More Selection Shenanigans

Guido’s phone is ringing off the hook with complaints about Tory selection shenanigans, which will all be done and dusted this week.

Jack Brereton, Greg Hands, Joe Rich

Stoke on Trent South is likely to go Tory in June for the first time since the Second World War. The Tory candidate from last time is Joe Rich, he added 4% to the Tory vote share in 2015 putting him just 2,539 votes from taking the seat. Having worked the seat hard since 2014 he has a lot of support from local Tory councillors.

CCHQ have told the local Tories they must select Jack Brereton from a list of one. Jack stood in neighbouring Stoke Central, where he came third in the recent by-election to second placed Paul Nuttall. Ironically the picture above shows Jack on the campaign trail being supported by Joe in February.

Local Tories feel that Joe Rich deserves to fight the seat this election after working it for years. Brereton works for Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The suspicion is that she has engineered the seat switch for him. Guido can’t understand how Jack Brereton can honourably pinch the seat off his neighbour Joe Rich who was working the seat when he was still a student…

Elsewhere the former MP for Brentford & Isleworth, Mary Macleod, has emailed the local Tory membership setting out her stall in great detail, promising to build “on a strong foundation” bragging that she increased her share of the vote by 5.7% from 2010. Unfortunately her victorious Labour opponent Ruth Cadbury added 10.2% to her vote share in 2015…

She concluded her email with a handy guide to voting for her selection: 

Rival candidates are crying foul, that this is a breach of the selection rules and probably a breach of the Data Protection Act. Ooops…

Malia Bouattia Ousted as NUS President

At last some good news for students – Malia “Zionist-controlled media” Bouattia has been ousted as NUS president, to be replaced by the Union of Jewish Students-endorsed Shakira Martin. Oh well, Malia can always be a LibDem candidate somewhere…

May to Corbyn: “You Are Not Up to the Job”

Election PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) What recent assessment she has made of the (a) performance of the economy and (b) adequacy of provision of public services in the West Midlands; and if she will make a statement.

Q2 Richard Drax (South Dorset) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 26 April.

Q3 Ben Howlett (Bath)

Q4 Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland)

Q5 Jason McCartney (Colne Valley)

Q6 Rachael Maskell (York Central)

Q7 Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West)

Q8 Mary Robinson (Cheadle)

Q9 Byron Davies (Gower)

Q10 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q11 Stephen Timms (East Ham)

Q12 Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test)

Q13 Steven Paterson (Stirling)

Q14 Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South)

Q15 Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson (Lagan Valley)

Comments in the comments…

Tory Lead 23 Points, UKIP on 4%

New IpsosMORI poll:

Con 49 (+6), Lab 26 (-4), LD 13 (nc), UKIP 4 (down 2).

That’s the biggest Conservative lead since September 2008. Theresa May also has the best “most capable” leadership score ever, better than Blair or Thatcher.

“Some 61% chose Mrs May, with 23 per cent picking Mr Corbyn.

“Three-times election winner Baroness Thatcher never came close – her best score was 48% which she first hit in May 1983 on the eve of a landslide triumph against Michael Foot.

“Labour’s most successful election winner Tony Blair touched 52% in May 2001, just before he crushed William Hague in the general election.”

Looks like the end for UKIP…

Labour Peer Endorses Andy Street

Labour peer Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya has implictly endorsed Conservative Andy Street’s campaign to become West Midlands Mayor. Asked by the Coventry Telegraph who he was backing in the forthcoming mayoral election, Warwick Manufacturing Group chairman Bhattacharyya said:

“Well, you know, Andy is here. We have invited the others as well. The university is neutral. But the fact is Andy is here and the Secretary of State is here and my output is here. I think you will have to speculate for yourself.”

The slap in the face for Siôn Simon shows that even Labour-backing captains of industry want a Tory West Midlands mayor…

Tories Threaten to Sue Locals Trying to Deselect Lopresti

Things are getting nasty in Filton and Bradley Stoke, where Tory MP Jack Lopresti faces a deselection battle. Guido hears the all-powerful association executive is on Team Lopresti, yet the members want him gone and have organised a petition to the executive to let them have a vote. On Monday the anti-Lopresti faction sent a letter to members calling for him to go. In response the local party chairman Barbara Lewis has emailed all members claiming a data breach and threatening to sue whoever is organising against Lopresti. She says: “When the person who sent it is identified, appropriate legal action will be taken”.

Bit of a stretch calling it a data breach, there are only a few dozen members and they all know each other personally. The anti-Lopresti faction have dubbed the move “Soviet“. Love rats, legal threats and poison pen letters. To think Labour types used to moan about Momentum… This is far tastier!

David Ward Blames West For PC Keith Palmer’s Murder

In the aftermath of the Westminster terror attack, David Ward, the LibDem candidate in Bradford East, blamed the West for PC Keith Palmer’s murder:

Ward has been on LBC this morning to explain his comments and doubled down – agreeing with Stop the War that Britain has “reaped a whirlwind for Iraq and Afghanistan”:

Becoming a problem for Farron…

UPDATE: LibDem spokesman condemns Ward:

“David Ward’s comments are an affront to the victims of the Westminster attack. He absolutely does not speak for the party and we disassociate ourselves completely from his remarks.”

Peter Lilley Standing Down

“With some sadness I have decided not to seek re-election for Hitchin and Harpenden.

It has been an immense privilege over the last 34 years to represent the people of Hitchin and Harpenden and, before the boundary changes, the people of St Albans.

It has been a particular pleasure to work with an association which has been so supportive. They have my gratitude for their unfailing support.

As a result of their hard work, we have seen the Conservative vote, share of vote and majority increase in every general election – first in St Albans and then in Hitchin and Harpenden.

Now we have in Theresa May an outstanding Prime Minister in whom I have great confidence.

I profoundly hope she will be returned with a strong mandate to complete the process of leaving the EU and to seize the opportunities which regaining control of our laws, border, money and trade will give our country.

She, and whoever the people of Hitchin and Harpenden elect to succeed me, will have my full support.”

The Tories have got a little list of people to replace him…

Clive Lewis Slammed by Pollsters ICM for Spreading Fake News

Clive Lewis has been slammed by pollsters ICM for spreading a fake news graphic showing a purported Labour lead in his Norwich South constituency. After realising the research firm’s name had been appended to the graph which shows Labour on 36% and the Tories on 28%, ICM’s Martin Boon slapped Lewis down in public:

Arguably Lewis has fallen foul of Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 in claiming false polling results for other candidates. Under the Act it’s an illegal practice to make a false statement about a rival candidate “for the purpose of affecting the return of any candidate at the election”. Lewis is yet to withdraw the tweet…

Age Not Class Greatest Indicator of Voting Intention

Striking data from YouGov:

May, unlike Cameron, does not have a women problem:

She has a youth problem:

Labour’s youth problem is they don’t vote. The old saying still rings true

“If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.”

What is it about leaving education, becoming a taxpayer, a homeowner and a parent that shifts voters to the right? The reality of responsibilities…

Top Corbynista Sam Tarry Parachuted in to Hull West

As Guido reported yesterday evening, top Corbyn campaign chief and hard-left TSSA union official Sam Tarry is being parachuted in to Hull West:

Guido can reveal the final shortlist of candidates to be interviewed by Labour’s NEC selection panel today. They are:

  • David Prescott: Red Prince and son of John, aide to Jeremy Corbyn. Has the benefit of actually being local and not being a southern carpetbagger.
  • Sam Tarry: Corbyn campaign chief, Momentum man. He’s from Brighton. “Has he ever even been to Hull?” asks a local source.
  • Darren Hale: Local councillor, another Corbynista who gave a pro-Jez speech when he visited Hull.
  • Emma Hardy: Supposed moderate though considered soft and susceptible to Corbynista charms.
  • Sarah Hayward: Moderate, leader of Camden council, southerner. Though she went to Hull Uni.
  • James Anthony: Member of Unison’s National Executive Committee.
  • Josh Newlove: Blairite councillor, works for Mandelson’s think tank Policy Network.

Candidate in place by Friday. The locals would probably be happy with anyone but Tarry…

UPDATE: Emma Hardy wins the selection. Corbynistas Prescott and Tarry defeated…

Flashback: On This Day 2016

theresa may

Stronger In message exactly a year ago today

Campaign Report: 44 Days to Go

Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to national security.

Europe; we accept an end to free movement, will prioritise jobs and workers’ rights, guarantee the status of EU citizens, we’ll stop a hard Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn has waved the white flag and given Theresa May a blank cheque to pursue a divisive hard Brexit.

Labour have learnt nothing since the Referendum.

The £110 billion cost of Trident could fund 85,000 health workers – scrap nuclear weapons & spend it on our NHS.

Ruth Davidson is a horrible Tory.

Nothing in particular..

Jeremy Corbyn exit date: Q2 2017 1/3, Q3 2017 7/2, Q4 2017 14/1, 2018 or later 10/3

YouGov Wales poll Con 40% (+12), Lab 30% (-3), LD 8%(-1), Plaid 13% (nc), UKIP 6% (-7).

LibDems Select David “The Jews” Ward in Bradford

You’d have hoped David “The Jews” Ward’s career was over when he lost his seat at the last election. Alas not. The LibDems, shamelessly even by their low standards, refused to boot him out of the party. Knowing Ward’s views on ‘Zionists’ are popular among sections of the Bradford electorate, the LibDems – while criticising Labour over their anti-Semitism scandal – quietly appointed him as their parliamentary spokesman for the city. Now they have selected him as their candidate there. If Labour get completely creamed it is not impossible that Ward could make it back to parliament. Remember this the next time the LibDems ever take a stand on discrimination… 

Len Tries to Stitch Up Liverpool Walton For His Bag-Carrier

A Labour HQ source says Len McCuskey’s bag-carrier Dan Carden is trying to secure the selection in Steve Rotheram’s soon to be vacated seat of Liverpool Walton. Unite are trying to use their sway on Labour’s NEC to have Carden imposed as the candidate – remember all Labour selections are dictated centrally by the NEC. Other Labour candidates battling Carden for the seat include Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and Angela Eagle’s former aide Dan Hughes, who somewhat bizarrely also worked on Corbyn’s leadership campaign. Carden is a true believer, on the loony wing of the loony left…

Tory Selections Hit Bump in the Road

Several Tory selections across the country have hit a bump in the road as CCHQ struggles to find suitable candidates and finds itself embroiled in punch-ups with local associations. North Norfolk, which is held by LibDem Norman Lamb on a much reduced majority of 4,000, should be target seat yet is struggling to find a candidate. 2015 candidate Ann Steward has so far not been fast-tracked. Leading to fears locally that CCHQ is going to impose an unwanted candidate on the seat…

In Norwich South Clive Lewis is facing a fight to keep hold of his seat amid a strong local LibDem challenge. The Tories came second there in 2015 yet are struggling to find a candidate to take on Clive this time round.

Eric Pickles surprised his association by stepping down. Eric said on April 18 he would stand again but sometime last week a deal was done – it is widely expected he will go to the Lords and is making way for a CCHQ anointed successor. Sure enough within 24 hours of his announcement three names had already come out of London, to the annoyance of the locals who had ambitions themselves…

Simon Burns is stepping down in Chelmsford – privately it is known that the three person list is already agreed and approved and selection will be on Saturday. Vicky Ford MEP is seen as a front runner. 

In Hornchurch and Upminster there is “outrage” at the CCHQ shortlist of Mark Field’s parliamentary researcher Julia Dorkerill, former Cameron adviser Shaun Bailey and Chris Grayling’s SpAd Simon Jones. Locals there want a Brexit candidate and are threatening to spoil their ballots. CCHQ is refusing to amend the list.

Some of these are getting very messy for CCHQ…

Richard Ottoway Resigns from European Movement

Now drippingly Europhile Richard Ottaway, veteran former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, has resigned from the European Movement:

Following reports that the European Movement has combined with Open Europe [sic, should be Open Britain] to campaign in the General Election against Brexit Candidates from all parties I have resigned from the European Movement.

As a long standing member of the Conservative party and having been a Conservative MP for 28 years I cannot support an organisation that is campaigning to defeat Conservative candidates

Best wishes

Sir Richard Ottaway

Europe used to split the Conservative Party, now it splits the Europhiles…

Mirror Chicken Fattened Up for Election Slaughter

As this remarkable weight grain shows, it’s been a tough first week for the Mirror‘s left-wing chicken. He appears to have gone to seed on the campaign trail. The now very flightless bird made the three-hour schlep out of London to Great Yarmouth in order to confront Theresa May. Unfortunately, she cancelled her visit at the last minute. A wizened Mirror hack tells Guido: “I think the chicken idea might be past its prime…” Guido disagrees: our very own Guido Squawks is limbering up for action:

Radio 4 Gossips Link Peston to Today

Radio 4 sources are loudly and widely sharing concerns that Sarah Sands is planning big changes at the Today programme. They have been circulating a rumour – which has been repeated to Guido unprompted by blabbermouth non-BBC industry sources – that Sands wants Robert Peston to present the flagship programme.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

“In effect, new MPs are being elected day by day now, as, amid huge secrecy, small cabals of party bigwigs pick candidates for safe seats.”

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