Brandon Lewis is privately attempting to reassure Tory MPs about CCHQ’s investigation into Boris – as the party chairman faces an outpouring of criticism on the Tory MPs WhatsApp group from colleagues backing BoJo. In messages leaked to Guido, Zac Goldsmith asked “What on earth is the Party doing?!”, while Anne-Marie Trevelyan slammed CCHQ’s inquiry into Boris as “bizarre and frankly shocking”. Trevelyan went on to demand: “Perhaps Brandon can explain why this inquiry is happening?”
Andrea Jenkyns posted Rowan Atkinson’s comments into the group, before Andrea Leadsom backed Munira Mirza’s ConHome article backing Boris:
Steve Double revealed he had has held private talks with Brandon Lewis and James Cleverly to raise his concerns about the Boris investigation. Double says that after speaking to Lewis and Cleverly his fears have been assuaged. Could Brandon be about to climb down?
Nadine Dorries then let rip into CCHQ for briefing out the announcement of the Boris investigation – against the usual protocol that these things are kept private – and criticised the “private chats with Brandon and James”:
Seems clear from their WhatsApp group that Tory MPs are backing Boris and want CCHQ to get a grip. Time for Brandon to drop it and move on?
GDP growth rates for this year’s second quarter are in, and despite uncertainty, Brexit Britain bowling along with impressive and better than expected 0.4% growth, double the rate of the first quarter, despite the noticeable ramp up in continuity project fear’s dire no-deal warnings. Meanwhile the Eurozone grew on average by 0.3%, and France by just 0.2%. It’s a good job we aren’t into the Eurozone…
Why are dividends so important to equity investors?
Income fund managers constantly bang on about dividends. Maybe it’s in our genetic makeup but actually dividends should be important for all equity investors. In my mind there are five key reasons for this:
Total returns – I can bore you by reciting data from numerous studies showing dividend yield and dividend growth make up the majority of an investor’s total return over the long run but it would be more interesting to look at a real time example. I bought Imperial Brands for the Trust 5 years ago when the stock was trading on an 11x price to earnings multiple. Today the multiple is still at 11x. The market is valuing the company at the same rating it did 5 years ago. So does that mean the company has been a bad investment? In short, No. The shares have delivered a total return of 64%, outperforming the UK equity market by over 20% in that time period. That return has been driven by the high dividend yield which has grown at 10% p.a. You don’t need a rerating for shares to outperform.
Contrarian investing – generally high yielding stocks tend to be unfashionable as either they have disappointed the market, resulting in a falling share price/rising yield, or they are mature, low growth businesses. Consequently, investors either underestimate their ability to produce decent returns or assign a too low valuation to these returns. Back in 2012 AstraZeneca had a dividend yield of 7% but was facing a patent expiry on its main drug, was unloved by analysts, was perceived to have no new drugs in its pipeline and people questioned the dividend sustainability. Not a compelling investment case. Since then the company has committed to the dividend, developed a pipeline full of exciting immuno-oncology drugs which are the envy of the industry and the shares have returned 186%. Just because a company is out of favour doesn’t mean it can’t change.
Labour’s latest anti-Semitism crisis appeared to be cutting through to the public this week, with the party down 3% and Tories up 1%. It’s worth noting that the Tories have stayed stagnant whilst Labour have fallen significantly behind, in true Theresa May style, scraping through by standing still. Signs of life over at UKIP as they rise 1% to 7%. Corbyn makes a personal new low on best PM, with just 22% reckoning he’s the best choice for Downing Street.
All this highlights the stupidity of CCHQ keeping the Boris row rumbling on…
Andy Mayer is joining the senior management at the Institute of Economic Affairs as Chief Operating Officer. Andy joins the IEA after 7 years doing public affairs for BASF plc. What will confuse remainiac conspiracy theorists even more is that Andy previously worked for the European Movement, voted Remain and is a former LibDem activist. Evidence of his hard commitment to the EU can be seen in these decades old pictures…
Kremlin-backed Russia Today have been busy pushing Putin’s line on fracking, promoting green useful idiots to ensure that Europe remains reliant on Russian gas. The strategic interests of Russia make Putin and the Greens allies:
Natural gas has made fuel in America cheaper and greener, and more energy independent. Putin fears that if the UK were to follow the same path, energy prices would fall and his stranglehold on European supply would weaken,,,
Remainer rag Private Eye has clearly been reading Guido again, with their satirical take on Darren Grimes’ righteous crusade to fight the biased Electoral Commission. Guido thinks that Private Eye’s public schoolboys should try punching up at the cheating monied remainers rather than kicking down at the working class kid from County Durham.
Brandon Lewis’ attempted stitch up of Boris – launching an investigation and then farcically choosing the panel members himself – is not going well for him. Tory MPs are kicking off and turning their fire on Brandon. A top Tory has told the Sun their party chairman is:
A Tory minister texts Guido:
“It will be Brandon Lewis who is out of a job by the end of the week if he keeps this up. The story was dying and all he’s done is reignite it. He needs to stop before he tears the party apart.”
And a former Cabinet minister says:
“What Boris said was true and he was taking a liberal, tolerant line. This is politically motivated right to the top.”
The consensus appears to be that Brandon has lost the plot…
Brandon Lewis appears to have officially lost the plot, launching an investigation into Boris, putting the story on the front page of the Standard and deliberately keeping the Tory crisis going for another day. There can be no other conclusion than the Tory party chairman is trying to do Boris in…
Is Brandon going to investigate Remainers like Ken Clarke, who called the burka a “bag”, and Anna Soubry, who called it “peculiar”? Or is he just trying to take out the main Brexiteer leadership contender? Is he going to investigate Andrew Bridgen and Nadine Dorries over their comments yesterday? He is in danger of tearing the Tory party apart…
This is extraordinarily reckless behaviour from a Tory party chairman, who is deliberately fanning the flames rather than putting them out. Especially one who it could also be argued breached the Tory code of conduct with his dishonourable actions over pairing. Tories will be tearing up their membership cards over this…
UPDATE:Turns out Brandon Lewis appoints the panel that will investigate Boris. Given Brandon is actively trying to do Boris in, with a total joke process…
A couple more SpAd movements for Guido to tell you about following last week’s changes. Congratulations to Steph Lis, who is off to work for Dom Raab at Dexeu. Steph is a well-known face in Westminster wonk world, having been at the Institute of Economic Affairs for the last six years. She is a top communicator and and brings some soundness to Whitehall having spent the last few years defending freedom. Good hire.
Gavin Williamson has hired Thomas Harding to spin for him at the MoD. Harding is a former journalist who previously had the defence beat at the Telegraph. Good luck…
Tory peer Lord Sheikh, who has called for the party to remove the whip from Boris, is being promoted far and wide by pro-Remain news organisations. Sheikh is the founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He is, as they say, problematic…
Sheikh is on the record publicly praising the controversial group the Al Muntada Trust. The group faced scrutiny after fears were raised that its funds had ended up with Boko Haram extremists. It has been linked to a series of anti-Semitic, homophobic and extremist preachers. In the video above, Lord Sheikh calls the group “marvellous”…
Then there is Lord Sheikh’s praise for the East London Mosque. Sheikh said:
“I would certainly commend the Mosque and Centre: not only do you provide a place of worship, but you provide a holistic service and more importantly the empowerment for women.”
Once again, the East London Mosque has well-known and established links to a series of misogynistic and homophobic speakers.
It gets worse. Lord Sheikh has links to the hugely controversial Interal charity, which was investigated by the Charity Commission over its links to Hamas.
Sheikh is a fan of Assad, calling him “an extremely well-informed, intelligent and articulate person who cares about the plight of the Palestinian refugees”. Sheikh went on a trip to meet Assad alongside Jeremy Corbyn and Jenny Tonge. Shouldn’t alarm bells be ringing here?
Under Sheikh’s tenure, the Conservative Muslim Forum produced a series of extremely hostile statements towards Israel and Zionists. The group is quoted as saying:
“An incoming Conservative Administration must appreciate that a pro-zionist [sic] attitude will not bode well with many. Pro-zionist statements only damage relationships with Muslims nationally and internationally. Thus, statements like the one made by David Cameron on 12th June 2007 can be too easily interpreted as unbalanced and weighted towards only the zionist and Israeli positions.”
Some of Lord Sheikh’s links are more the sort of thing we could expect from Jeremy Corbyn back in the day. Not sure he is a serious voice in Tory circles by any stretch of Remainers’ imaginations. Given the above, perhaps it is him CCHQ should be having a word with about keeping the whip…
From Adonis to AC Grayling, Brexit Derangement Syndrome has gripped many since the referendum result last year. But one man has decided to take it a whole lot further… 30,000 kilometres further in fact. Former consultant Andy Pardy has quit his job, bought a ten-year old van, and set out on a 3-month journey to try to draw the words “Stop Brexit” across Europe with a GPS tracker. Yes, really…
“A lot of people obviously thought it was barmy, and it is crazy when you think about it,” Pardy told the New European. Many Guido readers may well be inclined to agree. Pardy set out last month from Loch Lomond and has currently completed the S, T and the O. His route isn’t the only thing that’s a little loopy…
He’s due to finish in Spain in October, just around the time of the crunch European Council Summit when the UK and EU are supposed to be putting the finishing touches on the Withdrawal Agreement. Which one will the wheels come off first?
Alongside the usual lineup of shadow Cabinet members, leftie commentators, and – bizarrely – a pub quiz with Ed Miliband, Momentum members will be treated to a special guest at this year’s The World Transformed fringe – former French Presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
The firebrand hard-left populist, who missed out on a place in the run-off in France’s Presidential election last year by fewer than 700,000 votes, gets top billing for Momentum’s fringe conference alongside Diane Abbott and Corbyn himself. As TWT organiser Angus Satow explains on LabourList:
“Comparisons abound between Mélenchon and Jeremy Corbyn.”
Let’s see. Mélenchon is in favour of a 100% top rate of tax – something Corbyn has yet to put in his manifesto, but time will tell.
On foreign policy, Mélenchon shares Corbyn’s intrinsic worldview of distrust for the West and natural affinity for the strongmen who oppose it. Mélenchon wants France to quit NATO in favour of closer relations with Vladimir Putin and Bashar Al-Assad, while he is a strong supporter of Putin’s intervention in Syria and even met the Syrian dictator himself in days gone by:
Mélenchon has hailed the ruinous hard-left Venezuelan dictatorship as a “source of inspiration” and is a strong supporter of Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez:
Mélenchon’s own political movement, La France Insoumise, bears a number of similarities to Momentum, starting off as a political ‘platform’ which essentially functioned as a party within a party, before breaking away from the mainstream Socialist Party and veering sharply to the left.
However, Mélenchon has an even darker side to his character that should be setting alarm bells ringing for Corbyn and the TWT organisers. He has called on his followers to follow around and film journalists who subjected him to scrutiny, while accusing other journalists who criticised him of being CIA spies and working for “fascist“ newspapers.
He denied that the 2014 protests in Paris where Jewish shops were looted and burned were anything to do with anti-Semitism, while just year he attacked Emmanuel Macron for accepting that the French Vichy Government was responsible for the deportation of French Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
Mélenchon’s views on Islam will be of concern to Corbynistas. He has rejected the use of the term “Islamophobia” and attacked a woman for wearing a hijab while a candidate in local elections in 2010. He has also frequently been accused of trying to foment anti-German sentiment in France.
Not sure that’ll go down well with the Corbynista and Momentum grassroots…
Three weeks ago Brandon Lewis broke his pregnancy pair with new mum Jo Swinson. Today the Tories have photoshopped him pink and dubbed him “the voice of women in politics”. Well done, geniuses. Surprised they didn’t put him in a pink burka…
According to British Religion in Numbers, at the 2017 election more than 60% of those who identified as Jewish voted Tory, compared to just one in four who voted Labour. More than 80% of Muslims voted Labour, and just 10% voted Tory.[…] Read the rest