Government Loses Lords Customs Union Vote

As expected the government has lost the vote in the Lords on the customs union by 348-225. This will be spun up as a huge win for Remainers that means we are likely to stay in the customs union. That is not the case. Even Remainers Guido has spoken to today agree that is an exaggeration – the vote only requires the government to make a statement outlining its position. The problem is it provides room in the Commons for Remainers to toughen up their amendment there, causing potential problems down the line. No10 must hold firm – staying in a customs union is not Brexit…

Mission Accomplished: Targeted Strike on Corbyn

We may draw the following conclusions from today’s Prime Minister’s Question time: under a Corbyn government, Napoleon would have won at Waterloo, Roger Bannister would have tripped in the third minute of his four minute mile and Germany would have stuck away three goals in extra time of the 1966 World Cup final. If Jeremy Corbyn ever runs this country, at the very moment he takes office, the fabric of the universe will mysteriously and instantly reverse itself at the molecular level. Time will begin to run backwards. Fate will become only the constant advent of ever more impossible outcomes. To Orwell’s dreadful triad (‘War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength’) Corbyn will add the final term. Victory is defeat…

Imagine the Windrush scandal as a killer robot manufactured in the secret basement of Momentum HQ to destroy the Home Secretary and directly implicate Theresa May in arguably racist deportations. This monolith to the government’s incompetence, insensitivity and – yes – bigotry, loomed on a collision orbit over Downing Street last night, a political Death Star of unique power. Moreover, Windrush isn’t just an attack line: for the opposition it has the additional benefit of being a real-life scandal, rather than the usual confected fare. Wielded by Jeremy Corbyn, this philosopher’s stone of rare power was instantly denuded so as to become as effective as a marzipan machine gun. Was there ever a man in British political history who could be more relied upon to fire a blank than he? Continue reading

Labour Candidate’s Think Tank Defended Ken and Jackie Walker

Latest in Guido’s Candidate Watch series: Labour’s newly-selected parliamentary candidate in South Thanet runs a pro-Corbyn ‘think tank’ which repeatedly defended Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker during their anti-Semitism scandals and questioned the “Zionist sympathies” of John Bercow. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, a socialist historian who wrote a book praising Castro, was selected in Thanet earlier this month after joining the Labour Party when Corbyn became leader. She also runs a think tank called The Centre for Cultural Change. Whois records show Gordon-Nesbitt registered its website and there are no other staff listed at the organisation. Its Twitter account has repeatedly promoted Gordon-Nesbitt.

Let’s have a look at some of the tweets from their account. It has repeatedly defended Jackie Walker and said allegations of anti-Semitism are motivated by “those who seek to silence anti-Zionist voices”.

Tweeting at Thanet Labour, the account said anti-Semitism allegations are “an attempt to discredit the left”. This line of argument has been specifically condemned by the Labour leadership in recent weeks.

It has tweeted about John Bercow’s “Zionist sympathies” and implied his links to Israel stopped an investigation into Israeli influence in Britain. The Speaker is Jewish, so these tweets are especially grim…

And it has defended Ken, asking “Has anyone looked into Hitler’s policy on Zionism? Might not be mutually exclusive with his later actions”.

Assume Gordon-Nesbitt will be deselected if Corbyn is really taking anti-Semitism seriously…

Tory Candidate Declines Interview Because He is “Going on Holiday in the Morning”

A Tory council candidate seeking re-election next month declined to give an interview to his local paper because he was “busy and going on holiday in the morning”. The Plymouth Herald reported Cllr David James gave hacks short shrift when asked to participate in a piece on the campaign in which candidates from all parties were asked to give their views:

“We wanted to give him the opportunity to engage with the people of Plympton and listen to their concerns. Unfortunately, his wife declined the interview on his behalf as he was busy and they are going on holiday in the morning. When asked again about the possibility of a quick chat she said that there was “no chance”.

The councillor has represented the city’s Plympton St Mary ward since 1997. When you’re holidaying during the campaign…

May: Labour Took Decision to Destroy Windrush Landing Cards in 2009

Corbyn unable to think on his feet as May delivers this blow. Bercow comes to his help. Jezza somehow manages to miss this own goal in one of the government’s worst weeks…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister
Q1 Neil o’Brien (Harborough) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 18 April.
Q2 Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)
Q3 Derek Twigg (Halton)
Q4 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)
Q5 John Spellar (Warley)
Q6 John Stevenson (Carlisle)
Q7 Scott Mann (North Cornwall)
Q8 David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
Q9 Chris Davies (Brecon and Radnorshire)
Q10 Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge)
Q11 Stephen Kerr (Stirling)
Q12 Afzal Khan (Manchester, Gorton)
Q13 Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall)
Q14 Ben Lake (Ceredigion)

Q15 Frank Field (Birkenhead)

Comments in the comments…

Jock and Awe: Tory MP’s Ba’ath Banter

A Tory MP has undertaken a banter lad tour of sites associated with Saddam Hussein’s despotic rule of Iraq. Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson posed for cheeky snaps on the tyrant’s throne during a visit to Baghdad. He wrote on social media:

“Another terrific day in Iraq. I was able to channel my inner dictator with a visit to Saddam’s military parade ground The Swords of Qadisiyah (Victory Arch) and then sitting on Saddam’s throne at the British embassy”.

Must’ve been a nice change from Aberdeen…

Rudd Allies Claim Brexiters Stoking Windrush Scandal

A brave intervention from ‘Cabinet allies’ of Amber Rudd in The Times, who have gone full Skwawkbox and suggested the Home Office’s recent woes are a part of a campaign by Brexit-supporting MPs to undermine the Home Secretary. Almost impressively tone-deaf to brief the papers that the Windrush scandal, Caroline Nokes’ car crash media round, soaring violent crime and the ensuing cock-up of the violent crime strategy launch have all been exaggerated by Leavers to do in Rudd. The Windrush revelations have been led by that famous Leave-supporting newspaper The Guardian and half of these fiascos are Theresa May’s fault anyway. To be fair to Amber, the Times piece does say halfway down that she “is understood to reject such conspiracy theories”. That other ministers are indulging such theories goes some way to explaining the cross-government handling of the Windrush fiasco…

London Office Rentals Soaring #DespiteBrexit

London office rentals are soaring according to two separate reports released this week. 2.3 million square feet of office space was let in central London in the three months to March 31, according to estate agent JLL. That’s 14% up on last year and 5% up on the ten year average… 

Meanwhile agents CBRE say they have had the strongest first quarter since 2012. The firm estimates more than 9 million square feet of office space is being sought in London. Just last November the FT claimed the future of the London office rental market “looks distinctly grey… Companies are already rushing to secure space elsewhere. European rental markets are booming.” Look forward to their update…

Owen Jones Calls Out Labour Nepotism

In 10pm tweet last night Owen Jones went after moderate Labour MP and Corbyn critic Angela Smith: “hiring your husband as your researcher is blatant nepotism”. Guido doesn’t say this often, but he agrees with Owen. This site has covered the MPs who employ their family members and connected parties on large taxpayer-funded contracts for years. Now Owen has picked up the campaign against nepotism, Guido looks forward to him calling out the jobs given to family members of top Corbynistas:

  • Seb Corbyn, son of Jezza, in John McDonnell’s office
  • David Prescott, son of Prezza, in Corbyn’s office
  • Laura Murray, the Shadow Cabinet adviser and daughter of Corbyn aide Andrew
  • Deirdre Campbell, caseworker for her husband the Corbynista MP Ronnie
  • Jackie Bate, office manager for her husband the Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey
  • Hilary Lavery, secretary to her husband Ian
  • Michelle Morris, secretary to Grahame
  • Ish Osamor, “senior communications officer” to his mum Kate
  • Nadeem Ashraf, who works for his wife, the Shadow Justice minister Yasmin Qureshi
  • Lois Blasenheim, “executive secretary” to her boyfriend Dennis Skinner
  • Paul Townsend, who works for his wife the Shadow Commons Leader Valerie Vaz

Bet they’re all really grateful for Owen’s tweet…

Ruth Smeeth Reads Anti-Semitic Abuse She’s Received From Corbynistas

Most powerful moment of the anti-Semitism debate: Ruth Smeeth reading the anti-Semitic abuse she has received from Corbyn supporters. Remarkable that Corbyn was not there to hear it.

John Mann Reveals Rape Threats Against His Wife From Far-Left Anti-Semites

Corbyn walked out after Luciana Berger’s speech so he missed John Mann telling the House about the rape threats against his wife from far-left anti-Semites. Jezza must have had something more important to do.

Corbyn Chuntering During Anti-Semitism Debate

Rather than accept the legitimate criticism of Labour and himself during the anti-Semitism debate, Corbyn is chuntering and heckling those who mention him. At one point he was heard to comment “disgraceful“. He just doesn’t get it.

Ian Austin: Labour “A Disgrace” For Failing to Expel Ken

His intervention wins applause in the Commons…

Sterling At Highest Level Since Referendum

Sterling hit its highest level since the EU referendum today, beating a previous post-Brexit high in January. The pound reached $1.437 this morning. The pound has gained more than 5% against the dollar so far this year…

Analysts are calling the pound “the darling of the currency world”. As the City becomes more bullish on a deal, the Project Fear predictions – not least those of the Treasury – on the long-term weakness of the pound are being disproved. No humility on display, however…

Corbyn’s Pointless Vanity Vote Defeated 317-266

Embarrassing. 

Twitter Down

Twitter is down – thousands of users have reported service interruptions and difficulties accessing their timelines. The Down Detector website recorded a spike in outages. TweetDeck seems unaffected. You’ve gone too far this time, Vlad…

Labour Cold Case Unit: Four Never-Ending Investigations

Back in December Guido asked what progress Labour had made on their internal investigations into MPs accused of various forms of wrongdoing. At the time probes had been launched into Jared O’Mara, Keith Vaz, Kelvin Hopkins and Ivan Lewis. No progress has been made in five months. The O’Mara investigation has now been delayed again, and there has been no update on the other three. The supposed Vaz investigation has been ongoing for a year and a half. Ava Etemadzadeh, the woman who accused Hopkins of harassment, says she has no idea when her case will be heard. There is still no date set for the Lewis hearing, yet he is back in parliament and voting with Labour without taking the whip. A fifth MP, whose identity Guido knows but is not revealing to protect his alleged victim, is accused of wife-beating. He has not even been suspended. These investigations are a sham – Labour clearly has no intention of properly holding their MPs to account. Guido wouldn’t be surprised if Blairite Lewis gets thrown under a bus and the rest get away with it…

Labour Delays Jared O’Mara Probe

Labour’s investigation into Jared O’Mara has been delayed by the resignation of their governance director John Stolliday, according to reports. Jared has been filing written questions and voting in accordance with the Labour whip but still hasn’t ever spoken in the chamber. The constituents of Sheffield Hallam effectively unrepresented… 

Tories “Sh*tting on Us” Claims Labour Leaflet

The most foul-mouthed flyer of the local election campaign: a Labour leaflet delivered in Huddersfield claims the Tories are “sh*tting on” people to “fund tax cuts for the wealthy and giant corporations”. The mailshot, promoting councillor Mahmood Aktar, has been halted and remaining leaflets scrapped.[…] Read the rest

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Wes Streeting speaking in the anti-Semitism debate says Jewish leaders

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