Momentum Glamour Snapper Seeks CLP Chairmanship

Britain’s top Corbynista ‘glamour photographer’ Mike Fieldhouse remains set on climbing the greasy pole of Labour politics. The soft smut snapper lost out in his bid to become South East regional chair of Momentum; he was busted when a video emerged showing him posing-up sultry models clad in stockings, corsets and thigh-high leather boots. He was also running a website called ‘MAFWorld: Life through the lens of a glamour photographer’, which has now been taken offline. Can’t have done his feminist credentials any good…

Now Fieldhouse is seeking to become chair of Rochford & Southend East CLP. Guido hears local Momentum members are turning a blind eye to his day job in order to cement a Corbynista foothold. Socialism isn’t sexy…

Juncker: European Parliament is “Ridiculous”

Guido could have told Jean-Claude that years ago…

Feldman Lobbying Job Avoids Oversight

Former Tory chairman Andrew Feldman has landed a lucrative role at the PR outfit Tulchan Communications. The hire highlights a flaw in the system of oversight for outside interests – under House of Lords rules, Feldman doesn’t have to disclose how much he is paid by Tulchan or, more importantly, what businesses he’s assisting. There will be no way of knowing whether questions he asks in the Lords pertain to interests he personally represents…

Feldman also has roles at Macro Advisory Partners – chaired by former MI6 boss Sir John Sawers – and TFG Management, a hedge fund. If he were a former minister or special adviser, he would have had to clear his new appointment with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA). Despite attending Political Cabinet and still having the ear of half the Cabinet, the authorities have confirmed to Guido that Feldman doesn’t have to get his new job cleared by anyone.

Tulchan only recently entered the shady world of lobbying. As well as Feldman they have former Cameron spinner Graeme Wilson, ex-Osborne SpAd Lisa Jarrett-Kerr and former Tory aide Joe Armitage on their books. Their new under the radar hire spent the last few years phoning up big companies asking for money, sure he’ll make use of those skills at his new gig…

“Arlene Foster the Most Expensive Right-Winger Since Cristiano Ronaldo”

He plays more on the left these days…

Anne Waters Mitty: Strike-Backing Socialist and Self-Proclaimed “Left-Winger”

UKIP’s anti-Islam leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters can be revealed as a strike-supporting socialist and trade unionist who played an active role in the Labour Party for a decade and described her political views as “standard left-wing”. Waters is the supposedly hard-right, Tommy Robinson-endorsed candidate in the UKIP leadership race. UKIP figures are concerned she is a Walter Mitty character, self-publicist and entryist who has taken a less than credible political journey. A 2011 video obtained by Guido shows Waters, then a prospective Labour candidate in Thurrock, talking up her socialist credentials:

Most of what I believe would be standard left-wing… I believe in what I believe in. I believe in a strong public sector, I believe in the NHS. If there was a traditional left-wing, yes… that’s what I believe in…

I definitely endorse the right to strike and I think the Labour Party needs to stand up for the right to strike more often… I always support the trade unionists, I’m naturally inclined to support the trade unionists and I think Labour needs to reconnect with the trade unions… Generally I support strikers and certainly I support the right to strike…

The first issue and the one I am most concerned about is the NHS. I think we’ve lost sight of why we had an NHS. We’ve lost sight of why the Labour Party created the NHS and we need to return to those principles. And it’s under very sustained attack now by the Tories. They’re gonna try and do now what Thatcher couldn’t do, which was entirely privatise the NHS.”

Words which will rule her out as an option for traditional UKIP members.

Guido can reveal Waters was a Labour Party member for ten years. She was a Labour council candidate in London and ran to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Brighton Pavilion. In her 2013 resignation letter – deleted from the internet but obtained by Guido – Waters says she “spent endless hours canvassing, door-knocking, minute-taking (as constituency secretary) and I held several posts at branch, constituency, and borough level”.

There is of course a long tradition of left-wing nationalists, from Oswald Mosley to Marine Le Pen. Though Waters’ political journey from Milibandite to the female Tommy Robinson suggests she is not so principled. UKIP supporters have taken to calling her “Anne Waters Mitty”…

Hunt Paper: “Hard Brexit Means People Fleeing UK”

Big spending Torbynista and Remainer Jeremy Hunt has been indiscreet with his papers as he walked into Downing Street this morning. This oral questions briefing document he’s holding contains the words “Hard Brexit means people fleeing UK“.

Some Cabinet members at the moment need to get a grip…

Mackinlay in Court Today

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court today:

Craig Mackinlay, 50, of St George’s Square, Pimlico, central London, charged with two counts of making a false election expenses declaration.

Marion Little, 62, of New Road, Ware, Hertfordshire, and Nathan Gray, 28, of Red Oak, Hawkhurst, Kent, each face three counts and one count respectively of making a false election expenses declaration.

Stay tuned…

UPDATE: Mackinlay pleads not guilty.

Shadow Minister: Rebel Labour MPs Will Be Deselected

Venezuela-loving, Momentum-backed retread MP and new Corbynista shadow minister Chris Williamson has threatened Labour MPs with deselection if they rebel against the dear leader:

“MPs need to reflect the political programme that is overwhelmingly supported by Labour members and Labour supporters and if people aren’t prepared to do that then it will be up to Labour members in their constituencies to find someone else who will.”

If Corbyn critics think they are going to be forgiven they are naive in the extreme…

Vid va ITV.

UKIP Leader Runners and Riders

With Farage not running, a battle for UKIP’s soul is underway between the more classical liberal / libertarian old guard and populist anti-Islam elements who are accused of trying to infiltrate the party. As ever Guido gives you your runners and riders…

  • Peter Whittle: The bookies’ favourite, Whittle withdrew from last November’s contest to endorse Paul Nuttall, becoming his deputy. Likeable and a strong media performer (former TV producer and wonk). Whittle stands in opposition to the party’s more extreme new entrants and advocates for traditional Kipper identity: “I’ve always seen UKIP as a cultural movement“. The obvious successor…
  • Anne Marie Waters: Priced in at 4/1 as the second-favourite, Waters is a former hard-left Labour Party candidate turned hard-right founder of Sharia Watch UK. She was blocked from standing as a UKIP candidate at the general election (under UKIP’s leadership rules this could become an obstacle if she is deemed as not being in “good standing” for the past two years). She set up PEGIDA’s UK branch with Tommy Robinson, who introduced her at her leadership launch last month. Waters has called Islam “a killing machine“; Nuttall has condemned her and the party will split if she wins. Rumours that Waters is flooding UKIP with new members have been exaggerated. Will UKIP block her from standing?
  • David Kurten: London Assembly member Kurten impressed on the general election campaign and was clearly on top of his education brief. Well placed sources describe him as “talented“; he has made clear his intentions to further professionalise the party. First black leader of a UK political party?
  • David Coburn: Flamboyant Scottish MEP who says he is standing “to stop entryists, dilettantes and single issue loonies“. Pro-Farage and slammed Nuttall’s campaign, criticising him for being “extremely ill-advised“. A colourful outside bet… 
  • Ben Walker: The first candidate to declare a leadership bid, 38 year-old Bristol councillor Walker says he wants to return the party to the “grassroots” and claims the number one obstacle the party faces is “itself“. He described the 2017 manifesto as “a shambles“. Advocates a name change and total re-brand…
  • Chris Wells: Thanet Council leader who proposes re-focusing the party from Brexit to adult social care; said he wouldn’t stand if Farage did, and yet to rule himself out. Chances surely hurt by UKIP’s slump in South Thanet…
  • Bill Etheridge: UKIP MEP Etheridge had been tipped but told a local paper on Friday that he is unlikely to put himself forward for fear of splitting the moderate anti-Waters vote. He said: “Whoever is the best person to maintain Nigel Farage’s legacy will be the person I back. The true libertarians in the party will have to unite behind them to defeat the common threat.” All but ruled himself out…
  • John Rees-Evans: Faragist Rees-Evans, who came third in November’s race, once claimed a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse. Apart from that, he is best-known for advocating direct democracy within the party, and boasts more than 70,000 twitter followers. Said to own a survivalist compound in Bulgaria where he has a shooting range (although he said this was an “exaggeration“) . Popular but a long shot?
Alas there is no “make UKIP great again” candidacy from Raheem Kassam, he reckons UKIP is dead and is concentrating on his stateside shock-jock career. All eyes are on what is going to happen with Waters. Her brand of socialist slash EDL-lite politics would certainly be a surprise to most UKIP members…

Torbynistas’ £9 Billion Bill

More taxes, more spending, more borrowing, slower deficit reduction, wobbling on tuition fees and ending the public sector pay cap – some members of the Cabinet are becoming Torbynistas. Jeremy Hunt has demanded the “1% cap for NHS workers” is lifted, Justine Greening wants the same for teachers. Now Boris is briefing out he “strongly” believes the public sector pay cap should go. The IFS says copying Jezza’s cap-ditching policy would cost £9.2 billion per year, at a time when the national debt stands at nearly £1.9 trillion…

The 1% cap figure is also very misleading. Many NHS workers and teachers get a salary rise each year additional to national pay. As former minister Rob Wilson points out, this isn’t widely known and is worth several hundreds of pounds a year to several thousand pounds a year depending on salary band. The 1% figure everyone uses isn’t the whole story, for many the real number is more like 4%.

As the IFS says, in the last ten years public sector pay has accelerated faster than the private sector. Indeed earlier this year the IFS reported public sector workers are still being paid hundreds of pounds a year more than their private sector counterparts, despite “austerity“. None of the Torbynistas calling for an “end to austerity” are talking about how they are going to pay for it. For Boris this could be the most expensive Tory leadership campaign in history…

Labour Reshuffle

Labour’s error-strewn press release announces jobs for Gloria Di Piero, Rachel Maskell and Tracey Brabin. It’s “De Piero”, “Rachael” and “Tracy”. Full list below… (sic)…

DEFRA
David Drew
Holly Lynch

Home Affairs
Nick Thomas Symonds
Chris Williamson
Afzal Khan
Louise Haigh

Scotland
Paul Sweeney

Justice
Gloria di Piero
Imran Hussain

International Development
Roberta Blackman Woods

Transport
Rachel Maskell
Karl Turner

Treasury
Anneliese Dodds

Housing
Tony Lloyd
Melanie Onn

Women and equalities
Carolyn Harris

Defence
Gerald Jones

Local Government
Yvonne Fovargue

Education
Tracey Brabin

Wales
Chris Ruane

Who?

Corbynistas Trying to Use Data Protection Laws to Reinstate Suspended Members

Mandatory re-selection and a purge at HQ are just the beginning of the Corbynista consolidation plan. The next step is to reinstate those nutty members suspended for various offences last year. Hundreds of Corbyn supporters were censured by the party’s Compliance Unit for tweets and Facebook statuses that breached Labour rules, either on grounds of anti-Semitism or supporting another political party.

Now Corbynistas are launching legal challenges to prevent the Compliance Unit from using evidence gleaned from their social media accounts. They have complained to the Information Commissioner, claiming it is a breach of the Data Protection Act for screengrabs from their Facebook and Twitter accounts to be used against them. Corbynistas have been writing to General Secretary Iain McNicol stating they do not consent to their “private” data being used by Labour HQ. At least one suspended member claims to have had their complaint upheld.

This is bonkers. In the vast majority of cases the social media posts are publicly available broadcasts from foolish members. Would be laughable if Labour reinstates these anti-Semites and Trotskyist entryists on a technicality… 

Ireland Needs to Consider Leaving EU

Irexit is becoming more of a mainstream idea in Ireland. UK think-tank Policy Exchange has this morning published a paper by Ray Bassett, an experienced Irish diplomat who retired as an ambassador last year. The Irish Diplomatic Service has for decades been in awe of and subservient to the EU. Now the reality of Brexit is making even some diplomats question this fundamental tenet of Irish foreign policy in the face of increased hostility from the European Commission. The financial crisis of 2008 confirmed that a small country on the Western periphery of Europe will never be a priority of the European Central Bank. Membership of the Eurozone has cost Ireland dearly for little benefit, most of Ireland’s external trade is in sterling and dollars…

Bassett warns that whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, “there will be a price to pay. For Ireland, there is really no upside to Brexit,” he says. “The question to be raised is what price is Ireland willing to pay to stand in solidarity with the remaining 26 EU countries?”

The paper argues sitting on the sidelines and allowing the EU to negotiate for Ireland is untenable. The first duty of the EU negotiators is to act on behalf of the EU as an institution. This is prioritised in their European Council approved guidelines. However the type of deal that Ireland’s interests requires, including free trade with the UK, is directly in contradiction with the EU negotiators’ mandate that anything relating to Ireland and her border which emerges from the Brexit negotiations must “maintain the integrity the Union’s Legal Order” – with no exceptions to the customs union. Bassett argues therefore that Ireland must give serious consideration to Irexit.

Irish politicians are by nature transactional, for decades Ireland was a net beneficiary of EU largesse, she is now a new contributor, a situation which will worsen after Brexit takes billions out of the EU budget. It’s like the Eurovision Song Contest – Ireland used to be a regular winner, now Eastern Europe has joined, they rarely win.

The Irish political establishment is extremely wary of Irexit and will want to see signs that Britain has first made a success of Brexit. Once the UK concludes a free-trade deal with the US the pressure on Ireland – which would be geographically in the middle of a North Atlantic Free Trade Area yet not a member – will become immense. The illogical situation of being in a currency and trading bloc when most of your trade is not in the bloc or the currency will make Irexit inevitable… 

DCMS Rebranded, Sort Of

DCMS is changing its name to DDCMS, except it will still be called DCMS. Confused? The government explains:

“In a move that acknowledges the way the Department’s remit has evolved, the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley have agreed a departmental name change. The Department will continue to be referred to as DCMS in all communications, but is now the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”

Saves paying to have everything in the department rebranded. Though they’ll need to redo that logo, it’s missing a comma…

Hammond Bolsters Treasury SpAd Team

The Treasury is getting three new Special Advisers following the departure of Philip Hammond’s long-serving aides Graham Hook and Hayden Allan. As reported by the Sunday Times, Hammond has appointed former Treasury minister Jane Ellison, who lost her seat at the election, as an adviser to shore up his position in parliament. Tim Pitt is moving to the Treasury from the Ministry of Justice. He worked with the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss at the MoJ, and is expected to have a combined role advising Hammond and Truss. Kane Daniell, an enterprising CCHQ aide, is also expected to move to the Treasury.

Get in touch with any updates…

Corbyn Wrong on Working Class Student Numbers

Jeremy Corbyn this weekend repeated a false claim that fewer working class people are going to university. He first made the claim during the general election campaign. He was wrong then. And he’s wrong now. The Labour leader said at a rally on Saturday:

“Fewer working class young people are applying to university. Let’s end the debt burden and scrap tuition fees.”

The claim was also attributed to him by the Unite union’s political department. It is factually incorrect, as fact-checkers Full Fact explain:

“There are a number of ways to measure what a ‘disadvantaged pupil’ is, but on all UCAS measures young students from disadvantaged groups in England are more likely to go to university now than any other year on record.”

Below is the university entry rate for pupils on free school meals (the orange line). In 2010, 11% of pupils on free school meals went to university – now it’s over 16%. (H/T @olivercooper.)

University admissions body UCAS introduced a new comprehensive measure to gauge access inequality last year. It takes into account a student’s sex, ethnic group, hometown, whether they attended a private or state school, and whether they received free school meals. It shows the participation of the most disadvantaged students is at a record high. Jez knows what he’s saying is wrong. He has been corrected before. He’s repeating an untruth because he knows it riles up the fan base…

Davis Not Going Soft: Still Backs Ending ECJ Jurisdiction

Contrary to weekend reports David Davis remains fully supportive of the government’s policy to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. On Saturday Davis’ ex-SpAd James Chapman said his former boss had been “hamstrung” by the commitment to leave the ECJ. Today’s Guardian claims there has been a “dramatic change of mood at DExEU since the general election”, erroneously suggesting Davis is now willing to make concessions on sovereignty and concede “political control“. These interventions are wide of the mark and do not represent Davis’ views, according to sources close to him.

The Brexit Secretary remains fully committed to the PM’s Lancaster House speech, which vowed to “bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain” and not “accept a role for the European Court of Justice that would see it still having direct legal authority in our country”. It is worth remembering that Davis himself set the ECJ red line in March, insisting there will be

“.. no future role for the European court in the interpretation of our laws and the bill will not oblige our courts to consider cases decided by the European Court of Justice after we have left..”

Allies of Davis insist he is not going soft on this key Brexit issue and say any suggestion to the contrary is mischief-making by anti-Brexit elements of the press. Indeed a DExEU spokesman flat out denied the Guardian’s story. A source says that Hammond, Davis, Boris and May are in agreement on all the major aspects of Brexit. Boris in particular would not countenance any backsliding on the ECJ issue. Chappers might be Davis’ former spinner but he is also an avowed Remainer, allies of DD find the notion he is still speaking for his former boss unlikely – to put it mildly. The key players agree on the overriding point that if the UK is still subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ then we will have not taken back control…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Bungling Burgon Inflates Protest Numbers Tenfold

Labour’s Richard Burgon was questioned on Guido’s story about the disturbing placards at yesterday’s Corbynista rally on the Sunday Politics. In response Burgon claimed there were 150,000 people at the demo. The Mirror says 10,000 attended, the Times says 10,000 attended, the BBC reports 15,000 attended. Definitely not 150,000. Straight out of the Trump playbook of making up crowd numbers. Or was Diane doing the counting?

Gove: We’re Taking Back Control of Our Waters

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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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