LibDems Holding Emergency Finance Meeting Tomorrow

We recently reported that as a result of cashflow crisis LibDem HQ was slashing 25% of staff. In a highly unusual move Guido understands there is to be an emergency meeting of the Lib Dem board and the finance subcommittee to discuss party finances tomorrow evening (Tuesday). It is almost unheard of for there to be such a joint meeting.

Cable’s low-wattage leadership is proving disastrous and the imminent prospect of a well funded centrist, pro-EU rival with glitz and glamour from Chuka, David Miliband or, errr, Chris Leslie is another deterrent to donors. Whereas in the past £700,000 could have been loaned in an emergency by a rich backer in need of an honour, they are less likely to support a dead parrot of a party. Never a good idea to write off the Liberals, a rival party however could be the final nail in the coffin that was built for them in 2015 by Lynton Crosby…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Labour ‘Won’t Save the Government’ in Brexit Deal Vote

Emily Thornberry confirmed to Marr this morning that Labour is intent on voting down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in the hope of forcing a general election. The clock is ticking, and as things stand the UK will automatically leave the EU in 138 days.

Army “Ready To Help” In Event of No Deal

Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter revealed this morning that the Army has “not been asked to do anything specifically at this particular stage” by the Government in relation to Brexit contingency measures, but that if there isn’t a deal we stand ready to help in any way we can.”

Ellwood: Stop Speculating About May’s Brexit Deal

Griffith: Labour Should Consider Expelling Bastani

Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith called Bastani’s infamous comments about the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal “an utter disgrace” and “grotesque”.

What is Labour’s Policy on Trident?

“We are absolutely committed to the Trident programme.”

“It doesn’t sound it…”

Tugendhat Would Consider Running For Leader

“I haven’t made any great secret of the fact that I would consider running for my party leadership at some point.”

Understatement of the day…

Saturday 7-Up

This week 199,747 visitors visited 633,085 times viewing 973,581 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Jo Johnson Couldn’t Even Respect People’s Decision on “Boaty McBoatface”

Jo Johnson’s decision to resign and call for a second referendum – despite literally writing the pledge in the Tories’ 2015 Manifesto that they would honour the result “whatever the outcome” – isn’t even the first time that Johnson has flagrantly gone against the country’s democratic wishes.

Guido readers will fondly remember the time when the Government made the inspired decision to democratise the naming process for a new polar research vessel, resulting in an overwhelming public mandate for the name “Boaty McBoatface”. But the whole episode turned sour when their choice was overruled and the name consigned to a puny unmanned submersible instead. The Science Minister who reversed the public’s decision? Jo Johnson.

UK Fastest Growing European Country in the G7

The new quarterly GDP figures this morning reveal that EU economies are experiencing a significant slowdown in growth. The UK on the other hand is one of the few EU countries where GDP growth is higher this year than last year’s admittedly anaemic performance. It is still a staggering outcome compared to previously gloomy official forecasts.

The Bank of England is warning that the UK economy is nearing full capacity and it may have to raise interest rates. So much for the post-referendum immediate economic aftershock we were warned about.

France’s growth rate has halved on last year’s Q3 numbers, and German growth is also expected to halve from 0.8% last year to just 0.4%. On average Eurozone growth was a dismal 0.2%, a new four year low. The rest of the world is experiencing much stronger growth.

Incidentally, these figures would put the UK above all other EU countries in the G7 in terms of GDP growth quarter-on-quarter. Remainers will have to get a new catchphrase …

Comedy Unleashed: London’s Free-Speech Standup Comedy Club

Turned off by comedians who simply add punchlines to Guardian editorials or want us to nod along to their wisecrack sermons?

Every second Tuesday each month, Comedy Unleashed puts on comedians who leave their self-censorship button at the door. Every gig hosts comics who challenge the groupthink bubble, whether they are leftwing, rightwing or no wing. As long as they are not clipped wing…

Comics include Geoff Norcott, Lee Hurst, Shappi Khorsandi and Jonathan Pie, plus a host of up-and-coming comedians who have something fresh to say and an interesting take on life. Free speech advocates Dominic Frisby and Ria Lina compere the evening. Anything goes – if it’s funny, it’s funny.

Jo Johnson Wrote Tories’ 2015 Manifesto Pledging to Honour Referendum Result

Jo Johnson, who resigned today calling for a second referendum, was the lead author of the Conservative Manifesto in 2015 when the Conservatives pledged to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership and “honour the result of the referendum, whatever the outcome”:

“David Cameron has committed that he will only lead a government that offers an in-out referendum. We will hold that in-out referendum before the end of 2017 and respect the outcome.

“We will honour the result of the referendum, whatever the outcome.”

Jo Johnson wasn’t just elected on a manifesto to hold a referendum and honour the result – he literally wrote the pledge himself. His actions today are the height of hypocrisy…

Jo Johnson Resigns Over Brexit, Calls for Second Referendum

The less popular of the Johnson brothers, Jo, has resigned as Minister for Transport and Minister for London over Brexit. He’s calling for a second referendum, and will vote against the Withdrawal Agreement.

UPDATE: Boris’s initial statement does not attack his brother or the second referendum campaign, only May’s Brexit plans:

“Boundless admiration as ever for my brother Jo. We may not have agreed about brexit but we are united in dismay at the intellectually and politically indefensible of the UK position. This is not taking back control. It is a surrender of control. It does not remotely correspond to the mandate of the people in June 2016.”

Rachel Johnson also has warm words. “Am hugely proud of my honourable and principled brother Jo who has put the interests of the country ahead of his political career” 

Bizarrely, some Brexiteers are congratulating Jo on his resignation, with Andrea Jenkyns, Conor Burns, and Suzanne Evans supporting his decision. Did they not read his resignation letter to the end?

UPDATE II: Number 10 responds…

“The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history. We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum. The Prime Minister thanks Jo Johnson for his work in government.”

Guy Verhofstadt’s Soviet Union Hypocrisy

The EU Parliament’s ‘Brexit Coordinator’ Guy Verhofstadt got in a spot of hot water this morning when he told his Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe group conference this morning that he doesn’t like the term “EU Commission” because it sounds like something from the Soviet Union. Which it does.

This is the very same Guy Verhofstadt who blasted Jeremy Hunt’s far less direct comparison, calling for an apology and describing Hunt’s comments as “offensive and outrageous… especially to those millions of Europeans that lived under Soviet occupation.” Like his FBPE fans, Verhofstadt is an expert in only getting outraged when it suits him…

Jordan Peterson’s Warning Against Criminalising Speech

Popular Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson is not everyone’s cup of tea but he had a number of interesting points to make on Question Time last night, particularly on the dangers of criminalising speech and the inextricably related problem of who actually defines what “hate speech” is. A nuanced approach all too rarely seen in this era of no-platforming and trial by Twitter…

As Peterson puts it: “the criminalisation of what hypothetically constitutes offensive speech is going to be a cure that is so much worse than the disease that we can hardly imagine it.” Food for thought…

Friday Caption Contest (‘Are You Sure This Is Dover?’ Edition)

Comments in the comments…

Theresa May’s Convoy in Belgian Car Crash

The convoy containing Theresa May and the Beligan Prime Minister Charles Michel has been involved in a car crash between Saint-Symphorien cemetery and Casteau. Early reports indicate that an outrider vehicle was involved in the crash, not the cars containing the Prime Ministers. Developing…

UPDATE: Local media is reporting that a car made its way into the convoy and accompanying motorcyclists had to take evasive action. Two policemen are reportedly injured. A spokesperson for the Belgian PM has called it a regrettable accident.” Neither PM is injured.

Jeremy Wright Reveals Huge Personal Lego Collection

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Jeremy Wright made a valiant attempt this morning to put to bed rumours that he has no interest in anything related to the world of digital, media, culture, or sport by revealing that he has a “very large indeed” personal Lego collection.

He confessed his wife would call his collection “far too large” and that he has built a 4,500 piece death star. Wright calls Lego “a great way of putting your brain into neutral.” Some people just can’t Lego of their childhood passion…

Diane Abbott Warns Remainers Against Second Referendum

A strong warning against a second referendum came from an unlikely source on Question Time last night as Diane Abbott told Remainers to “be careful what you wish for”:

“What I say to people calling for a second referendum now is you should be careful what you wish for, because my suspicion is that if we had a second referendum now, the same people that voted Leave – who are not largely speaking in London – would vote Leave again, saying ‘didn’t you hear us the first time?'”

Didn’t she get Keir’s memo about “constructive ambiguity”?[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Dominic Raab wrote in his letter of resignation…

“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust,” he told the PM, concluding: “I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election… I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit…”

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