#Yvette2017 Underway: “We Can’t Believe A Single Word May Says”

Huge cheers from the Labour benches as Yvette Cooper skewered Theresa May on her broken snap election promise. Manoeuvring underway, Yvette is 13/1  (UPDATE: Now into 8/1) to be next Labour leader…

Osborne Quits as MP “For Now”

 “I am stepping down from the House of Commons – for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country’s future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

“I want a Britain that is free, open, diverse and works with other nations to defend our democratic values in the world.

“I will go on fighting for that Britain I love from the editor’s chair of a great newspaper. It’s still too early to be writing my memoirs.”

“At the age of 45, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life just being an ex-Chancellor. I want new challenges.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to edit the Evening Standard. I’ve met the team there, and their energy and commitment to this great newspaper are positively infectious.”

[My editorship will offer] straight facts and informed opinion to help them to make the big decisions Britain now faces about the kind of country we want to be. That starts with the coverage of this general election.”

Scoop in the Standard, naturally.

Election PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

At 12 noon Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 19 April

Q2 Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

Q3 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)

Q4 Mary Robinson (Cheadle)

Q5 Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)

Q6 David Mackintosh (Northampton South)

Q7 Jenny Chapman (Darlington)

Q8 Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) If she will visit Kettering constituency.

Q9 Maria Caulfield (Lewes)

Q10 Derek Thomas (St Ives)

Q11 John Stevenson (Carlisle)

Q12 Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

Q13 Graham Jones (Hyndburn)

Q14 Sir David Amess (Southend West)

Q15 Richard Benyon (Newbury)

Will Tories Drop MOAB on Corbyn?

It has long been assumed that the Tories have a ton of dirt of Jeremy Corbyn that they were holding back for the election. That somewhere in the archives at the bottom of a filing cabinet in CCHQ sits a dossier of new revelations about Corbyn’s links to various terrorists, extremists and all round wrong ‘uns. There has even been talk that the Tories would drop a “MOAB” – Mother of All Bombs – on Corbyn with weeks to go. Guido understands the MOAB isn’t quite as big as has been hyped, and that the Tories believe most of Corbyn’s IRA / Hamas links have already been factored in. There are however two or three front page newspaper stories ready to go over the next 50 days. Not so much a MOAB to wipe Jez out, more a couple of well-timed mortars to cause damage tactically during the campaign…

No, May Is Not Like Erdogan

Theresa May’s snap election has caused the Guardianista class to lose their minds. Martin Kettle writes that “Theresa May in Downing Street sounded like Turkey’s authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”. This is just bonkers. Erdogan is an Islamist autocrat who rules under a state of emergency, jailing political opponents, arresting journalists, controlling the airwaves, censoring social media and passing a law which could see him stay in power until 2029. Theresa May has called an election.

This tweet from Chuka Umunna is even more ridiculous. In the space of 20 words Chuka suggests May is behaving like a dictator because “she called an election”. Funny kind of dictator. It is just an election, chill out lefties…

Corbyn Gets Beers In Early: Son Plans Jezza Ale

It may only be the first week of a gruelling election campaign but Jeremy Corbyn’s son Tommy is getting the beers in early. He is in discussions with a friend to brew a special ‘Corbyn’s Courage’ India Pale Ale, which will feature a picture of his father on the bottle. Adorned with a ‘vote Labour’ rosette, the label reads: ‘Hope, Hops and Brew’. Corbyn’s son has asked George Culhane: “How many could you do?” They’ll need something to cry into on June 8…

Snap Election Blows Speaker Race Wide Open

The snap election has potentially huge consequences for the race to be the next Speaker. The Commons votes to elect a Speaker at the beginning of each parliamentary term – custom dictates that John Bercow be re-elected should he desire to carry on. He has previously said he would serve nine years, taking him to 2018, then that he wanted to stay on until 2020. Bercow has indicated he intends to stand on June 8, so what does that mean for his successor?

Lindsay Hoyle was the overwhelming favourite to be the next Speaker. He had hoped to be appointed before the next election so he wouldn’t have a challenger. Yet Hoyle has a perilous 4,530 majority in Chorley. Labour sources believe anything under 8,000 is under threat. His predecessor in the seat was Tory – Chorley has flip-flopped between Labour and Tory MPs since the war. Chorley voted 57% to Leave the EU. As one MP told Guido last night:

“Lindsay will be feeling rough. He had hoped to be made Speaker before the election. Now he may lose his seat.”

The race to succeed Bercow would be blown wide open…

Labour Have No Slogan, Key Seats List Or Campaign Budget

Labour HQ staff have been told tonight that the party has no election slogan, no agreed key seats list and no campaign budget signed off. Revealing the chaotic response to the snap election announcement in Victoria Street, Labour HQ sources tell Guido that, in a briefing to party staff, a defeatist General Secretary Iain McNicol warned “This is going to be tough” and unconvincingly, according to recipients of the briefing, that “we can win seats”. Optimistic.

Guido is told Labour staffers spent today repeatedly asking their superiors for a key seats list of constituencies where resources should be targeted, only to be informed the list had yet to be decided. Regional managers have no idea on what resource basis they can plan. An astonishing lack of planning from the fans of centralised state planning given that a snap election has been a possibility that Corbyn and McDonnell had been warning of for months. Staff were also told that Labour has no election strapline slogan, and that the campaign budget had yet to be signed off. Sources say discussions took place throughout the day between McNicol and trade union bosses to try to secure funding, yet no budget guidance has been given. 50 days to go…

Woodcock: I Can’t Endorse Corbyn, Still Time For Him to Stand Down

Corbyn-hating Labour moderate John Woodcock, who has a majority of just 795, has said he cannot endorse his party leader to be Prime Minister and called for him to step down:

“I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain’s Prime Minister… I cannot countenance endorsing him for a role which I think even he does not think he is fit to carry out… There is still of course time for Jeremy to stand down rather than lead Labour to defeat.”

Expect that won’t be the last he hears of this from the Corbynistas…

ICM Snap Poll Gives Tories 21 Point Lead

The lead up three points from this morning’s ICM poll…

PM to Face Down Tory MPs at 5pm

Theresa May is to address a special meeting of the 1922 committee at 5 p.m. this evening. During the leadership election and since then May has assured Tory backbenchers again and again that she would not call a snap election. There will likely be several blue casualties to the LibDems – on the whole Tory MPs really did not want an early election. The PM coming face to face with the MPs she promised she wouldn’t hold an election will be very awkward…

UPDATE: May’s meeting with the ’22 was very very short, one of the shortest ever. Tory MPs were “a little subdued”, shell shocked even, to begin with, Guido’s mole in the room reports. Though there was a big cheer and applause at the end. And cries of “Five more years…”

Snap Election Lifeline for Blairites

Jeremy Corbyn’s chief goal had been to remain as leader until the left had secured permanent control of the party. That meant staying on until the ‘McDonnell amendment’ had passed at conference and until the moderates in Labour HQ had been purged and replaced by Corbynistas. The imminent expected electoral wipeout puts this plan in peril – May’s decision is terrible for the left and the best news Blairites have had in ages. 

There is “no chance” of an attempt by Labour moderates to remove Corbyn before the election. They need the left to own this defeat. That means six weeks of Blairites staying quiet about Corbyn and “talking about saving their local hospital”, being superficially loyal and trying not giving the Corbynistas an excuse to blame them for the outcome.

In 1983, after Michael Foot had led Labour to a huge defeat, a young Jon Lansman blamed the result on “the party machine” being “in the hands of the right”. Expect the Corbynistas to use the same excuse this time round – they need a ‘Blairite betrayal’ narrative to galvanise their grassroots if they are to stay in charge after June 8.

If Corbyn refuses to go when he loses, the party could well split. Moderates do not want to fight Corbyn in a third leadership contest. They hope he will stand down, departing before the left has succeeded in seizing the commanding heights of party structures. This means the moderates could lose dozens of MPs on June 8 but then win the next leadership election and regain control of the party. This election is a lifeline for the Blairites – they need to stay quiet for 51 days while they privately betray their party and hope Corbyn is annihilated at the ballot box…

Alan Johnson Standing Down

Dear Colleague

I was going to spend this morning writing my Parliamentary Report for Thursday’s GC – then the news broke about an early general election. I have decided not to stand again as your candidate.

Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of my tenure as Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle. Every day has been a privilege and a pleasure but it can’t go on for ever and the electoral cycle means that each incumbent has to think again about what’s best for them, the constituency and the Party.

As far as the constituency and the Party are concerned, no MP wants to put them through the anguish of a mid-term by-election, so for me the personal decision is whether to retire now or in 2022 when I’ll be into my 70s.

I’ve decided that going now will give me the opportunity to do other things with my life and is therefore in the best interests of me and my family. I also think it’s best for the Party.

If the Tories win again there is little doubt that they’ll implement the boundary changes that they commissioned which will drastically alter the make-up of our constituency whilst maintaining most of West Hull and Hessle at its core.

It’s far better for a new Labour candidate to fight the seat as it is rather than be a new face contesting a revised constituency in five years’ time. I wanted Labour Party members in Hull West and Hessle to be the first to hear about my decision – hence this e-mail.

The loyalty and friendship of those who’ve been stalwarts of the Party throughout most of my 20 years has been something I’ve cherished.

We’ve achieved a lot together and Labour in Hull can be equally proud of its past achievements and its vision for the future: that is now being realised.

As a resident of East Yorkshire I’ll watch that vision unfold from the sidelines – hopefully under a Labour government.

It’s been great working with you.

Best wishes,

Alan Johnson

Goodbye Mr Postman…

Who’s Standing? Who’s Standing Down?

Expect a number of MPs on both sides of the House to quit ahead of the election. Keep an eye on George Osborne and Ken Clarke, not to mention Labour moderates in marginals who could easily fall into well-paid lobbying jobs. Here’s who has come out of the blocks so far:

Not Standing

  • Peter Lilley (Con)
  • Andrew Tyrie (Con)
  • Alan Haselhurst (Con)
  • Graham Allan (Lab)
  • Eric Pickles (Con)
  • Gisela Stuart (Lab)
  • David Anderson (Lab)
  • George Osborne (Con)
  • Michael Dugher (Lab)
  • Steve Rotheram (Lab)
  • Gerald Howarth (Con)
  • Tom Blenkinsop (Lab)
  • Fiona MacTaggart (Lab)
  • Alan Johnson (Lab)
  • Douglas Carswell (Ind)
  • Simon Burns (Con)
  • Jim Dowd (Lab)
  • Pat Glass (Lab)
  • Iain Wright (Lab)
  • Andy Burnham (Lab)
  • Angela Watkinson (Con)
  • John Pugh (Lib)
  • Andrew Smith (Lab)
  • Rob Marris (Lab)
  • Michelle Thomson (ex-SNP)
  • Natalie McGarry (ex-SNP)

Standing

  • Ken Clarke (Con)
  • Michael Gove (Con)
  • Nick Clegg (Lib)
  • Nick Boles (Con)
  • Mhairi Black (SNP) (said Parliament was so depressing she might quit)

Stay tuned, we will be updating this list as and when names come in…

Tory Election Fraud Issue Dead

The calling of the general election wipes the slate clean on those 2015 Election allegations. Unless an MP is personally convicted of a corrupt practice (in which case can be banned from public office), nothing can be gained by contesting the 2015 result. Convenient…

MPs With Majorities Under 1000

Byron Davies Conservative 27
Amanda Solloway Conservative 41
Chris Matheson Labour 93
Gavin Barwell Conservative 165
Albert Owen Labour 229
James Davies Conservative 237
Rupa Huq Lab 274
Calum Kerr SNP 328
David Nuttall Conservative 378
Margaret Greenwood Labour 417
Andrea Jenkyns Conservative 422
Holly Lynch Labour 428
Ruth Cadbury Labour 465
Oliver Colvile Conservative 523
Tom Elliott UUP 530
Jackie Doyle-Price Conservative 536
Wes Streeting Labour 589
Daniel Zeichner Labour 599
Paul Farrelly Labour 650
Simon Kirby Conservative 690
Lucy Allan Conservative 730
Caroline Ansell Conservative 733
John Woodcock Labour 795
David Mundell Conservative 798
Chris Green Conservative 801
Rob Marris Labour 801
Graham Evans Conservative 806
Alistair Carmichael LibDem 817
Dr Alasdair McDonnell SDLP 906
Danny Kinahan UUP 949

Let the battle begin…

Downing Street Comms Chief Quits

Guido can reveal Downing Street’s Director of Communications Katie Perrior is quitting. She says:

“Always said I wouldn’t stay past an election. Good decision, right choice. A vote for Theresa May and a Conservative Government is the only route forward. As for me – new opportunities ahead. Exciting times!”

There had been rumours – denied – that Katie would be departing for several months. With Fi straying onto her patch it was a challenging job…

Lines to Take For Tory MPs

This is what you will be hearing from Tory MPs on your TV screens for the next 51 days:

“The Prime Minister has just announced that an election will be held on 8 June – and that we will shortly take the necessary steps in Parliament to ensure that this can happen.

Key points to remember

We need this election now to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

Every vote cast for Theresa May and the Conservatives will count to strengthen Britain’s hand in the Brexit negotiations.

We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.

The choice is between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Continue reading

Downing Street Scolds Adam Boulton Over May’s Health

May Calls Snap Election For June 8

Theresa May has called a snap election on June 8. Developing…

Speaking to Andrew Marr in January Theresa May categorically denied there would be an early election:

Andrew Marr: Let me make this very clear, because again it’s very important. Under current law the next election will be in 2020.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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