Leaked Tape: Trudy Harrison MP Rides Her Husband

The Sun have got hold of a wince-inducing video of new Tory MP for Copeland Trudy Harrison riding on the back of her husband at a Christmas party, before falling off and smashing her front teeth. Ouch!

First she smashed her face, then she smashed Labour…

Gravy Train: HS2 Awards Contracts to 17 PR Agencies

The taxpayer is funding a preposterous 17 (seventeen!) PR agencies to provide communications advice to HS2, the Department for Transport have disclosed in response to a parliamentary question. The 17 comms firms which have been paid by the taxpayer to spin for the beleaguered project are:

JBP Associates, Blue Rubicon, MHP Communications, Brand and Deliver, Brandnew, M-is, Precedent Communications, Crown Business Communications, PRgloo, Booz & Company, SKV Communications, Emergn, Stairway Communications, Gorkana, Hopscotch Consulting, Weber Shandwick, Westbourne Communications

12 other consultancy and production firms have also been handed lucrative contracts:

JBP Associates, ATK Productions, Future Thinking, NLA Media Access, NTA Monitor, Consultation Institute, Dialogue by Design, Elro Associates, Emergn, The Edge Picture Company, The Skills Show, Tomboy Films

Why does the taxpayer need to fund all these companies when not a rail on the HS2 line has yet been laid? Why does HS2 possibly need 17 taxpayer-funded spin shops? Know they are getting bad press but come on…

Three Labour Gorton Candidates Attended Khomeinist Rallies

Three out of the five candidates on Labour’s final shortlist in Manchester Gorton have attended Khomeinist rallies backing the Iranian regime, Guido can reveal. Afzal Khan and Yasmine Dar spoke last month at a rally held to celebrate the “38th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran“. The event took place in the Manchester Islamic Centre in a room adorned with giant Iranian flags and a banner emblazoned with the face of Ayatollah Khomeini…

A video shot during the rally appears to show the room was at least partially segregated, with women and children sitting at the back:

Khan and Dar shared the platform with controversial economist Professor Rodney Shakespeare who has previously described Britain and the US as “countries controlled by Zionism”. In a 2012 interview with Iran Review – conducted by a journalist from Iranian state broadcaster Press TV – Shakespeare said:

“All Western foreign policy is highly influenced, or controlled, by Zionism… countries [are] controlled by Zionism e.g., the USA and the UK… The UN and Security Council are essentially controlled by the USA and its cronies all of whose foreign policy is controlled by Zionism. All the American intelligence agencies, MI6 and even Mossad know that Iran is not building a bomb but there are Zionist cliques in the governments and these cliques are determined to keep the nuclear fears continuing as they try to organise an attack on Iran.”

Last month Shakespeare told Press TV:

“The UK is supporting Saudi Arabia’s regime as part of supporting what is going to be a coming war in the Middle East, essentially to forward the interests of the Zionist Israel… UK politics is controlled by Zionism.”

Gorton candidate Afzal Khan said at the rally:

“It’s a pleasure to be here, I was a young man when the revolution actually happened, one of those who was excited… almost everything has been thrown towards Iran, even the kitchen sink, but what we’ve seen is that despite this long period, despite all these different challenges, that Iran has systematically been moving forward, getting stronger… may Allah bless Iran…” 

Fellow candidate Yasmine Dar said in her speech:

“It’s an absolute honour… honourable guests here today thank you so much for this opportunity… we’re here for a celebration, a happy time, 38 years of the Iranian Islamic revolution so I’m absolutely happy, it’s the third year that I’ve been coming… I keep it in my diary and make sure that I’m here… I feel I am absolutely proud when I hear the stories about Iran was based on diplomacy…”

A third name on the Gorton shortlist, Nasrin Ali, has attended a similar rally in the past. A tweet from her personal twitter account – now deleted – shows her “at the celebration if [sic] the 36th anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran“. Afzal Khan and Yasmine Dar are also listed as attending…

Quite remarkable: three out of five Gorton candidates openly back the Iranian regime and its Islamic revolution…

FT’s David Allen Green Triggered By Article 50

Spare a thought for the FT’s columnists – they are really having a tough time of it at the moment. Take David Allen Green, the paper’s legal commentator who has been imparting his Article 50 wisdom to readers of the pink ‘un. In a column headlined “The three steps that mean Brexit may never happen”, DAG voiced his belief that Article 50 may never be triggered:

“Unless Leave create another moment of opportunity – another wrong-footing of the established order – so as to force through the required Article 50 notification, then it may not happen at all.”

Then there was his column titled “Brexit: the facts”, in which he again argued Article 50 might never be triggered:

“There are a number of reasons why a notification may never be sent. During the referendum campaign, the prime minister sought to give the impression that the notification would be sent “straight away”. But when he resigned he said it would be a matter for his successor. It may well be that if the notification was not sent on the day of the referendum result, it may never be sent.”

He couldn’t have been clearer in this tweet:

David’s latest update is that the triggering of Article 50 is now “more likely than unlikely”. He has given up on making predictions:

“My only prediction now is that those who doubted that the Article 50 notification would ever be seen will get a good-natured ribbing by those who never had such doubts.”

8 days to go…

Tebbit on McGuinness

Via LBC.

Early Deals ‘Ready to Go’ After Article 50

The government is ready to announce a series of early deals with the EU in the first few weeks and months after Article 50 is triggered. Government figures say they have been holding ‘informal’ talks with EU countries, in particular Germany, over a number of agreements that aim to show goodwill at the beginning of the negotiations and the potential for a mutually beneficial Brexit. This is at odds with the EU’s public line that there has been no negotiation before notification. A government source says: “There are deals ready to go. The Germans have agreed to them, but we can’t do it before Article 50”.

Examples of possible early deals being considered include over migrants and defence arrangements in Eastern Europe. Andrew Lilico has speculated about the kinds of early reciprocal deals that could be struck, for example formally granting Britain permission to negotiate trade deals with non-EU countries in return for some olive branch to Brussels and Berlin. The issue of Britons’ and migrants’ rights is obviously something Theresa May has said she wants to address early on. There is optimism in Whitehall that Germany – so far, behind the scenes – wants to work constructively…

Inflation Hits Bank of England Target

The above chart shows the Consumer Price Index over the last 5 years – the Bank of England is mandated to target 2%, a target it has not hit since 2013. The fall in the pound has imported inflation, raw materials in particular are up some 20%. Expect to see a lot of doom and gloom in the FT about about inflation outstripping wages and hitting Brexit voters. Up to a point…

This currency hit to inflation is a one time hit, it will fade with time. As the chart above shows in red, inflation has been below the target for 5 years, with the governor of the Bank of England making regular excuses in letters to the Chancellor. This was Mark Carney last year:

“The underlying causes of below-target inflation over the past two years have been: sharp falls in commodity prices; the earlier appreciation of sterling; and, to a lesser degree, the subdued pace of domestic cost growth.”

The underlying cause of the rise in inflation today is, conversely, rising commodity prices, the fall in sterling and the stronger than expected economy. The recent period of food price deflation was not normal. By 2019 the currency effect on inflation will have faded. If of course the economy was to go down the pan as Project Fear warned, inflation pressures would fall…

Galloway Standing in Gorton

George Galloway has announced he’s standing in the Gorton by-election… randomly in a blog on Arron Banks’ Westmonster website. His pitch is to get Tony Blair put on trial, defend Palestine and compare himself to football management legends Matt Busby and Pep Guardiola:

“I want to continue [Gerald Kaufman’s] work on international issues – which are particularly important in Gorton – especially the issues of Palestine and Kashmir but also the broader questions, the dangerous confrontation between the west and the Muslim world which threatens all of us… 

I opposed Tony Blair with all my heart and soul and paid for it with my expulsion from the party in 2003 – after 36 years membership. This week is the 14th anniversary of the Iraq War against which I was one of the leaders of the greatest mass movements ever seen in this country. I make this plain here – if I am re-elected to Parliament I will seek to put Mr. Blair on trial for war crimes, crimes against humanity and lying to the British Parliament and people…

Whether it’s my speeches in Parliament or on the streets,  my films, my TV shows, my radio shows, my work on social media where I have over a million followers, when I’m fighting for Gorton everyone will know about it. Everyone will have to listen. I have been six times elected to Parliament and I don’t think even my worst enemy would deny my impact there…

It’s true I’m not local but then neither was Sir Matt Busby. Neither was Sir Alex Ferguson nor Pep Guardiola nor Jose Mourinho. Like them I want to work for you, for Gorton, for Manchester.

I am like Sir Matt a Scot of Irish background. There are plenty of us around Manchester. My 40 year relationship with Pakistan and Bangladesh my 40 years with the Arabs mean I can speak the language. I can talk the talk but I also walk the walk.

If I were to win here it would be the Mother of All by-election victories for “The hard working people of Gorton” who would never be forgotten again.”

Apparently not a spoof. The LibDems won’t believe their luck…

Martin McGuinness Dead

Martin McGuinness, former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister for Sinn Fein and former IRA chief, has died aged 66. Theresa May’s statement:

“First and foremost, my thoughts are with the family of Martin McGuinness at this sad time. While I can never condone the path he took in the earlier part of his life, Martin McGuinness ultimately played a defining role in leading the Republican movement away from violence. In doing so, he made an essential and historic contribution to the extraordinary journey of Northern Ireland from conflict to peace. While we certainly didn’t always see eye-to-eye even in later years, as deputy First Minister for nearly a decade he was one of the pioneers of implementing cross community power sharing in Northern Ireland. He understood both its fragility and its precious significance and played a vital part in helping to find a way through many difficult moments. At the heart of it all was his profound optimism for the future of Northern Ireland – and I believe we should all hold fast to that optimism today.”

Jeremy Corbyn:

“Martin McGuinness played a huge role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland. He was a great family man and my thoughts are with them… 

I was very sad to hear of the death of Martin McGuinness this morning, and I would like to send my thoughts and condolences to his wife Bernie and his family. Martin McGuinness played an immeasurable role in bringing about peace in Ireland, after years as a key protagonist in the tragedy of the conflict. Martin played an absolutely crucial role in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement and a peace process which, despite difficulties, remains an example throughout the world of what can be achieved when the will is there. As we reflect on his role, the past twenty years have shown us that if there is leadership and the will on all sides, we can achieve change.”

Norman Tebbit:

“I’m just pleased that the world is a sweeter and cleaner place now. He was not only a multi-murderer, he was a coward. He knew that the IRA were defeated because British intelligence had penetrated right the way up to the Army Council and that the end was coming. He then sought to save his own skin and he knew that it was likely he would be charged before long with several murders which he had personally committed and he decided that the only thing to do was to opt for peace. He claimed to be a Roman Catholic. I hope that his beliefs turn out to be true and he’ll be parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell for the rest of eternity.”

RIP.

Corbyn: Spirits Ran High Today

New video from Jez out tonight. Everything is fine…

Labour Gorton Shortlist: Israel-Hater Hot Favourite

The shortlist for the Labour candidate in Manchester Gorton is:

Afzal Khan, Luthfur Rahman, Amina Lone, Yasmin Dar, Nasrin Ali

Afzal Khan is the overwhelming favourite, he has been after the seat for years. Guido readers will remember he tweeted comparing Israelis to Nazis. The Corbynistas once again failed to stitch up the seat for their preferred candidate Sam Wheeler, despite interventions from Corbyn and Karie Murphy. Pity the people of Gorton…

Get the Look: Theresa May’s £225 LK Bennett Dress in Vogue

Theresa May has been photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue, wearing a navy L.K. Bennnet dress. Guido reckons it is the ‘Saskia Sloane’, which you can buy for £225:

“Saskia means business. This Sloane-blue dress is a timeless office-to-evening essential. Its curved seam detailing will flatter the figure, while the capped sleeves and mid-length finish provide the perfect amount of coverage.”

Theresa has an L.K. Bennett discount card which she uses so much she has to declare it in her Register of Interests…

Oh and the top lines from the interview: she says she rows with husband Philip when she wants to watch crime drama NCIS, and says Donald Trump was being a gentleman when he held her hand. Read it here

Watson Blasted By Shadow Cabinet Colleagues at “Robust” Away Day

Tom Watson was repeatedly admonished by Labour colleagues at the Shadow Cabinet away day this afternoon, Guido can report. A source in the room says Watson’s decision to go public with his criticism of Jon Lansman and Momentum was “almost unanimously” opposed by Shadow Cabinet members. A point made several times by different Shadow Cabinet ministers was that “this kind of intervention is damaging in elections – this behaviour does us no good”. It was noted that a public Labour Party civil war would ironically harm the chances of Watson’s close friend Sion Simon in the West Midlands mayoral election. Another Shadow Cabinet minister issued a stronger rebuke to Watson, accusing him of a “reckless intervention” designed to influence the Unite general secretary election. Watson did have some support – Guido is told three Shadow Cabinet members spoke up in support of the deputy leader. A Labour source says the choice of the word “robust” in the joint statement issued by Corbyn and Watson this afternoon reflects the level of criticism Watson faced. “He had to skulk out the side door…”

Osborne Trolls Commons: “We’ve Missed Standard Deadline”

He says he will “listen to the views of colleagues” about whether he should stay as an MP. Get the feeling he’s loving this…

HS2 Delays Contract AGAIN Over Conflicts of Interest

HS2 has delayed the controversial award of a £170 million contract for a second time as it investigates conflict of interest concerns. Last week we reported how the taxpayer-funded contract to construction firm CH2M had not been signed off because a rival bidder, Mace, had threatened legal action.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Lansman Was at Unite HQ Two Weeks Ago

Unite have responded to the Jon Lansman – Tom Watson row by issuing a bold statement claiming there is no Momentum plot and that Lansman and Len McCluskey have never met:

“Tom Watson has made claims about Unite and its general secretary Len McCluskey which are entirely inaccurate. 

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Tories Lead By 12 Points Among 18-24 Year-Olds

The Tories have extended their overall lead to 19 points – they are now the furthest ahead with ICM than at any time since the 2015 general election. And that’s after the NICs debacle… 

Conservatives: 45% (up 1 from Guardian/ICM two weeks ago)

Labour: 26% (down 2)

UKIP: 10% (down 1)

LibDems: 9% (up 1)

Greens: 4% (down 1)

Conservative lead: 19 points (up 3)

UKIP just claw back into double digits. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

UKIP Order Candidates to Close Social Media Accounts

UKIP has ordered its candidates to close their social media accounts, according to minutes of a meeting with the party’s chairman Paul Oakden. The notes began with the words “Remember do not put this online – that’s forbidden! The notes MUST NOT be put on social media”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Number 10: No Early Election

Theresa May’s spokesman could not be clearer:

“There is not going to be one.”

Despite the chatter from excitable Lobby hacks this morning it was always highly unlikely. And now even less likely…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Article 50 Triggered Next Wednesday March 29

The UK’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Sir Tim Barrow has this morning informed the office of European Council President Donald Tusk of the UK’s intention to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29 2017. Soon…

Triggering date is the birthday of both John Major and Norman Tebbit.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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A friend of David Cameron responds to his request for a lunchtime game of tennis:

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