BBC Can’t Decide on a Political Editor

Laura Kuenssberg has left the position and got the Sunday morning interviewing gig. The politico-media world had been expecting her replacement to be announced by now. That hasn’t happened. So what is happening?

According to The Sunday Times BBC bosses have now encouraged Chris Mason, the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, to apply for the role, as the appointment process “descended into farce”. Hitherto Sky News’ Sophy Ridge and Anushka Asthana, ITV News’ deputy political editor, were both widely tipped, eclipsing Alex Forsyth, the BBC’s internal front runner at the bookmakers. Some reports said Faisal Islam was on the final shortlist. As things stand the BBC has no political editor and this will become embarrassingly clear after Easter recess…

Guido has an idea for someone with top political contacts, broadsheet reporting and TV presenting experience. Whatever happened to Allegra Stratton?

mdi-timer 7 April 2022 @ 14:58 7 Apr 2022 @ 14:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris’s Historic Cake Ambush

Conor Burns’s defence of the PM’s lockdown birthday party – that he was “ambushed with a cake” – may have received a Twitter ribbing, including from Nigella herself, though it’s hardly the most unbelievable claim. The PM himself was once caught on camera in exactly such a situation back on Peston’s show in 2016. At the time he’d been facing a barrage over his “have cake and eat it” quote regarding Brexit. Who ambushed the then-foreign secretary with the cake? None other than Robert Peston’s co-presenter, Allegra Stratton…

mdi-timer 26 January 2022 @ 13:32 26 Jan 2022 @ 13:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Allegra Stratton Quits as Downing Street Adviser

Stratton’s statement this afternoon:

“My remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey. That was never my intention. I will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and offer my profound apologies to all of you for them


To all of you who lost loved ones, endured intolerable loneliness and struggled with your business – I am truly sorry and this afternoon I have offered my resignation to Prime Minister.”

This is unlikely to make the story go away soon…

mdi-timer 8 December 2021 @ 15:43 8 Dec 2021 @ 15:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Whose Head Will Roll Over Downing Street Parties?

Downing Street’s Christmas party problem continues to ramp up, not least now it’s become more prominent in the public’s consciousness that there were multiple parties during the November and December lockdowns. Public anger is boiling and a senior head will have to roll. Who was responsible for the events?

There are three alleged drinks sessions contested during lockdown in Downing Street:

Boris reportedly said a few words at Lee Cain’s leaving event on November 13, if that event was accompanied by a few bottles of Downing Street claret it is arguably a leaving party. Incidentally, Boris was pinged and went into self-isolation on November 16… 

Cleo Watson’s leaving drinks was on November 27, reportedly Boris came in and made a speech, mentioning how crowded it was in the room before leaving shortly afterwards. This doesn’t sound like an event compliant with the rules.

If, as the BBC reports, the December party was for the press team, it would have to have been authorised, or at least not vetoed, by then-director of communications James Slack. Since he has departed to The Sun it makes it more difficult for No. 10 to blame him for subsequently assuring the PM that no rules were broken. If, however, current director of communications Jack Doyle was at the party, and has been briefing it didn’t happen, that would make life very difficult for him. It was Max Blain, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson, who briefed the Lobby on Monday that there was no party.

Despite being the poster girl for this story, Allegra Stratton was not in charge of the Downing Street press operation at the time of these events, according to the leaked video she did not stay for the party in question and certainly is not responsible for briefing the PM or the Lobby about the nature or (non)-existence of the party this week. Ultimately the PM must take responsibility for his advisors and their actions. Boris’s errors at PMQs today, not least denying Lee Cain’s leaving do was a party on November 13 and being bounced by Starmer into agreeing to hand over any evidence to the Metropolitan Police and the CPS, has compounded his difficulties.  The Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is to head an internal inquiry, though currently Downing Street can’t confirm or deny if he attended the party. Allegra resigning over a party for which she wasn’t responsible might not be the end of this…

N.B. This was written before Allegra Stratton resigned.

mdi-timer 8 December 2021 @ 15:42 8 Dec 2021 @ 15:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Downing Street Pulls Morning Media Round Spokesperson

It seems the Downing Street response to last night’s explosive ITV exclusive, like much of the Westminster village as a whole, is one of stunned silence.

Allegra Stratton made a return to her old TV channel last night after they obtained footage of her joking with the No. 10 head of broadcast about a Christmas party that they still maintain didn’t happen.

Sajid Javid was meant to be doing the morning broadcast round this morning, however has now been pulled thanks to the scandal. Resulting in him being empty chaired on BBC Breakfast…

With just four hours left until PMQs, Boris better think of something quick. Maybe Allegra could explain the situation herself in her capacity as a £120,000-a-year government spokesperson?

mdi-timer 8 December 2021 @ 08:01 8 Dec 2021 @ 08:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Ministers: “Do As We Say, Diesel Do for Us”

The government boasted yesterday that Britain has a network of 25,000 charging points, which sounds quite a lot until you realise that according to the CMA Britain actually needs 250,000 points in the long-term – at a cost of untold billions. It will also require a fundamental re-organising of the electricity grid by the time of the 2030 combustion engine ban. Our green government’s ministers will, of course, be leading the way…

Alok Sharma, who is the President of the upcoming COP26 summit, drives a diesel car, his spokesperson Allegra Stratton drives a diesel, most of the government’s chauffeur-driven Jaguars are diesel too. In fact, the only cabinet minister Guido has identified as owning an electric car is the Tesla-driving Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. The rest of the government’s ministers are hardly leading by example…

In 2019, the Department for Transport claimed that one-in-four government vehicles would be pure-electric by 2022. Better get a move on…

mdi-timer 11 August 2021 @ 13:45 11 Aug 2021 @ 13:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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