Who Is On Question Time Tonight

Northern Ireland edition.

Starmer Demands Talks Move On Despite Labour Voting to Block Progress

Sir Keir Starmer has written to David Davis this afternoon slamming him for failing to get the Brexit talks moved on to the next stage. Starmer is demanding the government “work round the clock to find a resolution to the current situation” and says DD must “recognise the gravity of the situation”. Hang on a minute…

Last week 18 Labour MEPs voted against moving the talks onto the next stage. Labour had the chance to vote for trade talks to begin, yet they voted with the EU and against the UK government position. And Sir Keir is accusing DD of not recognising “the gravity of the situation”? Davis has written back to Starmer:

“You are of course right to raise the importance of enabling the negotiations to move onto discussions about our future relationship. So to that end, I wonder why it is that your party has not taken action against the eighteen Labour MEPs who voted last week to block further talks. I recently wrote to your party leader on this subject, but am awaiting a response. Perhaps you could use this opportunity to clarify your party’s position on the European Parliament resolution passed last week?”

Not sure Sir Keir thought this one through…

Melania Sports SamCam’s Cefinn

The queen of beltway babes Melania Trump (47) is spotted sporting a stylish piece from Cefinn, Samantha Cameron’s fashion range. The First Lady looked gorgeous in green as she showed off the £295 green belted muslin shirt dress, which she wore to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL ice-hockey team yesterday. SamCam founded Cefinn in February, pitching it her debut styles as: “sleek, fashion-conscious affordable office wear”. Good for Anglo-US exports…

Knighthood For Grumbling Ex-Minister

Mike Penning was sacked by Theresa May in June and was accused by colleagues of being one of the grumbling MPs on board with the move against the PM last week. Well, he’s just been given a knighthood. Suppose that’s one way to keep him happy…

Mounting Buzzfeed Losses as Staff Salaries Average £60,000

The bottom line for Buzzfeed in 2016 is that it lost £3,543,554, which when added to the rolled up losses since 2013 means some £12,289,579 has been sunk into the venture so far. When it launched Buzzfeed derided display advertising as outdated and instead offered brands sponsored advertorial content. The search for revenue means you now see traditional display adverts on their homepage. The UK operation is small change for the parent company which is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into video in the hope that they will be able to divert TV advertising revenue into digital video revenue. This is the big bet for the many media ventures following the shining path of Vice News….

Rumours from inside the organisation that management consultants have been sent in are worrisome for the 200 odd Buzzfeed staff on – the filed accounts reveal – generous average packages of some £60,000. On the positive side Buzzfeed doubled their revenue last year to over £20 million. If they can do that again this year they will be extremely profitable…

Rudd Schmoozes Backbenchers Over Sushi and Sandwiches

You can usually spot which Tories are mounting leadership bids by seeing who has been hosting colleagues for evening drinkies. Amber Rudd has taken a more metropolitan approach – yesterday she schmoozed backbenchers over sushi and sandwiches at a lunch held in her office after PMQs. Rudd was working the room hard, one MP said: “It was obviously a thinly disguised leadership bid”. Others present say the get-together was more about getting colleagues on board with the immigration bill. Those huge donations are being well spent…

Corbyn: I’d Vote Remain Now

But did he vote Remain then?

Lawson: Sack Saboteur Hammond

Nigel Lawson calls for Philip Hammond to go: “what he is doing is very close to sabotage”. Strong words summing up some of the Brexiteer feeling towards the Chancellor this week…

LibDems Threaten “Civil War” If Cable Promotes Rennard

Guido’s story about pervy peer Chris Rennard worming his way back in with the LibDems has caused quite a row. Rennard is an old friend of Cable – more modern-minded LibDems say their leader is too old school to understand why it is not appropriate for their Harvey Weinstein to still be knocking about. Rennard ran Cable’s campaign in Twickenham in June, he was in Vince’s campaign office on polling day, went leafleting outside Twickenham station and posed for photos with Cable and his constituents. The LibDems are rumoured to be having a reshuffle this afternoon, and Vince is said to be considering promoting Rennard to an official role. This is causing immense anger among senior LibDems, who are threatening “civil war” if Cable attempts to get his old mate back in. Surely Vince can see the problem, though don’t remember him joining the criticism of Weinstein this week…

UPDATE: No “shadow cabinet” job for Rennard in the reshuffle. Would have been a bold move from Vince.

Corbyn Won’t Say If He’d Have Droned Sally Jones

“It is difficult to give an answer to a hypothetical question… I think people who have committed crimes ought to be put on trial.”

Spoiler: he wouldn’t.

Barnier: Withdrawal Terms “Nothing to Do” With Future Relations

No progress during this week’s round of negotiations, as was always going to be the case. The EU’s position has always been unreasonable: no trade talks until we agree the bill. Barnier’s claim that agreeing withdrawal terms is “nothing to do” with the future relationship is just wrong. No one can realistically expect us to blindly commit to a sum until discussions about trade at least begin. Interestingly Barnier essentially admitted it is his mandate from the EU27 that has caused the deadlock – he conceded the order not to move talks on is “precise” and when asked directly if he would try to loosen it replied: “I’ll explore the way forward. If there’s necessary will I will explore ways of getting out of this deadlock”. No sign of budging from the EU27 yet…

UPDATE: Judging by who retweeted Henry Newman’s tweet on this point – Christopher Meyer, Chris Lockwood of the Economist and former FCO perm sec Peter Ricketts – Remainers are increasingly coming round to the view that the EU is being unreasonable.

Labour Double Standards Over 0345 Number

At PMQs yesterday Jez took a swipe at DWP’s universal credit 0345 number helpline. But today Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams was caught out on LBC unable to explain why Labour uses exactly the same kind of premium rate telephone system to recruit party members:

“I don’t know. I think you make a very valid point. I had no idea about this and yes, we need to get our own house in order as well…”

Specifically asked if the use of the line represented double standards, Abrahams answered:

“I agree with you. So can we move on.”

Doh!

Vince Welcomes LibDems’ Harvey Weinstein Back Into Fold

With Westminster calling on Theresa May to strip Harvey Weinstein of his CBE, the LibDems are still letting their own handsy wrong ‘un get away with it. Bridget Harris, one of Lord Rennard’s victims, has compared the former LibDem chief executive to the disgraced Hollywood mogul in an interview with Emma Barnett. Ali Goldsworthy, who was also harassed by the pervy peer, says Weinstein and Rennard are a case of “Same playbook, different location”. Surely the LibDems won’t be having anything to do with Rennard, right?

Wrong. This is Lord Rennard two weeks ago on a trip to Brussels with the LibDem chief executive and a third of the party’s MPs. Rennard and Vince Cable are old friends, LibDem sources say he is trying to get back into the fold and judging by this photo he is having some success. This trip would have been known about by Cable’s office – they obviously did nothing to prevent Rennard’s attendance. One is a disgraced power-broker despised and loathed by young women in his field, the other is Harvey Weinstein…

UPDATE: Another LibDem source gets in touch to say Rennard effectively ran Cable’s election campaign in Twickenham – here’s a photo he posted on polling day of them campaigning together:

There is a battle going on behind the scenes to convince Vince not to give him a job…

74% Say No Deal is Better Than A Bad Deal

The vast majority of the public believes “no deal is better than a bad deal” according to this new Sky Data poll. A decisive 74% agreed the country should walk away rather than accept a punishment deal. Just 26% think “any deal is better than no deal”…

The sentiment holds true across the age range. Among 18-34 year-olds support for “no deal is better than a bad deal” is at 75%. Among 35-54 year-olds it is 74% and 76% among those aged 55+. Near universal support for no deal among the public and yet the government is doing little to prepare…

Give Them What They Want

Last night Guido went to see Ink at the theatre. Not the usual luvvie whine about Rupert Murdoch and The Sun. Guido paid £80 for his ticket and it was well worth it…

Mail Calls on May to Sack Hammond

The Daily Mail, which has remained steadfastly loyal to Theresa May and whose view she values highly, says “treacherous” Hammond must go:

“Dismal, defeatist, relentlessly negative, Philip ‘Eeyore’ Hammond might just as well run up the white flag to Jean-Claude Juncker and the Brussels bureaucracy. At every stage in the Brexit process, the inordinately self-satisfied Chancellor has struck a profoundly pessimistic note over the country’s prospects in the wider world outside the European Union. In defiance of Theresa May, he has called for a three-year transition period after withdrawal, while welcoming the doom-mongering CBI’s calls for an indefinite delay…

It is not as if the man is much of a threat to her. With all the charisma of a gloom-laden undertaker, he has no personal following at Westminster. Nor has he so far proved an effective Chancellor. On the contrary, his Budget was a disaster, with his hastily withdrawn plan to attack the self-employed. Meanwhile, there are capable replacements in the wings…

At the earliest opportunity, she needs a reshuffle to stamp her authority on the party and give new talent the chance to revive the Cabinet. What is absolutely clear is that this lack of grip cannot go on. At this crucial juncture in our history, we need a Government with vision and purpose — not half-hearted, lugubrious appeasers like Mr Hammond.”

Today’s Sun editorial meanwhile calls Hammond “grossly negligent”. May wanted to fire Hammond after the election but the result meant she was too weak to go through with it. The broadcasters and Remain media obsess about Boris’ perceived disloyalty, when there was nothing in his 4,000 word article which contradicted government policy. Hammond on the other hand has consistently argued with Number 10, whether on the customs union, length of the transition, budgeting for no deal or his general gloomy tone. May had to slap him down once again yesterday. Compare and contrast the broadcasters’ coverage of Hammond and Boris to see where their views lie…

About “Corbyn’s Best PMQs”…

It only took one of the most disastrous weeks for a Prime Minister in modern British political history to spur Jeremy Corbyn into a barely half-competent PMQs performance. If Jez can install a hard-leftist as May’s ENT specialist, block book the nation’s comic hecklers, get a Momentum plant in a Velcro factory and arrange for Tory conference to be held weekly he’ll be really flying.

Until then pundits are at risk of overstating Jezza’s new-found ‘proficiency’, which entirely consisted in just about managing to ask all of questions on the same half-tricky topic in the right order. Farcically, he still can’t go on Brexit…

Continue reading

“Grunter” Osborne Works Out at Beckham’s £295-a-Month Gym

Over on Instagram George Osborne has been spotted by a fellow fitness fanatic at Barry’s Bootcamp, the VIP gym to the stars which boasts David Beckham and Ellie Goulding among its clientele. Originally established in Hollywood, Barry’s London in Euston claims to offer “the best workout in the world”, and promises:

“Your loved ones will probably see a difference in 5 weeks, and your friends (the observant ones, and the ones who have a crush on you) will probably notice in 2-3 months.”

Apparently “You’ll feel better about yourself, you’ll be more motivated to work out, and seeing the heads whipping around as you stroll by doesn’t exactly hurt your ego”. Disturbingly the Instagram gym bunny who spotted Osborne writes: “I can confirm he’s a grunter”. Membership can cost up to £295-a-month. 5:2 diet not cutting it?

High Tax Tories

The budget is a month away and Guido expects little relief from the Chancellor. The Tories like to say they are “the party of low taxes”. Which rings a little hollow when the tax burden is now higher than it was under the dead hand of Gordon Brown in 2009 and it will, if the OBR is correct, hit a level not seen for two generations. It is as if Nigel Lawson never happened…

Britain now has a higher tax burden than Spain, the share of GDP taken in tax is a full 10 points higher than it is in Ireland and 8 points higher than the traditionally low tax USA. Governments will never be able to cut taxes as long as people look to the state to solve all their problems. The welfare state is a constant in most households, not just a safety net when you are sick or unemployed. In work benefits subsidise low pay. Having children – even if you can’t afford them – is financially incentivised. Labour bleat on about welfare cuts yet more than half of households receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. This is not sustainable. If tax evasion is anything like the problem the left claim it is baffling that more tax is being collected nowadays than in the 70s…

Gordon Brown used to talk about prudence when he was squandering money. George Osborne claimed he would fix the roof and balance the budget in 5 years. The deficit lasted longer than Osborne’s political career…

The only way to cut taxes is to grow the economy. The way to turbo-charge the economy is to cut taxes on individuals and enterprises. The Tories seem to have forgotten that their purpose is not to just manage the welfare state. What is the point of the Tories if they don’t cut taxes?

BBC Head of News Runners & Riders

Within minutes of James Harding announcing he is off, senior BBC editors immediately asked themselves: ‘Enough about him, what does this mean for me?’ All the gossip at New Broadcasting House is about their next Head of News. As ever MediaGuido brings you your early runners and riders:

  • Jonathan Munro: The early frontrunner, Munro is currently Head of Newsgathering and effectively Harding’s deputy.
[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

IDS responds to Juncker’s pints analogy earlier:

“Mr Juncker knows a little bit more about the bar than perhaps many of us do.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Davis: Brake Leaked His Own Letter Davis: Brake Leaked His Own Letter
Brake Misleads Bercow About Guido Story Brake Misleads Bercow About Guido Story
Labour Charge Electric Campaign Vehicle in Parliament Labour Charge Electric Campaign Vehicle in Parliament
Mr Rayner’s Alternative to Badger Cull Mr Rayner’s Alternative to Badger Cull
Sir Cover-Up, Sir Craig and the Curious Case of His Memoirs Sir Cover-Up, Sir Craig and the Curious Case of His Memoirs
Alun Cairns’ Tippy-Toes Pose Alun Cairns’ Tippy-Toes Pose
Pidcock Publicly Owned Pidcock Publicly Owned
Young Labour: Leave NATO, Abolish the City and Reject Two-State Solution Young Labour: Leave NATO, Abolish the City and Reject Two-State Solution
Salmond and Tasmina’s Boozy City Break Salmond and Tasmina’s Boozy City Break
Sunday Show Highlights Sunday Show Highlights
Tory MP’s Two Nicknames for Hammond Tory MP’s Two Nicknames for Hammond
Sadiq: “I’m an Uber Man” Sadiq: “I’m an Uber Man”
Tom Brake’s Epic Legatum Whinge Tom Brake’s Epic Legatum Whinge
Juncker: Thanks For Saving Us in The War, Now You Must Pay Juncker: Thanks For Saving Us in The War, Now You Must Pay
Tom Brake’s Epic Legatum Whinge Backfires Tom Brake’s Epic Legatum Whinge Backfires
Starmer Admits Public Clueless as to Labour’s Brexit Policy Starmer Admits Public Clueless as to Labour’s Brexit Policy
Melania Sports Sam Cam’s Cefinn Melania Sports Sam Cam’s Cefinn
Mounting Buzzfeed Losses as Staff Salaries Average £60,000 Mounting Buzzfeed Losses as Staff Salaries Average £60,000
Vince Welcomes LibDems’ Harvey Weinstein Back Into Fold Vince Welcomes LibDems’ Harvey Weinstein Back Into Fold
74% Say No Deal Better Than A Bad Deal 74% Say No Deal Better Than A Bad Deal