10 Bonkers Things Adonis Said About Brexit

It’s remarkable Andrew Adonis kept his job for so long given he has said all this about the government’s main policy:

  • Compared Brexit to appeasing Hitler
  • Called Brexit “self-mutilation”
  • Said Britain should have joined the Euro as it would have averted Brexit
  • Called Theresa May’s top aide Nick Timothy a “Brexit extremist”
  • Demanded MPs “halt Brexit” and “scrap Brexit”
  • Claimed Brexit could mean “planes grounded, nuclear power unsafe”
  • Called the EU Withdrawal Bill the “National Betrayal Bill”
  • Reckons Brexit is being driven by a “David Davis-Keir Starmer axis”
  • Compared Brexit to the Titanic sinking
  • Wrote to Tony Hall demanding the BBC sack Andrew Neil for “pro-Brexit bias”

Even most Remainers aren’t pushing his barmy letter this evening. Not the words of someone thinking rationally.

Adonis’ Shouty Crackers Resignation Letter in Full

Brexit hater-in-chief Andrew Adonis has finally left his cushy government job at the National Infrastructure Commission. A government source says: “He’s been moving closer towards the exit door with each new onslaught he makes against Brexit. He’s now walked through the door before he was pushed.” At last.

Guido said last month that Adonis had been driven mad by Brexit – his resignation letter confirms that. He says Theresa May has become the “voice of UKIP and the extreme nationalist right-wing” and that Brexit is “a dangerous populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump”. Adonis, an unelected peer, also says Brexit doesn’t have a popular mandate. Totally mad.

Dear Prime Minister,

The hardest thing in politics is to bring about lasting change for the better, and I believe in working together across parties to achieve this. In that spirit I was glad to accept reappointment by you last year as Chair of the independent National Infrastructure Commission, when you also reaffirmed your support for HS2, which will help overcome England’s north-south divide when it opens in just eight years time. I would like to thank you for your courtesy in our personal dealings. 

The Commission has done useful work in the past 27 months, thanks to highly dedicated public servants and commissioners. Sir John Armitt, my deputy chair, and Phil Graham, as chief executive, have been brilliant fellow pioneers from the outset. I am particularly proud of our work on HS3 to link the Northern cities and Crossrail 2 for London, and our plans for the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge corridor. All these will be transformational if taken forward without delay. 

However, I am afraid I must now step down, because of fundamental policy differences – on infrastructure and beyond – which simply can’t be bridged.

Your decision to rupture British membership of Europe’s key economic and political institutions is the most important. The European Union Withdrawal Bill is the worst legislation of my lifetime. It arrives soon in the House of Lords and I feel duty bound to oppose it relentlessly from the Labour benches. 

Brexit is a dangerous populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump. After the narrow referendum vote for an undefined proposition to ‘leave the EU,’ it could have been attempted without rupturing our essential European trade and political relations. However, by becoming the voice of UKIP and the extreme nationalist right-wing of your party, you have taken a different course, for which you have no parliamentary or popular mandate. 

You are attempting to wrench  Britain out of the key economic and political institutions of modern Europe, erecting barriers between people and trade even within Ireland. If this happens, taking us back into Europe become the mission of our childrens’ generation, who will marvel at your wanton destruction. 

A responsible government should be seeking to persuade the British people to stay in Europe while also tackling, with massive vigour, the social and economic problems within Britain which led to the narrow referendum result of eighteen months ago, particularly in our many desperately poor towns, cities and regions. Your policy is the opposite. The Government is hurtling towards the EU’s emergency exit with no credible plan for the future of Britain’s trade and European co-operation, while ignoring – beyond soundbites and inadequate programmes – the crisis of housing, education, the NHS and social and regional inequality which are undermining the fabric of our nation and feeding the populism which led to Brexit. 

What Britain needs in 2018 is a radical reforming government in the tradition of Attlee which works tirelessly to eradicate social problems, while strengthening Britain’s international alliances. This is a cause I have long advocated and acted upon in government and I intend to pursue it with all the energy I can muster. 

Britain needs to be deeply engaged, responsible and consistent in its European policy. When we have failed to be so in the past, the security and prosperity of our Continent have been in jeopardy – inevitably so, given our power and our embodiment of the values of parliamentary democracy. For Her Majesty’s Government, there is no such thing as ‘splendid isolation’: and when Lord Salisbury, among your most short-sightedly cynical predecessors, pronounced this as British policy in the imperial late-Victorian era, it was followed within barely a decade by the First World War and what was, in effect, a 30-year European war between the forces of democracy on the one hand, and Communism and extreme nationalism on the other. The stakes may not appear so high as this moment, but no-one observing Putin’s Russia, and the rise authoritarian nationalism in Poland and Hungary, can doubt the resonances with the past or the dangers ahead. As Edmund Burke so wisely wrote, ‘people will not not look forwards to posterity who do not look backwards to their ancestors.’

However, I would anyway have been forced to resign from the Commission at this point because of the Transport Secretary’s extraordinary decision to bail-out Stagecoach and Virgin on the East Coast rail franchise. This bailout will cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds, possibly billions as other loss-making rail companies demand equal treatment, endangering the entire national infrastructure investment programme. 

It is increasingly clear that the bailout is a nakedly political manoeuvre by Chris Grayling in defiance of his public duty. It would be an act of cavalier irresponsibility even were public resources not so constrained, and is the more so in the context of Brexit. Mr Grayling’s policy appears to be motivated above all by a refusal, for purely political reasons, to follow my precedent of 2009 in the case of National Express and the same East Coast franchise. I set up a public company to take over the franchise once the private operator defaulted on its obligations to the state because it had over-bid for the contract, and the same should have been done in this case. The circumstances are very similar. 

The decision to bail out Stagecoach/Virgin will inevitably come under close scrutiny by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee, and I need to be free to set out serious public interest concerns. I hope the PAC calls Sir Richard Branson and Sir Brian Souter to give evidence soon, given the gravity of the financial losses to the taxpayer. I stand ready to give evidence to the PAC and other parliamentary committees at their convenience, and to share with them substantial relevant evidence. 

As you know, I raised these issues directly with the Chancellor and Transport Secretary immediately after the bailout became apparent from the small print of an odd policy statement on 29 November majoring on reversing of Beeching rail closures of the 1960s. I received no response from either Minister beyond inappropriate requests to desist.

You occupy one of the most powerful offices in the history of the world, the heir of Churchill, Attlee and Gladstone. Whatever our differences, I wish you well in guiding our national destiny at this critical time.

 

Safe to say he won’t be missed.

Remain Campaigns Coordinated Spending

Remain lawyer Jolyon Maugham called the validity of the referendum into question over the various Leave campaigns allegedly coordinating their spending. As he wrote in the Guardian, Maugham was so concerned about Vote Leave paying for services from other campaigns that he launched a Judicial Review into what he called “illegal spending”. Maugham will surely be equally outraged to learn that the same thing happened on the Remain campaign…

Guido has found:

  • The In Campaign Ltd paid for £52,062.23 worth of campaign materials for the Liberal Democrats between 15 April 2016 and 8 June 2016.

  • The In Campaign Ltd paid for materials worth £22,829 for Labour on 15 April 2016

  • Labour paid for £7,265.65 worth of materials for the The In Campaign Ltd on 26 May 2016.

  • Emma Duncan (who set up Wake Up And Vote) donated £24,000 to DDB UK Ltd on 11 July 2016.

  • We are Europe donated £10,000 to DDB UK Ltd on 29 June 2016.

  • Virgin Management Limited donated £15,000 to We Are Europe on 15 June 2016.

Maugham accused Vote Leave of breaking the law and said parliament could decide to overturn Brexit as a result. He wrote: “It’s not just about Brexit. The reason we have spending limits is because we want to live in a democracy”. Now it’s clear the Remain campaign was doing the same thing, will he call for an investigation into them too?

Guido’s investigation over the last few days has revealed the Remain campaign coordinated not only their spending but their messaging, campaign plans, data, materials and donations, with the effect of causing them to overspend by more than double the legal limit. Stay tuned…

Remain Donors Funnelled £1 Million to New Campaigns Set Up in Weeks Before Referendum

More than £1 million of Remain donors’ money was funnelled to new campaigns set up in the weeks before the referendum, as the official Remain campaign approached its maximum spending limit. A Guido investigation can reveal several of the campaigns that supported Remain were registered only weeks before the referendum, and were given hundreds of thousands of pounds each to spend in those final weeks.

  • DDB UK Ltd registered as an independent campaign on 25 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. DDB UK Ltd received £191,000 in donations.

  • Best For Our Future registered as a permitted participant on 27 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. It received £424,000 in donations

  • The In Crowd registered on 10 June 2016, less than two weeks before the referendum. It received £76,000 in donations.

  • Virgin Management Ltd registered as a permitted participant on 3 June 2016, less than three weeks before the referendum. It received £210,000 in donations.

  • Wake Up And Vote registered as a permitted participant on 24 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. It received £100,000 in donations.

Five campaigns which only registered less than one month before the referendum received a total of £1,001,000 in donations. 85% of the total donations given to these campaigns were made by people who had already donated to the official Remain campaign:

Could it possibly be that the official campaign was getting close to its legal limit, and so the donors’ money was directed to other groups in the run up to the vote so it could still be spent? Remember this is exactly what Remainers have accused the Leave campaign of doing, claiming this is reason for the result to be overturned. Stunning hypocrisy…

Remain Scrooges Deface Christmas Tree With EU Flags

Remainers have defaced a Christmas tree with EU flags in a Scrooge-like protest against both Brexit and festive good cheer. The unwanted decorations appeared on the tree in Romford town centre on Christmas Day. An EU flag was also pinned to the door of the council offices. Tory MP Andrew Rosindell suggested hard leftists were to blame. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men, so long as you didn’t vote Leave…

Remain Groups Shared Data, Suppliers and Campaign Materials

The Electoral Commission is investigating whether Vote Leave and other Leave campaigns coordinated by using the same supplier, digital marketing agency AIQ. This story has been reported extensively in the pro-Remain media, some Remainers have even suggested it means the referendum result should be voided. Yet Guido has found evidence of this happening with the various Remain campaigns, on a much larger scale…

  • The In Campaign Ltd spent £7,467.60 with advertising agency Adam and Eve on 1 June 2016.

  • Remain group Wake Up And Vote spent £24,000 on Adam and Eve on 28 June.

  • Adam and Eve registered another agency, DDB UK Ltd, as an independent Remain campaign, which received £191,000 in donations. This included £24,000 from Emma Duncan, founder of Wake Up And Vote. DDB UK Ltd’s registered address was the same as Adam and Eve’s, and its responsible person was Adam and Eve chief executive James Murphy.

This means that the official Remain campaign used the services of a business which had already set up its own campaign as a permitted participant in the referendum, spending nearly £250,000. It is impossible to believe that no coordination occurred here.

  • M&C Saatchi acted as a supplier to both The In Campaign Ltd, which spent £57,600 on the advertising agency, and Conservatives IN Ltd which spent £4,029.81.

  • The In Crowd spent £34,375.20 on Build Hollywood Ltd, whilst We Are Europe spent £54,000 on the same supplier.

  • Freud Communications offered its services to The In Crowd at a cost of £64,431.78, and to We Are Europe for £30,000.

  • Goodstuff Communications acted as a supplier to both The In Crowd which spent £55,215 on the agency, and We Are Europe which spent £6,000.

Is it believable that there was no coordination between The In Campaign, Wake Up and Vote, Adam and Eve and DDB UK? Is it believable that the same communications companies acted for multiple Remain campaigners with no coordination whatsoever? Just think how mad the Remainers went about Vote Leave and AIQ – it turns out their own side was doing it on a much bigger scale…

Then there is the question of the various Remain groups sharing data and campaign materials. An extract from Tim Shipman’s All Out War reveals: “[Stronger In’s] field operation was effectively subcontracted to the Labour Party, since the Tories had little or no presence in the working-class areas which the Brexiteers were targeting”. If the Labour Party was in charge of the field campaign, did BSE notify its supporters that it would share their data with a third party? Is it believable that there was no coordination here on messaging, leaflets and other campaign materials? The Electoral Commission is investigating Vote Leave, surely it will have to take a look at the Remain campaign too…

Remain Campaign Flouted Rules to Spend Double Legal Limit

The Remain campaign flouted Electoral Commission rules so it could overspend by up to £7.5 million during the referendum, a Guido investigation can reveal. Over the next few days Guido will be looking at how the various Remain groups coordinated their messaging, campaign plans, data, materials and donations, causing them to overspend by more than double the legal limit. Sorry Electoral Commission HQ, you’re going to have to come back early from your Christmas holidays…

The Electoral Commission rules are clear: if one campaign “coordinates [its] activity with another campaigner”, then they are “highly likely to be working together”. This definition of “working together” is important, because the Electoral Commission also says: “the lead campaign group must count all of the spending of all the campaigners it works together with towards its own limit”. Guess what… they didn’t.

Two books provide detailed accounts of a number of Remain campaigns coordinating plans and working together in the weeks leading up to the referendum. Tim Shipman’s All Out War reveals “[Craig] Oliver led an early-morning conference call for the media teams at 6.15am. At 7.30am there was a second conference call, in which Stronger In would tell Labour In, Conservatives IN and the Liberal Democrats about their plans for the day”. This clearly counts as “coordinating” and “working together” under the Electoral Commission’s definition.

In his book Unleashing Demons, Craig Oliver somewhat ill-advisedly admits to coordination between the various Remain campaigns: “I join a 7.30 a.m. cross-party call chaired by Will Straw. It’s designed to catch up with what the In campaigns for the various political parties are doing that day. I want to get across a blunt message: this matters. We failed on immigration yesterday, hardly anyone stuck to our line that we accept it’s a problem, but Leave’s solution of trashing the economy is no way to deal with it”.

This reveals clear coordination between Remain campaigns both in terms of messaging and campaign plans for individual days. It would have allowed numerous Remain campaigns to provide a unified message on key issues, as well as adapt their individual campaign activities to complement those of other Remain campaigns. Remember the Electoral Commission rules: “the lead campaign group must count all of the spending of all the campaigners it works together with towards its own limit”…

The combined spending of The In Campaign Ltd (Britain Stronger in Europe), Conservatives IN, Labour and Liberal Democrats during the control period was £14,496,806. Given the clear evidence of coordination between these campaigns, this means that Britain Stronger in Europe looks to have breached its spending limits by up to £7,496,806, more than double the legal limit allowed under Electoral Commission rules.

There has been a lot of attention in the Remain media about alleged coordination between the various Leave campaigns, yet no focus on Remainers breaching the rules. Imagine what the Electoral Commission would have done if they discovered that Vote Leave, Leave.EU and UKIP had a daily morning call to discuss campaign plans. Guido has a lot more to come on this. Stay tuned…

Vince’s New Year’s Resolution: Work Less, Sleep More

Vince Cable is leading the LibDems into oblivion and party staff know it – just read these concerned briefings against him over the last few days. There has been an exodus from HQ, with head of press Jasper Gerard, spinner Paul Haydon and head of digital Michael Wilkinson all off. The salaries on offer are very low and some jobs are having to be re-advertised as no suitable replacements have applied. Knives are out for Cable, whose dreary leadership is being blamed across all sections of the party. So what has Vince told Politico is his New Year’s resolution?

“To work less and sleep more.”

That should do it… does he even want the job?

Boris’ Holiday Car Trouble

MPs on their Christmas holidays update: The EyeSpyMP Twitter account has spotted a frustrated Foreign Secretary gesticulating at the car hire desk in Turin airport:

We’ve all been there…

Laura Pidcock: Tories Are Humans

Laura Pidcock must be full of festive cheer – the top Corbynista has u-turned on her previous vow not to hang out with Tories and confirmed she is now “friendly” to Tory MPs because she considers them to be humans. How generous of her.

“I am very friendly, I sit on a justice select committee with Tories, I ask them to sign letters, EDMs [early day motions]; I’m very friendly with Conservatives because they are humans.”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Happy Christmas

From Paul, Alex and Ross to all of you…

Saturday Seven Up

This week 177,258 visitors visited 639,773 times viewing 1,015,027 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You can get the headlines that will be in tomorrow’s papers the night before by subscribing to the Guidogram, emailed to your inbox every evening order-order.com/subscribe. 

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

There’ll Be Bonging This Christmas

Good news; from tomorrow until New Year’s Day Big Ben’s bonging will be heard across SW1. That means the New Year’s Eve fireworks display will be set off from the London Eye as normal on the bong. Despite Brexit…

Chris Pincher and Stephen Crabb Cleared

Attempting to untuck the shirt of a Olympic rower is not a breach of the Tory code of conduct:

“Following media allegations, Chris Pincher referred himself to our Code of Conduct. Following an investigation, a panel headed by an independent QC considered the evidence and has concluded there has not been a breach of the Code of Conduct.”

Tories getting all these out over the Christmas news lull…

UPDATE: Stephen Crabb also off the hook. A Conservative Party spokesman said:

“Following an investigation, a panel headed by an independent QC has concluded that Mr. Crabb’s behaviour did not constitute harassment. However, it found that his behaviour in this matter was inappropriate and fell short of the standards the Party expects.

“The Party Chairman has reminded Mr. Crabb of the need to adhere to the spirit and letter of the Code of Conduct at all times. He accepted this unreservedly and has made a full apology.”

Top Ten Sweary MPs

According to the geeks at PoliMonitor Jess Phillips is the most foul-mouthed MP on Twitter:

  1. Jess Phillips (Labour) 39
  2. Angus MacNeil (SNP) 28
  3. Mike Gapes (Labour) 16
  4. Jonathan Reynolds (Labour) 12
  5. Dr Philippa Witford (SNP) 9
  6. Andrew Gwynne (Labour) 9
  7. Dawn Butler (Labour) 9
  8. Chris Bryant (Labour) 8
  9. Stella Creasy (Labour) 7
  10. Robert Syms (Conservative) 7

The SNP manage disproportionately to get 2 entries into the top 10, Robert Syms holds up the Tory end (just) in tenth place behind everyone’s favourite bit of posh profanity, Stella Creasy. The LibDems are nowhere to be seen. What does this tell us?

Olney Charged Taxpayer £2,000 For Party Political Letters

Sarah Olney has been found guilty of breaching the Members’ Code of Conduct after the Standards Commissioner ruled she spent nearly £2,000 of taxpayers’ money on letters which solicited donations to the LibDems. Olney billed voters £1,941.63 to send over 3,000 of her constituents letters which told them to visit a website which was “explicitly published and promoted by the party and on which financial support for the party was solicited”. She has apologised and agreed to reimburse the taxpayer. Worth remembering what the LibDems told us when Guido first reported the story: “This is an utterly spurious allegation without any basis. We are confident this complaint will be rejected at the first opportunity.” Turns out the Standards Commissioner did not agree…

Twinings Distance Themselves From Poundland’s Teabagging Elf

Today’s source of Twitter faux outrage: this tweet from Poundland featuring a naughty elf and a Twinings teabag:

Twinings have responded by distancing themselves from the promotion:

A look at some of the other recent tweets on Poundland’s feed shows a clear deliberate attempt to wind up Twitter and bag a load of publicity. Storm in a teacup? 

Mark Garnier Cleared

Number 10 say:

“Following allegations of sexual misconduct, the Prime Minister asked the Cabinet Office to look into the behaviour of Mark Garnier MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade. The Cabinet Office’s investigation primarily considered Mr Garnier’s behaviour as a Minister, but also heard evidence from before he was appointed to government. 

The Cabinet Office concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Garnier’s conduct as a Minister since 2016 had breached the expected standards of behaviour. The Prime Minister’s view is therefore that Mr Garnier did not break the Ministerial Code while holding government office.

“The Cabinet Office also took evidence in relation to an incident that happened before Mr Garnier was a Minister, between Mr Garnier and a member of his parliamentary and constituency staff. The Cabinet Office concluded that there was no dispute about the facts of the incident, but there was a significant difference of interpretation between the parties, and that the member of staff in Mr Garnier’s office was distressed by what had occurred.

“It was not his intention to cause distress, and Mr Garnier has apologised unreservedly to the individual. On that basis the Prime Minister considers that a line should be drawn under the issue.”

Turns out the ministerial code says you can’t lie about porn but you can ask your researcher to buy sex toys…

Sam Armstrong Cleared of Rape

A jury at Southwark Crown Court has cleared Sam Armstrong of raping a woman in Craig Mackinlay’s office.

Vaz Investigation “Suspended For Medical Reasons”

A few weeks ago Guido asked what had happened to the Standards Commissioner’s investigation into Keith Vaz, which still hasn’t reported back after nearly a year and a half. Today the ongoing investigations list has been updated to reveal that the Vaz inquiry has been “suspended for medical reasons”.[…] Read the rest

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Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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