Rudd Allies Claim Brexiters Stoking Windrush Scandal

A brave intervention from ‘Cabinet allies’ of Amber Rudd in The Times, who have gone full Skwawkbox and suggested the Home Office’s recent woes are a part of a campaign by Brexit-supporting MPs to undermine the Home Secretary. Almost impressively tone-deaf to brief the papers that the Windrush scandal, Caroline Nokes’ car crash media round, soaring violent crime and the ensuing cock-up of the violent crime strategy launch have all been exaggerated by Leavers to do in Rudd. The Windrush revelations have been led by that famous Leave-supporting newspaper The Guardian and half of these fiascos are Theresa May’s fault anyway. To be fair to Amber, the Times piece does say halfway down that she “is understood to reject such conspiracy theories”. That other ministers are indulging such theories goes some way to explaining the cross-government handling of the Windrush fiasco…

London Office Rentals Soaring #DespiteBrexit

London office rentals are soaring according to two separate reports released this week. 2.3 million square feet of office space was let in central London in the three months to March 31, according to estate agent JLL. That’s 14% up on last year and 5% up on the ten year average… 

Meanwhile agents CBRE say they have had the strongest first quarter since 2012. The firm estimates more than 9 million square feet of office space is being sought in London. Just last November the FT claimed the future of the London office rental market “looks distinctly grey… Companies are already rushing to secure space elsewhere. European rental markets are booming.” Look forward to their update…

Owen Jones Calls Out Labour Nepotism

In 10pm tweet last night Owen Jones went after moderate Labour MP and Corbyn critic Angela Smith: “hiring your husband as your researcher is blatant nepotism”. Guido doesn’t say this often, but he agrees with Owen. This site has covered the MPs who employ their family members and connected parties on large taxpayer-funded contracts for years. Now Owen has picked up the campaign against nepotism, Guido looks forward to him calling out the jobs given to family members of top Corbynistas:

  • Seb Corbyn, son of Jezza, in John McDonnell’s office
  • David Prescott, son of Prezza, in Corbyn’s office
  • Laura Murray, the Shadow Cabinet adviser and daughter of Corbyn aide Andrew
  • Deirdre Campbell, caseworker for her husband the Corbynista MP Ronnie
  • Jackie Bate, office manager for her husband the Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey
  • Hilary Lavery, secretary to her husband Ian
  • Michelle Morris, secretary to Grahame
  • Ish Osamor, “senior communications officer” to his mum Kate
  • Nadeem Ashraf, who works for his wife, the Shadow Justice minister Yasmin Qureshi
  • Lois Blasenheim, “executive secretary” to her boyfriend Dennis Skinner
  • Paul Townsend, who works for his wife the Shadow Commons Leader Valerie Vaz

Bet they’re all really grateful for Owen’s tweet…

Ruth Smeeth Reads Anti-Semitic Abuse She’s Received From Corbynistas

Most powerful moment of the anti-Semitism debate: Ruth Smeeth reading the anti-Semitic abuse she has received from Corbyn supporters. Remarkable that Corbyn was not there to hear it.

John Mann Reveals Rape Threats Against His Wife From Far-Left Anti-Semites

Corbyn walked out after Luciana Berger’s speech so he missed John Mann telling the House about the rape threats against his wife from far-left anti-Semites. Jezza must have had something more important to do.

Corbyn Chuntering During Anti-Semitism Debate

Rather than accept the legitimate criticism of Labour and himself during the anti-Semitism debate, Corbyn is chuntering and heckling those who mention him. At one point he was heard to comment “disgraceful“. He just doesn’t get it.

Ian Austin: Labour “A Disgrace” For Failing to Expel Ken

His intervention wins applause in the Commons…

Sterling At Highest Level Since Referendum

Sterling hit its highest level since the EU referendum today, beating a previous post-Brexit high in January. The pound reached $1.437 this morning. The pound has gained more than 5% against the dollar so far this year…

Analysts are calling the pound “the darling of the currency world”. As the City becomes more bullish on a deal, the Project Fear predictions – not least those of the Treasury – on the long-term weakness of the pound are being disproved. No humility on display, however…

Corbyn’s Pointless Vanity Vote Defeated 317-266

Embarrassing. 

Twitter Down

Twitter is down – thousands of users have reported service interruptions and difficulties accessing their timelines. The Down Detector website recorded a spike in outages. TweetDeck seems unaffected. You’ve gone too far this time, Vlad…

Labour Cold Case Unit: Four Never-Ending Investigations

Back in December Guido asked what progress Labour had made on their internal investigations into MPs accused of various forms of wrongdoing. At the time probes had been launched into Jared O’Mara, Keith Vaz, Kelvin Hopkins and Ivan Lewis. No progress has been made in five months. The O’Mara investigation has now been delayed again, and there has been no update on the other three. The supposed Vaz investigation has been ongoing for a year and a half. Ava Etemadzadeh, the woman who accused Hopkins of harassment, says she has no idea when her case will be heard. There is still no date set for the Lewis hearing, yet he is back in parliament and voting with Labour without taking the whip. A fifth MP, whose identity Guido knows but is not revealing to protect his alleged victim, is accused of wife-beating. He has not even been suspended. These investigations are a sham – Labour clearly has no intention of properly holding their MPs to account. Guido wouldn’t be surprised if Blairite Lewis gets thrown under a bus and the rest get away with it…

Labour Delays Jared O’Mara Probe

Labour’s investigation into Jared O’Mara has been delayed by the resignation of their governance director John Stolliday, according to reports. Jared has been filing written questions and voting in accordance with the Labour whip but still hasn’t ever spoken in the chamber. The constituents of Sheffield Hallam effectively unrepresented… 

Tories “Sh*tting on Us” Claims Labour Leaflet

The most foul-mouthed flyer of the local election campaign: a Labour leaflet delivered in Huddersfield claims the Tories are “sh*tting on” people to “fund tax cuts for the wealthy and giant corporations”. The mailshot, promoting councillor Mahmood Aktar, has been halted and remaining leaflets scrapped. Cllr Aktar’s agent said: “I am the agent but that doesn’t mean I wrote it.” Oops.

FCO and MoD Fury at “Utterly Reckless” Labour Syria Trip

The Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have expressed fury after a Labour MP and peer travelled to Syria earlier this month in defiance of government travel advice. Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Maurice Glasman travelled to Kobani on 4 April, with the Corbynista MP extraordinarily live-tweeting his location as the delegation moved through Syria. The first the FCO and MoD knew about the trip was when they received intelligence that a British MP and peer were in Syria. This sparked panic across the two departments, with officials furious that the lives of British armed forces would be put at risk if they had to be sent in should something go wrong.

The FCO clearly advises “against all travel to Syria” and warns “there is a very high threat of kidnapping throughout Syria”. A serving MP’s decision to defy this advice and then live-tweet his location has led some Whitehall officials to lobby for an investigation into the trip. Officials at the Ministry of Justice and Home Office are worried that the visit could legitimise others considering travelling to Syria, and have expressed concerns about the impact the trip could have on ongoing court cases involving other Britons who have returned from the country.

A government source said: “This was an utterly reckless act that could have led to our armed forces being put in danger had they been kidnapped. It is mind-numbingly stupid given the political climate and could have severe consequences in terms of ongoing court cases over here.”

A second government source said: “Travel advice is very clear – by going to a dangerous region you are not only putting yourself at risk but also the individuals who would have to take part in a rescue operation. It’s incredibly stupid of an MP to do this and shows a real lack of judgement.”

Russell-Moyle wrote up his experience in Syria for the far-left website Evolve Politics and spoke about it at the Stop the War rally last night. Taking the Corbynista delusion on Syria to new stupid extremes…

UPDATE: Statement from Russell-Moyle:

“I did inform the FCO before I departed, informing them of our movements. I met with UK Ambassador in Iraq, the UK Consul-General in Erbil before & with him on the day we returned to debrief. We received security protection form Gov. of Kurdish Iraq and Northern Syrian Government.”

Yet the first the FCO and MoD heard about the trip was while he was there…

Onward to PX2

Invitations are going out this week for the launch party of Onward, the new Tory think tank promising to come up with ‘retail’ policies to win back under-45 voters. Onward was the brainchild of Tory MP and former Osborne SpAd and Policy Exchange director Neil O’Brien, with Nick Faith, the former PX comms chief who now runs WPI Strategy with Sean Worth. So is it just Policy Exchange Mark II?

Onward’s main aim seems to be to bring the Cameroon and May brands of Tory party politics together. Last summer O’Brien and Faith organised a dinner at the home of Tory donor David Meller (don’t mention the President’s Club), who hosted Nick Timothy and JoJo Penn from May’s inner circle, top Cameroon Nick Boles (a former PX director) and a number of younger ambitious MPs. Onward’s director will be former May adviser Will Tanner, its chair is Osborne confidant Danny Finkelstein (former PX chairman), and its board members include former Cameron advisers Kate Rock and Kate Fall, ex-Osborne aide Eleanor Wolfson, and Craig Elder, who co-ran Cameron’s digital campaigns in 2015 and the referendum. Their main financial backer is Martyn Rose, who ran Cameron’s National Citizens Service.

The plan is to create a party-oriented think tank for MPs rather than wonks, which combines Timothy’s statist agenda with the more liberal politics of the Cameroons, and has both Remainers and Brexiters on board. They have signed up MPs from the left and centre-right of the party, from Ruth Davidson and Tom Tugendhat to Michael Gove and Kemi Badenoch. It will have some external authors but most of the reports will be written by MPs.

The danger for Onward is it goes down the road of expensive, interventionist, big-state policies which mean higher taxes, more spending and more borrowing – social democracy with a blue-wash. A May-Osborne fusion could mean more cumbersome policies like the energy price cap, HS2 and ever-creeping vice taxes. Guido also fears the instinctively more liberal, small-state, low tax MPs may fail to resist the temptation to drift leftwards as they seek wider support ahead of the next leadership contest. Number 10’s hopeless lack of a domestic agenda means the Tories are crying out for post-Brexit polices, or, perish the thought, policies that could actually be implemented while Brexit is taking place. They won’t beat Corbyn with lite versions of his policies…

Three Billboards Protest Against Labour Anti-Semitism

A ‘three billboards’ style protest is underway against Labour anti-semitism. The convoy of billboards just passed Labour’s Southside HQ and can be seen around London today. The three boards read:

“Holocaust deniers harboured by Labour, failure to act on antisemitism, institutional antisemitism in Corbyn’s Labour.”

The protest is timed to coincide with Sajid Javid’s parliamentary debate on anti-Semitism later today. The idea for the protest comes from Oscar-winning film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriA protest you won’t catch Jezza on…

Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.2%, Lowest Since 1975

  • Unemployment rate falls to 4.2%, lowest since 1975
  • Employment rate highest since records began in 1971
  • Public sector pay up 2.5%
  • Private sector pay up 2.3%

Despite Brexit, or because of Brexit?

Maitlis on Pointless Syria Vote

Emily Maitlis sums up the pointlessness of the vote forced by the SNP on Syria last night with help from a confused Mark Lancaster:

Maitlis: “Mark Lancaster, would you like to appear on Newsnight tonight?”

Lancaster: “Well, I’m on Newsnight tonight…”

Maitlis: “Right, so it was a pointless question. In other words, you’re here. You’ve decided. That’s what’s happened all afternoon.”

Not sure Burgon got it…

May Wins Syria Vote 314-36

This was only a non-substantive vote on the motion that the House had heard the situation on Syria, but nonetheless a resounding win for the government after Labour MPs were sent home early. Which just about sums up parliament’s view on Corbyn’s position – the Labour leader humiliated… 

Top Corbynista MPs Attend Pro-Assad Rally

Labour MPs tonight joined a pro-Assad rally alongside protesters with flags, hats and scarves bearing the face of the Syrian tyrant. Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, Chris Williamson, Emma Dent Coad and Lloyd Russell-Moyle were among those present at this evening’s Stop the War demo at Parliament Square.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Diane Abbott on Amber Rudd:

Who can have confidence in Amber Rudd to make far-reaching changes to the Home Office if she doesn’t seem able to get basic facts right?”

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