More Tories on Drugs

There was a respectable turnout for today’s launch of Crispin Blunt’s Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group. Guido spotted Dominic Raab and Andrew Mitchell in attendance, former Civil Society minister Rob Wilson is the CEO. The group got a front page pasting from the Daily Mail this morning for being funded by Canadian cannabis corporations. Nevertheless the fact is that prohibition has failed and the case for medical cannabis is a strong one, as this emotive video evidences:

The group plans to advance an evidence-based change to policy. Guido thinks that the main obstacles to a humane drugs policy are not the police or even most Conservative politicians. It is the outdated stance of the Daily Mail, and commentators like Peter Hitchens and Tim Montgomerie. Meanwhile we have a prison crisis, the needless criminalisation of untold people, with the profits of the illegal drug trade driving violent crime to horrific levels. Needless carnage…

Biker Mitchell Breaks Law Yet Again

Andrew Mitchell had a major spot of bother with the coppers on his bike once before, Guido has also spotted him jumping red lights. If he wants to avoid the same happening again it is probably a good idea if he doesn’t cycle on busy-with-pedestrians pavements. In this picture he looks like he’s on course to collide with Mark Harper. Law makers shouldn’t be law breakers…

Dozen Tories Took £85,000 of Junkets to Riyadh in Last Year

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has just announced he is pulling out of the upcoming “Davos in the Desert” conference in Saudi Arabia next week after revelations that the country was behind the torture and killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This morning Guido revealed Tory Vice Chairman Rehman Chishti had received £46,000 from the Saudis, further research by Guido reveals that since 2017, 11 other Conservative MPs have declared all-expenses-paid trips to Saudi Arabia, funded by the Saudi government. These junckets are worth more than £85,000. Liam Fox will not be taking his planned trip to Saudi Arabia next week, but look at all the Tories who did…

  • Richard Bacon
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Alex Burghart
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Leo Docherty
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Mark Garnier
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • James Heappey
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • Simon Hoare
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Philip Hollobone
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Mark Menzies
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Stephen Metcalfe
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • Andrew Mitchell
    • Meetings with the Government of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. Paid for by the Saudi Government. 13-15 January 2018. Value: £6,629.67
  • Keith Simpson
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802

Following their visits Mark Menzies warned Ministers to not be “put off by siren voices that want us to disengage” with Saudi export markets, and Leo Docherty called for further trade engagement with Saudi Arabia “the right thing to do not only commercially, but strategically and morally.” 

U.S. intelligence is now reportedly “convinced” the Saudi state is responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s worth keeping an eye on which MPs have been very quiet on this issue…

UPDATE: Bravo to Mark Menzies who has written a letter to the Foreign Secretary supporting a “thorough investigation”.

Shapps and Mitchell Plotters’ Dinner Scheduled Tonight

You couldn’t make it up: Grant Shapps’ local Tory association are hosting their annual dinner this evening at Beales hotel in Welwyn Hatfield. Guess who is down as the guest speaker? Only Shapps’ fellow arch-plotter Andrew Mitchell, who spent the summer along with Shapps calling round MPs stirring up anti-Theresa May sentiment. They could probably do with a few glasses of vino to forget the last 24 hours…

Ridge on Sunday Highlights

Andrew Mitchell Puts Constituency Home Up For Sale

mitchell

Andrew Mitchell has put his constituency home up for sale, Guido can reveal. Thrasher may have decided to put the £350,000 Sutton Coldfield property on the market to help pay his million pound legal bill, though there has also been speculation that Mitchell feels he has no future in Theresa May’s regime and is considering his political future. Either way, Guido takes you through the keyhole…

mitch1

Described by estate agents as a “stunning” and “beautiful” two bedroom “period residence set within a prestigious town centre location”, Mitchell’s gaff boasts original features throughout as well as a “beautiful kitchen” and “luxury bathroom”. It is a bit too pine ‘n chintz for Guido’s taste.

mitch2

Outside there is an enclosed rear garden with patio and dining area:

mitch5

The property is on the market now – Andrew Mitchell’s constituency home could be yours for £350,000…

Rebel Without A Pause: Mitchell Runs Red Light On Bike

Mitchel

Andrew Mitchell was spotted by a Guido co-conspirator outside Portcullis House showing an uncharacteristically flagrant disregard for the law by running a red light – biking over a  pedestrian crossing when the green man was lit. Luckily for him no policeman were around this time…

Clearly Mitchell just doesn’t care for reds or plebestrians…

According to Cycle Law cyclists have been jailed for this, this is the guidance:

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s.36 and the Traffic Signs Regulations and Directions and Directions 2002 regulations 10 and 36(1), road users must not cross the stop line when the traffic lights are red. This offence, also known as ‘red light jumping’, applies to cyclists as well as motorists. The maximum penalty for red light jumping is a £1,000 fine and six penalty points endorsed on the driver’s licence however, in most cases, a driver will get a Fixed Penalty Notice (On-the-Spot Fine) of £30 whilst the maximum would only ever be imposed if the Fixed Penalty Notice is contested and taken to court. The punishment is also applicable to cyclists who, if caught, can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £30.

That’s not nice-ycle…

Another Mitchell Police / Bike Run In

Cylicists in Westminster are being forced to dismount and walk their bikes through the temporary pedestrianised zone today thanks to the Queen’s Speech.

One person looked particularly pleased…

Andrew Mitchell Can’t Keep It Up

“I thought you lot were supposed to f**king kicking it…”

Via BBC Brum Votes

Mitchell Down Half a Million After Refusing Sun Settlement

plebgate-mitchell-sun

Andrew Mitchell’s lawyers are back in court again arguing over how much the former chief whip has to cough up after losing his libel case last year. It has emerged News Group made offer to Mitchell before the libel hearing, but Mitchell turned it down, costing him “at least £500,000” in costs.

Mr Justice Mitling says that because he failed to accept News Group’s offer he should be liable for their costs and those of PC Toby Rowland.

Ouch. 

“Three Cheers for the Judge!” Mitchell Heckled Outside Court

Andrew Mitchell said he was “bitterly disappointed” to have lost his libel case against The Sun, but would not apologise for calling PC Toby Rowland a liar and refused to be drawn on whether he would remain in politics. “Three cheers for the judge!” heckled a passerby. That’s the face of a man facing a £3 million legal bill…

UPDATE:

BREAKING: Mitchell Loses Plebgate Libel Trial

Mr Justice Mitting found:

“I am satisfied at least on the balance of probabilities that Mr Mitchell did speak the words alleged or something so close to them as to amount to the same including the politically toxic word pleb.”

Mitchell had a Conditional Fee Arrangement with his lawyers, which means they won’t take a fee but he will have to stump up for The Sun and PC Toby Rowland’s costs out of his own pocket. Interim payment of £300,000 due in January, total costs could be up to £3 million…

Today in Court: “I Was Ill-Tempered” Says Mitchell But Top Tory Denies “Just F**king Plebs” Jibe

Andrew Mitchell told policemen at the Downing Street gates they were “just f**king plebs” who should “best know your f**king place”, a court heard today. Giving evidence against Mitchell, PC Toby Rowland claimed he did not know what the word “pleb” meant when the then Chief Whip allegedly called him one in September 2012. Rowland also told the court: “I didn’t have a clue who the Chief Whip was. I knew he’d changed recently. I needed to confirm who he was”. Describing Mitchell’s behaviour as “completely inappropriate and offensive”, Rowland insisted: “All my evidence has been the truth”.

Earlier, Mitchell concluded his evidence by admitting “I was ill-tempered” but “didn’t lose my temper”. He described as “completely wrong” suggestions he had changed his story, also insisting “I’ve always told the truth about this incident”. After leaving the gates that night, Mitchell phoned Bob Geldof and told him he had had a “row”. The following day Mitchell had two meetings with Craig Oliver, telling the court “He still is… [Downing Street Director of Communications]… I think”. He then had a telephone conversation with No. 10 Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn, who informed him “Houston, we have a problem”. The case continues…

Today in Court: Former Tory Whips Will Testify Against Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell “could not recall” what he said to police officers at the gates of Downing Street, courtroom 13 at the Royal Courts of Justice heard today. That is what former Deputy Chief Whip John Randall and former whip Michael Fabricant will testify at the Plebgate libel trial, despite Mitchell providing a verbatim account of the incident to the Sunday Times and telling the court “I would never call a policeman a pleb let alone a f**king pleb”. Presented with their testimony, Mitchell responded: “They were not on my side. Mr Fabricant has campaigned against me through out this period”.

Desmond Browne QC, representing PC Toby Rowland, alleged that on another occasion Mitchell told a security officer he was “a little s**t”, and that he told a further officer “that’s a bit above your pay grade Mr Plod”. On the second allegation, Mitchell replied “it’s possible”. Asked if he sneered at officers that they had been “sunning themselves by the pool for four days”, again Mitchell admitted: “it’s possible”. In a witness statement, Bob Geldof said Mitchell is “no slouch” when it comes to swearing.

Gavin Millar QC, for News Group Newspapers, told the court “when The Sun published the story it was because it truly believed the account..to be true”. James Price QC, representing Mitchell, insisted he is an “innocent man”“not a snob”, “a good man” who is victim of “a web of lies, deceit and indiscipline”. The case continues…

Loverson Lawyer Sherborne Off Mitchell Case

Andrew Mitchell is no longer employing the services of his celebrity barrister David Sherborne. Sherborne, who hit the headlines over his romantic Greek holiday with a fellow Leveson lawyer, had previously been punished by High Court judge Master Victoria McCloud for a bizarre legal screw up in which he failed to submit paperwork for the Mitchell case on time. Now his services are no longer required…

Mitchell’s Plebgate Libel Trial Scheduled for DecemberMillion Pound Costs Risk

plebgate-mitchell-sun

It will be all over by Christmas. Andrew Mitchell’s libel hearing against The Sun is scheduled for the first two weeks of December in the High Court. The losing side will be a million pounds worse off after costs alone. Meanwhile the Metropolitan Police are expected, because it is in the public interest as a matter of public confidence in the police, to publish the findings of Operation Alice –  the investigation into who passed information to The Sun and The Telegraph newspapers about the “Plebgate” incident, including whether the leak came from within the police force or from a third party.

Operation Alice examined a police witness statement from the incident and investigated if there was a conspiracy between the officer and another party. It also investigated claims made by Mitchell that police lied in the police log of the incident. Mitchell himself is also being sued for defamation by a policeman, a case that will be held in January. All this will be aired at the same time as Mitchell is trying to talk up his prospects of becoming an EU commissioner…

Cops Warned of Mitchell Concerns Before Plebgate Incident

The Times runs another police leak upping the pressure on Andrew Mitchell this morning. They have an email showing Downing Street police asked for advice over Mitchell’s repeated demands to break security rules and cycle through the main gates the night before it all kicked off.

00:48 September 19, 2012

“[Mitchell] keeps requesting to leave Downing Street via the main vehicle gates. [He was] adamant he WAS GOING THROUGH THOSE GATES. As it was quite late and quiet at this point and in order not to create embarrassment to himself or the DPG [Diplomatic Protection Group] he was allowed on this occasion to leave via one of the main gates.”

Regardless of where these leaks are coming from, they don’t look good for Mitchell at all…

See also: Mitchell ‘Did Call Officers F**king Plebs’

Mitchell 'Did Call Officers F**king Plebs'

Just when you thought it was over, one of the Plebgate cops has this morning given an interview to the Times insisting Mitchell did call officers “f**king plebs”. Ian Richardson was the first person to speak to the officer who claims Mitchell used the word:

“I said ‘Write that down and ring the skipper because you just threatened to arrest the Chief Whip in Downing Street — there’s likely to be some problems’.”

Which was prescient, to say the least…

Richardson blames the Police Federation for using the Downing Street policemen’s story for their own political ends and the bent cop who wrote up a false witness account, saying that despite all this the original account is correct. This might be closer to the truth than a lot of what else has been written about Plebgate…

Now Mitchell Himself is Getting Sued

It gets worse for Andrew Mitchell. PC Toby Rowland, who he called a “liar”, is going to sue him for libel. He sent him a lawyer’s letter yesterday accusing him of making defamatory comments. The Police Federation are believed to be stumping up the cash. Which, if it gets there, will make for a very interesting day in court…

Via @skymartinbrunt

More Bad News for Mitchell

The Court of Appeal has ruled that even if Mitchell wins any legal action against the Sun, the former Chief Whip will not be able to recover any of his costs.

As Guido reported at the time, High Court judge Master Victoria McCloud punished Mitchell’s lawyers, including celeb barrister David Sherborne, for failing to submit paperwork on time and his appeal failed this morning.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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