Labour Party”. McBride’s tales from Number 10 will certainly spice up Labour conference this September…
Alex Belardinelli, long-time Political Adviser to Ed Balls, is moving to lobbyists Tetra Strategy – where his girlfriend Ellie Gellard already works on digital strategy. The move is scheduled to happen in the autumn after Labour Party conference.
Speculation is mounting that he could make way for a rehabilitated Damian McBride following party conference, when McBride is aiming to complete his public rehabilitation with the publication of his memoirs.
Labour sources say Balls has been unnerved by persistent speculation that he might be replaced by Alistair Darling in a re-shuffle by Ed Miliband ahead of the General Election. Bringing back heavy-weight Damian McBride would put rivals on notice that he would not go quietly and there would be consequences. An implicit threat they understand all too well…
Last year Belardinelli was humiliated when emails leaked in which he admitted a “screw up” meant Labour failed to vote against the reduction in the 50p rate of tax. The emails revealed he concocted a false line to spin to the media to cover up the screw up. Belardinelli worked for Tom Watson before Ed Balls and knows his way around Westminster and the media. In the event of Labour returning to government he will be able to cash in on his extensive contacts.
UPDATE: Important note.
Apple addict and Doctor Who fanatic Tom Harris, the likeable if slightly geeky Labour MP, got into a bit of bother when it was revealed he successively claimed for three iPads on expenses, insisting that they were for his staff and, according to the rules, that they were needed “wholly, exclusively, and necessarily in the performance of their parliamentary duties”. When Guido queried the use of iPads by staff versus cheaper computers with keyboards on which to type letters to constituents, Tom assured Guido that it wasn’t just him upgrading to the latest models. Very disappointing therefore to see his tweet to SFX magazine: