Andy Wigmore Joins the Tories

Arron Banks’ sidekick Andy Wigmore appears to have finally succeeded in his bid to join the Tories after the pair’s attempts were repeatedly rebuffed by CCHQ. By hook or by crook, the self-proclaimed Brexit ‘Bad Boy’ is undeniably now a card-carrying member of the Tories:

Looks like CCHQ’s net can’t hold the Blue Wave…

UPDATE: Party Chairman Brandon Lewis has told LBC’s Iain Dale that the party Board “decided that neither Andy Wigmore nor Arron Banks would be members of the party.” He explained that they were refused for “very publicly and openly” trying to “bring down the leadership of the Conservative Party.” When Guido breaks the news to him Wigmore retorts to Guido “So is Boris!”

Arron Banks New Conservative Way Forward Treasurer

Arron Banks’ attempts to rejoin the Tories may have stalled but that has not stopped him from getting back involved with Tory politics. Guido has learned that Banks has been appointed Treasurer of Thatcherite pressure group Conservative Way Forward. 100 Tory MPs joined CWF’s new parliamentary council two months ago, including 8 sitting Cabinet Ministers (now 7 following DD’s resignation). It is a group with significant clout…

TRG vs Leave.EU

The wet Tory Reform Group is trying to weaponise an attention seeking Leave.EU tweet implying 10,000 of its ‘members’ have joined the Tories. The remainers at the TRG see it as a useful recruitment tool for themselves…

Guido would advise that anyone falling for the TRG/Leave.EU spin should take a look at the full list of things Arron Banks has promised that never happened:

  • Judicial review of EU referendum designation
  • BPopLive
  • Hollywood movie about Brexit
  • Invoicing UKIP £200,000
  • Patriotic Alliance
  • Clacton candidacy
  • Pirate radio station in Clacton
  • Fielding candidates to oust 100 MPs
  • Draining the Swamp at the next election.
  • Bankrolling the Andrea Leadsom leadership campaign
  • Suing Vote Leave’s CEO Matthew Elliott
  • Buying Guido lunch

What Leave.EU has managed to do once again is give ammunition to the ultra-remainers trying to stop Brexit. Anyone indulging him is either an idiot or a remainer.

Friday Caption Contest (Jeremy Kyle Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Channel 4 News Accuse Banks of Gun Running to Organise Coup in Lesotho With SAS Mercenaries

Guido has obtained a series of eye-popping allegations made by Channel 4 News that read like a far-fetched Wilbur Smith novel. Channel 4 have taken the word of a man being pursued by Arron Banks for fraud to make some incredible allegations. Arron tells Guido he that he thinks “all this bollocks is making Channel 4 look extremely stupid.”

Arron says “Jon Snow must have found some old psychedelic drugs from the 60’s in his top drawer”, mocking the increasingly far-fetched claims made by Channel 4 News that he is

“An International man of mystery, cutting deals with the Russians to scupper elections, helping Trump get elected, Diamonds, Gold, the CIA, Russian diplomats, fighting off “lunatic bunny boilers”, the link man with Julian Assange for the Hillary Clinton email leak, hypnotising an entire electorate via Facebook and now starting a military coup in an African country to control the diamond market. Wilbur Smith meets Cecil Rhodes on steroids.”

Having read the charges made in the letter Guido can only conclude that either Channel 4 News have the scoop of the year or, they have gone full Cadwalladr. Read the amazing allegations for yourself below:

Banks Accused of Bribing Minister in Lesotho for Mining Licence

Looks like Arron’s emails are being shared widely beyond the Observer…

Arron Banks Legals Verhofstadt Over Putin Tweet

Arron Banks issued a legal letter to Guy Verhofstadt last night ordering the European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator to retract a tweet accusing him of being a “Putin cheerleader”. Banks’s lawyers say the bizarre tweet from arch-Europhile Verhofstadt defames him and that Verhofstadt’s allegations “are false.” Verhofstadt also accused Nigel Farage, who Guido understands is thinking hard about his options in response. Tough claim for Verhofstadt to defend, he’ll surely have to retract…

Collins Humiliated as Banks Walks Out For Lunch

After running rings around Damian Collins and his dire DCMS committee all morning, Arron Banks then left them completely humiliated by standing up, telling them he had a lunch to go to and walking out. Nothing the impotent Collins could do. Watch to the end to see his face – a picture of total defeat. That’s how you take grandstanding select committee chairmen down a peg or two…

UPDATE: Guido hears their lunch date was with DUP MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson.

Banks Running Rings Round Collins’ DCMS Committee

Arron Banks is enjoying himself a lot more than the MPs on the DCMS committee this morning. At one point he asked them: “Are you all Remainers? Yep? Hands up?”. And then he burned Paul Farrelly:

“What is this? Are you the MP who got drunk in the House of Commons and harassed a woman at a karaoke evening?”

Those watching are not impressed with the performance of the committee:

Don’t think this is playing out quite how Damian Collins wanted…

Collins Declines to Recuse Himself Over Russian Hospitality

Andy Wigmore mentions Guido’s story on Damian Collins accepting hospitality from Putin-linked Roman Abramovich at Chelsea FC. He asked the DCMS Committee Chair:

“Perhaps you might want to recuse yourself?”

Collins laughed:

“All I can say is… I didn’t meet the owner, I wasn’t offered Stalin’s vodka, I’m not as good at pushing their buttons as you are… I declared in the Register of Members’ Interests, there were no inducements, offers… Chelsea won 2-1”

Awkward…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Damian Collins Wants to Know if Arron Banks Took Moscow Gold

Damian Collins wants to know if Arron Banks took Moscow gold to fund the Leave.EU campaign. Arron wanted to appear in front of the DCMS Select Committee, then he said he wouldn’t go, now he says he’ll see them next week. Collins versus Banks should be fun…

Farage to DUP?

Nigel Farage is in Belfast today attending a DUP fundraiser alongside Arron Banks. Banks didn’t rule out Farage doing an Enoch and defecting to the DUP:

“I would discount nothing, I would include nothing.”

Guido will believe it when they release the Brexit movie

UPDATE: As expected:

 

Banks’ Flip Flop on Second Referendum

Arron Banks, 25 October 2015, opposes two referendums: “Suggesting two referendums is a cheap political trick and as a non-political campaign we support one referendum in or out”

Arron Banks, 18 January 2016, opposes two referendums: “The two referendum idea is a stunt by people who don’t think we can win. Nuts”

Arron Banks, 11 January 2018, calls for second referendum: “We always knew the Tories couldn’t be trusted to deliver Brexit. The cabinet is Solidly Remain & this fight will have to be re run”

Anything for a bit of publicity…

Electoral Commission Investigating Banks

The Electoral Commission says it is investigating Arron Banks in relation to donations and loans made during the referendum, specifically looking at Better for the Country Limited, the second largest donor to any of the referendum campaigns, which gave a total of £2,359,842.76 to a variety of leave-backing groups including Grassroots Out and UKIP. Banks is a director of Better for the Country Limited. The Commission described the scope of the probe:

Whether or not Better for the Country Limited was the true source of donations made to referendum campaigners in its name, or if it was acting as an agent. Whether the recipients of its donations were given the information required by PPERA in respect of the donor. What steps the recipients took to verify the identity and permissibility of Better for the Country Limited as a donor. Whether or not Mr Banks was the true source of loans reported by a referendum campaigner in his name. Whether those individuals and entities involved in that arrangement acted in accordance with PPERA. Whether any individual facilitated a transaction with a non-qualifying person.”

Looking for Roubles?

Banks has responded to the news characteristically, “Gosh I’m terrified”. The real problem for Banks is that he is currently trying to float other interests on the stock exchange. He won’t want a quasi-judicial investigation hanging over him…

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…

Arron Banks’s Man in Clacton Quits UKIP

Arron Banks’s favoured candidate in Clacton has quit UKIP after party HQ dropped him amid a storm over Muslim-bashing tweets. When Banks himself bottled standing in the seat back in April, he threw his support behind UKIP councilor Jeff Bray. Bray said on receiving the nomination:

“It didn’t hurt that I got the backing from Arron Banks after he decided not to stand. Arron came down here… he recognised we are doing a good job… He made the decision to back me, which was a huge honour.”

Bray’s selection has been a bit of a disaster after controversial tweets and a dodgy Facebook page were unearthed carrying his name:

Bray claimed he couldn’t remember the posts and suggested they had been manipulated, but today he has quit the party after he was dropped in favour of NEC member Paul Oakley. Bray said:

“I had the support of the local people and the national party have ignored this and chosen one of their own who told the meeting that all he knew about Clacton was that he had spent a holiday here when he was 10. The party has absolutely no chance of holding the seat.”

Arron’s man crashes and burns, UKIP have a mountain to climb in Clacton…

Friday Caption Competition (Shocking Edition)

Banks Bottles It

He’s not standing in Clacton after all:

I today met with all of the UKIP councillors in Clacton and senior party figures. 

It was a constructive meeting and it was great to see everyone come together. 

It’s clear that Douglas Carswell has been a hugely divisive figure and let a lot of people down in Clacton. 

The local branch of UKIP was full of genuinely decent people. One of the councillors, Mr Jeff Bray has put his name forward as a candidate for the seaside constituency at the forthcoming General Election. 

I have a consequently made the decision to withdraw my candidacy for the seat of Clacton. I will not be standing either as a UKIP candidate or as an independent. Instead, I am putting my full support behind Jeff Bray.

I have no intention of standing in the way of Hard working activists who are the soul of the party. 

Therefore, after visiting Clacton I believe it would be wrong of me to stand against Jeff in the forthcoming hustings.

Predictable, hardly anything Arron promises ever comes off…

Full list of things Arron has promised that never happened:

  • Judicial review of EU referendum designation
  • BPopLive
  • Hollywood movie about Brexit
  • Invoicing UKIP £200,000
  • Patriotic Alliance
  • Clacton candidacy
  • Pirate radio station in Clacton
  • Fielding candidates to oust 100 MPs
  • Draining the Swamp at the next election.
  • Suing Matthew Elliott CEO of the official Vote Leave

Take note Lobby hacks…

Arron Banks Standing in Clacton for UKIP

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