A Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Anna Soubry’s constituency is running an EU-backed ‘Brexit advice service’ to spread pro-EU propaganda. Broxtowe CAB in Nottinghamshire is understood to have won a contract to run a service called Europe Direct for the whole of the East Midlands. The initiative, which is part-funded by the EU – and therefore by taxpayers -says its purpose is:
“To provide information about Brexit negotiations as they progress, information on EU citizens’ rights and engage with younger people especially focusing on their future relations with Europe, but also to answer general questions about the EU, its institutions and programmes. The project will provide information to the public by telephone, email and in person.”
British MEPs are concerned this is effectively the same as establishing an EU office in the town which could be used for partisan political purposes. UKIP MEP Jonathan Bullock said:
“One would like to think the CAB is a neutral organisation – historically the CAB existed to provide free legal advice to anyone who entered its premises… This looks more like an attempt to influence public opinion during the second phase of the negotiating process, than any desire to provide clear legal advice on the outcome of those talks. Nor is it the job of a British high street charity to ‘answer general questions about the EU, its institutions and programmes’. If the EU wants to open an office in every town it is free to do so. It should not be a cuckoo in the nest of a town centre charity in order to do so.”
The initiative already has a website and is building a social media presence. CAB were contacted for comment. Sure it’s just a coincidence they chose to base it there…
UPDATE: Citizens Advice makes clear the project is co-funded between the European Commission and Citizens Advice Broxtowe, who would be providing advice on EU-related issues even if this project was not in place, and all advice provided by Citizens Advice is – and always will be – impartial and free from political interference.
Anna Soubry’s rebellion was in spite of her election promise to Broxtowe voters that: “if you vote for me, it is also a vote for Theresa May” and claim that people should vote for her “to get a good deal for Brexit”. Soubry’s constituency is majority (54.6%) leave. Did she mislead her majority leave constituents?
Late last night Soubs tweeted apparently in support of arch-remainer Andrew Adonis’s suggestion that this was the “first step towards defeat of Brexit.”
Does she endorse Adonis’s suggestion?
The Tory rebel Remainers celebrated defeating the government and provoked fury among colleagues by downing glasses of white wine in the Pugin Room following the vote. Rebel ringleaders Anna Soubry, Antoinette Sandbach, Heidi Allen and Bob Neill got the party started, jubilantly scrolling through Twitter on their phones before they were joined by Nicky Morgan and chief Brexit-hater Dominic Grieve, who was applauded on his way in.
The festivities went down like a cup of sick with fellow Tory MPs, one of whom commented: “If I did what they did and started quaffing champagne afterwards I would expect to be deselected”. Another watching MP said of the raucous Remainer party: “Just when the polls had started to turn these sh*ts hand the momentum back to Labour”. A Number 10 aide hit back at Soubry’s claim to have put party before country: “Total rubbish for the Remainers to say they have put country before party. All they’ve done is damage the UK’s position going into the negotiations”. Stephen Hammond has already been sacked from his job as party vice-chairman tonight, expect there to be local consequences for the other rebels too…
The champagne-guzzling ultra-Remainers of the metropolitan elite will gather at a 5-star hotel next month to toast the EU and plot the reversal of Brexit. More than 300 wealthy Europhiles will dine in opulence at the Jumierah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge, where surrounded by Viennese crystal chandeliers in the art-deco ballroom they will discuss how to undo the democratic will of 17 million people. Tickets for the exclusive “Exit from Brexit” dinner cost £200-a-head – the cash will swell the anti-Brexit war chest of Nick Clegg’s agitators Open Reason. Clegg himself, flanked by acolytes Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry, will address the Brussels-backing glitterati as they sit at tables booked for £2,000 each. Invitations to the private soiree proudly state: “our future lies in Europe”.
Good look for Remainers?
Anna Soubry calls for Damian Green to go:
“… You stand down, you remove yourself from this position until the conclusion of the investigation. That is what I would do.”
Press Association has some curious Anna Soubry quotes from a fringe event on immigration yesterday. According to their report she said it is a “myth” that migrants use public services because they are “thick young men”.
“Go to Boston. Boston apparently has some of the highest numbers of migrant workers. It is a myth that these people are clogging up our social services and social housing. It is not true, because most of the people who work in Boston, to put it crudely, are thick young men. The last place you’ll find them is at the Pilgrim hospital [in Boston], apart from those that work in it.”
UPDATE: Soubry is claiming she has been misquoted by Press Association. She reckons she said “fit young men”.
UPDATE II: Here is the audio. She said “fit”.
Sounds like the PA reporter had a particularly bad conference hangover.
The following 10 Tory MPs are elected to serve on the Brexit select committee:
P Bone, C Chope, S Crabb, J Djanogly, R Graham, A Jenkyns, J Lefroy, C Mackinlay, Rees-Mogg, J Whittingdale
Soubry loses again…
Soubry tells Today: “I don’t know of any Conservative Member of Parliament that isn’t going to vote for this bill at second reading”. Good…
— Salman Anwar (@_SalmanAnwar) July 17, 2017
Labour last night used a spurious three hour plus-long debate on procedure to block the scheduled debate on hard-left abuse of MPs. The Commons was supposed to spend the day discussing the abuse received by MPs during the election, instead Labour filibustered with a nonsense debate about how many debates they get to have until well into the night. As Anna Soubry quite rightly said:
“As a result of Labour’s filibusting tonight, this chamber will not debate the appalling abuse which many women candidates on this side of the House endured during the general election from the hard-left… There are many members on this side of the House that stood up for women on that side of the House when they were abused by their hard-left leadership.”
Vicky Atkins criticised Labour for blocking the abuse debate “to talk about their diaries” instead, Andrea Leadsom blasted “Members on both sides of this House have been victims of vile abuse from anarchists and hard-left activists, but obviously Labour are not interested” and accused Jeremy Corbyn of having “prevented this debate“. That’s what Tory MPs get for defending their Labour counterparts when they were on the receiving end…
‘I would like to remind a few of my colleagues, if you keep rocking the boat then Corbyn will be in Downing Street’ says Tory MP pic.twitter.com/R0GN6TdOeU
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 11, 2017
Bernard Jenkin tells Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry, Osborne and Heseltine to shut up or Corbyn will be in Downing Street. A view held by increasing numbers of Tory MPs this afternoon…
This morning Guido reported that Tory MPs were under pressure to quit Open Britain over the group’s decision to target Tories in LibDem marginals. Well, Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan have just resigned from the group:
“As long standing Conservative Party members and MPs it is untenable for us to play any further role in an organisation, such as Open Britain, which is advocating campaigning against Conservative MPs or candidates, and we will not be doing so.”
Dominic Grieve and Neil Carmichael have also quit the group. Really stupid strategic error from Open Britain, what on earth were they thinking?
UPDATE: Change Britain, the Brexit-backing rival to Open Britain, sensibly says it will sit out the election:
“Change Britain will be standing aside during the election period. We are a genuine cross-party campaign and therefore do not believe it is our place to encourage the public to vote for certain candidates during a general election. We will work with whoever gets elected after June 8th to ensure the referendum result is respected.”
Open Britain, the zombie Remain campaign formerly known as BSE, has published a hit list of 20 MPs they are aiming to unseat in the name of fighting Brexit. You would have thought the 20 would all be Brexit backers. Nope, Open Britain are targeting Remain-voting Tory MPs Nicola Blackwood, James Berry, James Heappey and Luke Hall. It is no coincidence that all four of these MPs are in LibDem marginals. This is completely blatant from Open Britain, a supposed all party group which has exposed itself beyond all doubt as a LibDem front.
How can Open Britain’s Tory MPs stay in the group when they are so obviously campaigning against their Tory colleagues, even ones who voted Remain? Nicky Morgan has this morning clarified “To be clear I shall campaign for all Conservative MPs/PPCs to secure strong Conservative Govt”. Alistair Burt has joined her: “Tory Remain MPs support all Tory candidates regardless of last years vote”. As we go to pixel Anna Soubry hasn’t commented. This Open Britain hit list has gone down incredibly badly in Tory circles and the feeling is Tory MPs should no longer associate with the group. Seems a strategic error from Open Britain, the mask has slipped…
UPDATE: As Leave Means Leave’s Richard Tice puts it:
“I urge Alistair Burt, Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry to clarify whether they are will be campaigning with the Conservative Party or with Open Britain, in which case they should resign and stand as an Open Britain candidate.”
Anna Soubry has repeatedly used the 2015 Tory manifesto commitment on the Single Market to support her own position that the UK should retain membership post-Brexit. This is really not as clever as she thinks it is. First, the referendum obviously gives the government a new mandate to leave the Single Market. Second, it turns out Soubry doesn’t actually care for manifesto promises when they don’t suit her. Her article for the Indy today calls for the government to drop its manifesto commitment to cutting immigration. Soubs has run on three straight Tory manifestos calling for immigration cuts. She is demanding the government sticks to the manifesto on the Single Market but breaks it on immigration – truly having her cake and eating it…
Anna Soubry suggests to the New Statesman that she would consider defecting from the Tories if a new centrist party was formed with Labour and LibDem Remainers:
“If it could somehow be the voice of a moderate, sensible, forward-thinking, visionary middle way, with open minds – actually things which I’ve believed in all my life – better get on with it.”
Soubry has done it before, she leaft the Tories in 1981 to join the Social Democrat Party (SDP) from 1981 until it was dissolved in 1988. Guido reckons she would do it again.
Penny for the thoughts of Broxtowe Tory association…
UPDATE: Good timing for Clegg to be sitting on the Labour frontbench:
Philip Hammond faces a Tory revolt over his broken National Insurance promise. The government has a working majority of 17 and Guido counts 19 Tory MPs who have already publicly opposed the policy. Many more are privately furious that they have been made to look like promise breakers by the Chancellor. Below are just those who have gone public so far…
“It goes against every principle of Conservative understanding of business. We understand that taking risks is what stimulates growth. It impacts people who are putting themselves at risk, their houses on the line, to create new growth. It’s the wrong way round and sends a very poor message.”
“The biggest issue is national insurance contributions… I would be cautious about this change, and I urge the Government to look at the whole question of the relationship between national insurance and income tax in the round.”
“I urge a rethink. We should be encouraging the self-employed, start-ups and people who are taking risks and carrying those risks themselves. We should recognise that through support, yes, but we should do so particularly through taxation.”
“It is very important to ensure that we do not disadvantage self-employed people. The Conservative Party always has been and, I hope, always will be the party that supports white van man and—may I say on this particular day?—white van woman… I hope very much that we will have some reassurance from Treasury Ministers that plumbers, electricians, plasterers and people of that sort will not be disadvantaged”
“Clearly, a tax rise that discourages any kind of activity is not attractive, especially when our economy is quite reliant on self-employment… that rise will be unwelcome news to people who are probably struggling and not getting all the rights to which they are entitled”
“We need to ensure that it is as easy as possible to get into self-employment, and that it is as worthwhile as possible when people are successful. I always think it is a good idea to try to confine taxes, and certainly tax rises, to things that we do not approve of very much… We should not go out of our way to tax work, enterprise and success. I know we have to do some of that, because we need a lot of revenue for the range of public services we offer, but our taxes on those things are quite high enough.”
“We are taxing those families who have taken on the risk of setting up their own small business, many of which employ apprentices and are the backbone of our economy.”
“I understand that there are distortions when people are self-employed, but I think this should be kept under review.”
“I can’t say I’m overjoyed at the action the Chancellor has taken because self-employed people are a great asset to the local and the national economy. You have also got to consider that they sometimes don’t qualify for other benefits. Clearly, the view of the Treasury is that there was an anomaly which needed to be rectified. But, as we all know, you resolve one anomaly and another often appears somewhere else.”
“This could be 1st u turn …. this will not be popular & many will argue it’s unfair”
“I don’t like this bit much… we have to look at this in the round to make sure we are not hurting entrepreneurial classes… we need to square this with not just the letter but the spirit of the commitment.”
Iain Duncan Smith:
“I would like to see this kept under review… We all saw what happened to President Bush senior, “read my lips”, so some of us were slightly concerned at the time about making pledges that lock you in.”
“There is a concern that this will hit home shortly before we ask people for their votes in the next general election.”
“I believe we should apologise. I will apologise to every voter in Wales that read the Conservative manifesto in the 2015 election.”
“It is right that the self-employed and employed should pay similar National Insurance Contributions but the self-employed are different from employees – they are the risk takers and entrepreneurs that spearhead growth and productivity in our economy and do not have the same protections as employees. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the growth in self-employment has driven our labour market and rises in NI will make many people have second thoughts about striking out on their own. People who work for themselves and who set up and run companies should be encouraged. Instead, the Chancellor has singled them out for a £1,425m tax hike on the misleading premise that they pay less tax than their peers, completely ignoring the risks they take and the lack of security in their employment.”
Anne Marie Morris:
“The changes to National Insurance defy belief! What did the chancellor think he was doing? Increasing the rate of “Class 4” contribution from 9 per cent to 11 per cent over two years! At least he kept his word and abolished “Class 2″ contributions which was unfair, not well understood and not related to income or profit. But while Class 4 contributions are profit related and therefore “fairer”, this was I suspect not the reason for the change but a post-decision marketing strap line. It has all the hallmarks of the “pasty tax” own goal.”
“I’m surprised that the Chancellor chose to raise national insurance for the self-employed. It’s going to bring in only £135million over the rest of this Parliament and some people might consider it a breach of a manifesto pledge. I don’t think it’s worth it.”
Karl McCartney also tells Guido he opposes the rise.
“May right to pause on self employed N I rise-precision engineering needed not bulldozer to tackle those only going self employed as tax ruse”
Will the NICs rise survive or is a u-turn coming?
Only seven Tory MPs rebelled against the government last night and voted for Labour’s amendment. Four of those seven rebels represent Leave constituencies:
Claire Perry: Devizes voted Leave
Antoinette Sandbach: Eddisbury voted Leave
Anna Soubry: Broxtowe voted Leave
Andrew Tyrie: Chichester voted Leave
Of the three other rebels, Heidi Allen and Ken Clarke represent Remain seats, while Bob Neill’s Bromley and Chislehurst voted 50-50. There were six Tory abstainers: George Osborne was giving a speech in Antwerp, Nicky Morgan flipped out at chief whip Gavin Williamson and refused to vote, Nick Herbert and Ben Howlett are dripping Europhiles, and Helen Grant. In reality the much hyped rebellion was far smaller than trailed…
Constituency data via Chris Hanretty.
Remain MPs are split on how to respond to the government’s so-called ‘concession’ of a vote on the terms of a Brexit deal – something to which they had already committed. Even Theresa May’s spokesman admits nothing has changed, though despite this Labour are claiming victory. Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer says:
“This is a significant victory for parliament, and follows months of concerted pressure from Labour.”
Yet Open Britain Labour Remainer Chris Leslie says the opposite:
“The Government’s so-called ‘concession’ falls short of giving Parliament a meaningful vote… This simply isn’t good enough.”
Some Tory Remain rebels are convinced, like Dominic Grieve:
“I take view that it [the Government’s concession on a Brexit vote] is significant step forward.”
And Open Britain’s Nicky Morgan says it’s an important concession too:
“Welcome concession that both Houses will vote on final agreement before it is concluded & before EU Parliament votes”
Yet others like Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry say it is not. Remainers can’t even agree on what it is they are opposing…
The latest attempt to frustrate Brexit comes in the form of Tory MPs seeking a white paper so there can be “greater debate” in the Commons, a demand being made by Remainers Anna Soubry, Alistair Burt and Nicky Morgan. Worth looking at how their constituencies voted (numbers from Chris Hanretty). Soubry’s Broxtowe voted 52% to Leave. Burt’s North East Bedfordshire voted 53% to Leave. Morgan’s Loughborough local authority also voted to Leave, though her seat estimate is bang down the middle 50-50. There have already been murmurings of disquiet among Broxtowe Tories upset with Soubry’s decision to defy her constituents, while in Loughborough the Tory association deputy chair has said of NiMo “I’ve no idea what she’s playing at”. That local unrest is only going to get worse…