Rudd Sorry For Missing Key Brexit Vote Last Night

Five divisions in the Commons last night on the EU Withdrawal bill had MPs running back and forth from their offices, dinner and the terrace to the voting lobbies. Amber Rudd managed to turn up for four of the votes, but curiously appears to have missed the crucial division on the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This was the tightest vote of the evening, the government won by 311-301 – just ten votes. Rudd made it to the votes before and after, but oddly missed the closest one of the night. Guido has asked for an explanation… the whips will be keen for one too…

H/T @mrharrycole

UPDATE: A source close to Amber Rudd says:

“Between the votes last night Amber had to deal with an urgent call about a National Crime Agency issue. She cut it too fine and missed one vote for which she has apologised to the Whips. She voted in the other 4 out of 5 votes last night.”

Amber Rudd Claims Whips Have No “Black Book”

In happier days when he was the Chief Whip Michael Gove actually showed us the black book:

Maybe Rudd had a spreadsheet?

Rudd: Watershed Moment in Westminster

Arms Folded in Unity

Actually not a bad ad lib from Corbyn pointing out that Amber Rudd was keeping Boris and Hammond apart at PMQs.

Positive body language… sorta.

NiMo Lands Amber In It

Nicky Morgan says she was contacted by a “very senior” member of the Cabinet who said “she” was appalled by briefings against Hammond. The only “very senior” member of the Cabinet (other than the PM) is Amber Rudd. Oops…

UPDATE: Remarkable hypocrisy from NiMo. Two weeks ago she said Boris “has to go” if he can’t keep quiet on Brexit. Last week she was widely implicated in the plot against the PM. Today Morgan says “it’s not helpful for anybody to have ministers being attacked, whether it’s the Chancellor or the Foreign Secretary” and criticises “self-indulgent” colleagues doing so. Eh?

Rudd Schmoozes Backbenchers Over Sushi and Sandwiches

You can usually spot which Tories are mounting leadership bids by seeing who has been hosting colleagues for evening drinkies. Amber Rudd has taken a more metropolitan approach – yesterday she schmoozed backbenchers over sushi and sandwiches at a lunch held in her office after PMQs. Rudd was working the room hard, one MP said: “It was obviously a thinly disguised leadership bid”. Others present say the get-together was more about getting colleagues on board with the immigration bill. Those huge donations are being well spent…

Cringeworthy Rudd Memes Worse Than Activate

Last week The Times reported that three social media accounts promoting Amber Rudd have been set up by her supporters. Guido has been following their progress and can report that they have alas not gone viral. @VoteForRudd has attracted a total of 300 followers, pumping out memes that are more cringeworthy than Activate. This photoshop of the “Battle of Hastings re-enactment” got two retweets.

In fact, we’re probably being harsh on Activate. These Rudd graphics are worse:

The “Vote For Rudd” Facebook page is even more cringe, it has managed just 90 likes. Meanwhile on Instagram they’re mocking her up as a cheerleader and calling themselves the “Ruddettes“.

All in all it is not exactly #Moggmentum. The terrible accounts are being run by an anonymous blogger calling himself “Tory Boy 999“. He says:

“We need young people with a good knowledge of social networking to become keyboard warriors for the centre right. We are endeavouring to provide a range of useful resources and will be running this blog, an active instagram account and a YouTube channel. We encourage people to copy and paste, screenshot, share or reproduce any of these resources. We want to reach as many people as possible, target young people and reach new audiences.”

Is that you, Roland?

Rudd Tells Boris to Stand

Great spot of an awkward audience moment…

Rudd Banking £30,000-a-Month Donations

Amber Rudd addresses Tory conference later on a day on which her leadership ambitions are again coming to the fore. She has used a wide-ranging interview in the Mail to attack Boris’ “red lines” (not sure he ever actually used the words “red lines”) and say her leadership rival shouldn’t give his views on Brexit. And the Times reveals she has hired Lynton Crosby’s firm CTF to help her keep her seat. Colleagues note that Rudd banked £30,000 in donations in June, the latest declared period, a huge sum in a very short space of time for someone supposedly just interested in keeping her seat in an election five years away. She has Lord Feldman fundraising for her, more evidence that she is the Cameron / Osborne / Remain choice for next leader. CTF insist their work is related solely to her constituency. The fundraising is intriguing though, quietly and very quickly Rudd is amassing a considerable war chest. Last night in Manchester her brother Roland hosted a champagne reception for the Remain glitterati…

UPDATE: Roland party organisers dispute the use of the phrase Remain glitterati, pointing out Gove and DD were also in attendance.

Hammond and Rudd Bomb in Tory Focus Group, Boris Still Membership’s Favourite

Fascinating Frank Luntz focus group on the Sunday Politics asking Tory voters their thoughts on potential leadership contenders. Terrible viewing for Hammond (“so boring, so dull, bland”), and bad too for the great Remain hope Amber Rudd (“not leadership material, she’s backroom staff”). Better for Boris (“underneath it he’s very, very intelligent”), though it was the Mogg and David Davis who were most popular. Nobody in the room wanted May to fight the next election…

With over half of ConservativeHome readers wanting Theresa May to go before the next election, on Friday YouGov helpfully released this poll:

Basically Boris wins if he gets in front of the membership according to YouGov. Amber Rudd is likely to be the unity candidate of the continuity-Cameroons and Tory Remainer resistance, with Ruth Davidson campaigning for her fellow Remainer. DD and Boris will split the pro-Leave majority of the parliamentary party so it is, as things stand, going to be a Tory leadership campaign where in the final membership round Rudd likely loses to one of them. Is DD more popular with MPs than Boris?

YouGov Tory Member Poll: Borismania Back, Rudd Bombs

For all the attacks on him in the media and among Remainers over the last few weeks, YouGov finds Boris is the choice of Tory members to be the next leader. Ruth Davidson is in second place and Jacob Rees-Mogg is in third. Notably David Davis is some way behind on just 11%, while the Cameroon choice Amber Rudd is completely out of it on just 6%. Hammond is on a meagre 5%. Sobering for the Remain hope Rudd, and a reminder that the anti-Boris Remain media narrative does not reflect the views of Tory members…

H/T Sam Coates

Cabinet Brexit Split: Where They Stand

All explained here

Rudd Refuses to Answer If She Wants to Be Leader

Reminder that Boris isn’t the only one on manoeuvres. Amber Rudd refused to answer Marr’s question about whether she wants to be leader – the answer is yes. She is the most ardent Remainer in the Cabinet, backed by the Theresa May-hating George Osborne. She had many reasons to machine gun Boris on live TV this morning…

Rudd: I Don’t Want Boris Managing Brexit

Amber Rudd machines gun Boris on Marr, accusing him of “backseat driving” and sternly insisting “I don’t want him managing the Brexit process“. Never mind that Rudd is an arch-Remainer who is equally ambitious as Boris, she lost the referendum and Boris won it…

UPDATE: That’s not what she used to say…

New Labour MP Compared Amber Rudd to Hitler

New Labour MP Ruth George has tried to distance herself from her own Twitter account after the BBC dug up old posts comparing Amber Rudd to Hitler. The new High Peak MP claims the tweets were sent without her knowledge; her ‘spokesman’ says they were sent by “a very passionate campaign volunteer“. Such charming views expressed include calling Amber Rudd “Mein Fuhrer”. Contrary to the denials, the account profile says tweets were sent by George herself. Calibre of new Labour MPs depressingly uninspiring so far…

Osborne: Rudd Doesn’t Support “Direction” of Tories Under May

Another helpful line from George Osborne today. He says Amber Rudd does not support the “direction” of the Tory party under Theresa May:

“The current Conservative leadership is moving further away from the social and economic liberalism that has made our country and its capital a global success story. That is the wrong direction. Their legitimate attempt to address the concerns of  those who feel left behind by globalisation has ended with them stigmatising the value that immigration brings to Britain, and it has produced a misguided programme of intervention in business.

Thankfully, many of the impressive candidates the Conservatives are fielding know this is a mistake. We have seen in this campaign faces of the future like Amber Rudd and Ruth Davidson, interviewed in this paper today. They have maintained a disciplined silence about their reservations concerning the direction of the party before the polls; we suspect they will make their voices more forcibly heard after the election.”

Hardly a surprise given Amber’s on the record views, which are certainly of a more liberal bent than May. Rudd is a long-time Friend of George, the pair are very close and she used to be his PPS. One to watch depending on the size of the Tory majority…

Rudd Condemns US Over Leaks

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has condemned the American authorities for leaking details of the Manchester attack to the US media, against the wishes of the British police. Asked if intelligence sharing is something she will be looking at, Rudd replied “yes”. 

Amber Rudd and Fleet Street Don’t Understand Encryption

Following Amber Rudd’s talk of “necessary hashtags” and how “we don’t want to go into the cloud”, you’d be forgiven for thinking she is something of a digital immigrant. The Home Secretary has her sights trained on the messaging service WhatsApp and end-to-end encryption, the system which means a conversation can be read only by the sender and recipient and not intercepted by a middle man. Here’s why that’s a red herring…

1. A backdoor to end-to-end encryption would not have stopped the Westminster attack

Khalid Masood was not on the security services’ radar. So even if MI5 and GCHQ were able to intercept his WhatsApp messages before the attack, they would not have done so. The attack would have proceeded all the same. Any change in law or policy would have made no difference.

2. End-to-end encryption is not preventing MI5 read Masood’s messages

Rudd says detectives cannot access Masood’s final messages and that WhatsApp’s complicity in this is “unacceptable“. Today’s Telegraph front page says “Internet giants hide terrorist’s final note”. This is just wrong. WhatsApp do not have access to the unencrypted messages – the messages can only be read on the phones of the sender and recipient. The police presumably have Masood’s phone, it is highly likely they are now inside and able to read the messages. The only thing stopping them get in would be the phone’s passcode. Which is nothing to do with WhatsApp.

3. Encryption is binary

Either you have end-to-end encryption or you don’t. Giving MI5 and GCHQ a backdoor into WhatsApp means the service is no longer secure and any hacker can break in to any user’s messages. As Open Rights Group say, “compelling companies to put backdoors into encrypted services would make millions of ordinary people less secure online. We all rely on encryption to protect our ability to communicate, shop and bank safely”Rudd is asking WhatsApp to open up all their users to attacks by cyber criminals and foreign regimes. 

The Home Secretary is using encryption as a scapegoat when it is completely irrelevant to the Westminster attack. She is being aided by establishment journalists who do not understand technology – Andrew Marr’s interview was pathetic in its amateurism and today’s Telegraph front page is factually incorrect. As a side note, newspapers have splashed on attacks on Facebook, Google, YouTube, Uber and WhatsApp in the last week, today’s Mail bizarrely claims WordPress is helping terrorists. Almost as if Fleet Street has an advertising revenue-shaped ulterior motive for going after tech companies…

Rudd: WhatsApp Unacceptable

Rudd: Fake News Being Spread About Child Refugee Settlement

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Former public schoolboy Chuka Umunna told the  ‘Exit From Brexit Dinner’…

“Remainians, Remoaners, I don’t care what the label is, I’m proud. It’s fashionable to label everyone in this room as the liberal metropolitan elite . . . This caricature is promoted by a bunch of former public schoolboys!” 

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