CCHQ Desperate for Boris Bounce Bank Balance Boost

CCHQ’s coffers have not been in the greatest of shapes since many of their big donors went dry in frustration at the party’s failure to deliver Brexit. The fact that the annual budget has ballooned from around £8 million per year to nearer £20 million per year hasn’t helped, largely due to vast staff increases as part of the Campaign Manager programme. It got so bad that Treasurer Mick Davis had to dip into his own pockets to fund the EU election campaign…

It’s fair to say that there aren’t that many big Boris fans in CCHQ, even so it’s now reached the stage where they’re so desperate for cash that they’re even joking that it #CantBeHunt if the party’s finances are to recover. As a member of the Treasurer’s department put it to one of Boris’s team earlier:

“While it’s clear Press and CRD hate Boris – the truth is the Party needs him. With the financial state the Party is in we need ‘Box Office Boris’, not a ‘straight to DVD also-ran’.”

Backing Boris to bring the big bucks back…

UPDATE: A CCHQ spokesman gets in touch to say: “CCHQ has been and continues to be strictly neutral in this contest.”

Boris Pledges Free Ports 150,000 Jobs Boost

In his Teesside visit today Boris took the opportunity to back what he described as a “well-written report” by Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley advocating the introduction of ‘free ports’ to the UK to transform the coastal communities that surround the UK’s ports. Free ports are areas where tariffs do not apply, allowing companies to import, store, and re-export goods without dealing with tax or government bureaucracy. Sounds good to Guido…

Boris has promised to launch an immediate review into setting up free ports across the UK to encourage investment, and to introduce pilot free ports as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. Some studies say that introducing free ports could increase employment in the North of England by 150,000. Bring it on!

Boris Leading Hunt by Over 2:1 in Final ConHome Poll

Not much to celebrate for Hunt in what was meant to be the final ConHome members’ survey before ballots go out – except many ballots have gone out already. He trails Boris by more than 2:1 on just 29% compared to 67%. There’s 3.6% of Tories who still back “other”, looks like they haven’t given up hope that Rory walks again…

Judges Rule Boris Was Right, £350 Million a Week Acceptable as Gross Figure

As well as tearing apart “private prosecutor” Marcus J. Ball for his comical attempt to bring a lawsuit against Boris over the £350 million a week figure, the High Court judgment also had something very interesting to say about the £350 million figure itself. Remain leaning legal commentators have ignored this bit of the Judge’s ruling:

“The alleged offence set out in the Application for Summons is that the Claimant “repeatedly made and endorsed false and misleading statements concerning the cost of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union”. It appears that if the Claimant had said/endorsed a figure of £350m per week gross, or £250m per week net, there would have been no complaint.”

As Remain and Leave campaigners well know, Boris repeatedly did make it clear during the referendum that £350 million a week was the gross figure. Here he is on GMB in June 2016 explaining in detail over several minutes how £350 million a week/£20 billion a year is the gross figure while £10.5 billion a year is the net figure, he’s also explicit about the distinction on Marr and in numerous other speeches including the big BBC debate just before the referendum. Boris did exactly what the judges said he should have done for there to be no complaint. Case closed.

High Court Judgment Rips Anti-Boris Lawsuit to Shreds

In news that surprised precisely no-one without severe Brexit Derangement Syndrome, the High Court resoundingly threw out the farcical anti-Boris lawsuit brought by smarmy “private prosecutor” Marcus J. Ball last month. The full judgment has now been released and it doesn’t make pretty reading for gullible Remainers who threw their money away on the crowdfunder. Hits them right in the Marcus J. Balls…

The case only got as far as it did because of a bizarre decision by a “District Judge”, in fact a lowly magistrate at Westminster Magistrates Court who was hopelessly out of her depth. The High Court judgment is absolutely scathing of both her decision and the case put forward by Balls’ legal team:

“The error of law… led the DJ to act in excess of jurisdiction and unlawfully by deciding to issue a summons whether the ingredients of the offence were not made out and which was outside the scope of the offence.

“Further, such an error of law necessarily involves a finding that no DJ properly directing herself… could, on the material before her, reasonably have found the offence made out…

“We are entirely unpersuaded by [Ball’s] argument…

“No authority was shown to us suggesting that the offence can be or has been equated to bringing an office into disrepute or misusing a platform outside the scope of the office.”

The judges then address the issue of whether the prosecution was vexatious. Ball hilariously tried to claim that his prosecution wasn’t politically motivated and went round deleting his old videos and websites in a vain attempt to cover-up the fact that he was indeed a massive Remoaner desperately trying to stop Brexit.

Unsurprisingly this didn’t fool the judges who list an entire catalogue of Ball’s bluster and make clear that they would have quashed the case on the vexatious grounds vexatious anyway, even without the serious legal flaws they had already identified. Amusingly they even include the interview where Ball said his “biggest responsibility” was to raise over £2 million as he had “run out of personal credit card and bank overdraft funding”. Ouch.

Incredibly, Ball is still saying that he wants to appeal the ruling despite his crushing defeat. Remainers surely can’t be stupid enough to give him yet more funding for his self-deluding fantasies… can they?

Johnsons Removal Van Parks Outside Gove’s Office

A Johnsons removal van was this morning spotted parked up outside Gove’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. That would be particularly vindictive..

Whitehall Mega-Merger Boris Story Rubbished

Guido has long been a fan of slimming down the vast amount of government waste that emanates from Whitehall, even he was a little taken aback by the Telegraph’s front page story that Boris was supposedly planning to slash over half of the Cabinet roles and merge several huge Government departments together. The number of Cabinet posts would apparently be cut from 26 to just 12, with major departments including Work and Pensions, Justice and Transport reportedly set for the chop. Unfortunately it seems that someone was freelancing and speaking only for themselves…

Damian Green was confronted with the plan on Newsnight last night and reacted incredulously. Team Boris have, alas, firmly rubbished any suggestion that it came from them. The Telegraph’s own article merely cites various MPs who now support Boris who have expressed a preference for merging various Government departments, it’s a pretty major leap from there to presenting it as official Boris policy.  Liz Truss as BEIS minister might be up for closing that department…

Annual Deficit is 5 Times the Size of EU’s Annual Bill

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are throwing spending commitments around like confetti to win votes. Fiscal Phil Hammond has been roused from the Treasury to warn

“We have to live within our means and people have to be honest about the consequences of either spending more money or of cutting taxes. My concern is that this Government has built up a reputation for fiscal responsibility. The British people have worked incredibly hard over a decade now to rebuild our public finances and I think it’s very important that we don’t throw that all away.”

Britain is leaving the EU in part because of the billions it costs every year, those billions are a fraction of the size of the annual deficit. Britain has successfully avoided a recession for a decade. When one comes, and it will, with interest rates at long term lows without having closed the deficit it will be difficult to cope. The deficit was supposed to have been closed by 2015, will it ever be closed?

The long-term political consequences of making bold spending commitments are that Labour will say it shows there is plenty of money to spend. In fact they already are doing exactly that…

Boris Promises Not to Lock Hunt in a Dog Kennel if He Wins

Ever magnanimous…

Boris: Tories and Labour Face “Political Extinction” if Brexit Not Delivered by October 31

Delivering Brexit by October 31st is going to be a crucial issue of trust for Boris and voters…

Boris Opens the Door to Increased Borrowing

Boris has opened the door to increased borrowing to finance “great infrastructure projects” along with tax cuts by raising the NI threshold, while maintaining “fiscal responsibility”. Phil Hammond won’t like this one…

General Public Now Rates Hunt & Boris Equally

Jeremy Hunt will be pleased with this YouGov poll which suggests the public is warming to him. In a post-Brexit election both leadership hopefuls will score 33% – which is news – last month Boris scored 34% to Hunt’s 30% – this tie is of course statistically within the margin of error. In reality without Brexit happening British political norms will be shattered and so will the chances of a Tory majority. The problem for Hunt is that the numbers for Tories are little moved and he is well behind Boris with the people who have votes… party members.

When BoJo Went to Glasto

Seventeen years before Jeremy Corbyn addressed the masses at Glastonbury, Boris Johnson delighted crowds with a brief performance of the Iliad, as well as a walkabout tour with Billy Bragg. In his walkabout he met nudists, declaring “I fully support your right to be naked, I’m right behind it” and praised entrepreneurial attitude of attendees “I just saw someone selling mushrooms. This is capitalism, this is commerce, this is the triumph of right wing ideology!” Boris came away from the experience identifying attendees as natural Conservatives…

“I think these people represent a strong libertarian ideology. In fact I would say that there are a lot of natural Tories here. These people who have taken their lives into their own hands, they have arrived here under their own steam, they have paid £87, they have pitched their own tent! Isn’t that a metaphor for what conservatism is?”

Boris there, being party political Glasto on Friday 23rd June, 2000. Before it was cool…

Conrad Black on Max Hastings and Boris

Conrad Black on Max Hastings and Boris…

“As the former employer of both of them, and although their positions were of unequal importance and challenges, on balance I must declare Boris to be more reliable and trustworthy than Max.”

Hunt’s BoJo NoShow LiveChat: What We Learned

While Boris was busy wooing the Conservative Friends of Israel at a dinner last night, as first revealed by Guido, Jeremy Hunt spent an hour answering questions on Twitter in place of the debate Sky News had wanted to hold. Hunt was keen to stress his entrepreneurial credentials while taking a few gentle potshots at his rival. Guido takes a look at some of his policy pledges…

On Brexit his stance is actually remarkably similar to Boris’ despite receiving far less scrutiny – he wants to go back to Brussels with a “tough negotiator” to get a better deal. The key point of difference between them is the October 31 deadline…

This attempt to unite Leavers and Remainers only succeeded in uniting them against him…

Another pledge in common with Boris on broadband that first appeared in Boris’ Telegraph column last week. He also agreed to look at Saj’s police proposal, as Boris did in his media blitz yesterday too…

Hunt commits to Phil Hammond’s fiscal responsibility pledge. Will have to watch the numbers carefully on his spending pledges…

Hunt confirms that he wants to keep possibly the two worst parts of Theresa May’s legacy, her trillion pound climate hit which wasn’t even voted on by MPs and the disastrous Porn Laws. Directly at odds with two of his stated three main priorities of “firing up our economy” and “standing up for freedom”…

Another classic Huntism after his unfortunate phrasing around old people and Islamophobia last week:If anyone was being uncharitable they might say it’s an admission that he’s f***ed the NHS…

All Change at Team Boris

After a difficult weekend, Sunday night saw a lengthy meeting between Boris, his senior campaign managers and Mark Fullbrook of campaign strategists Crosby Textor Fullbrook. Until last week they were not directly involved with the day-to-day running of the Back Boris campaign, as a result of the meeting CTF are now back in the thick of it. There was also a meeting yesterday afternoon at 4pm in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House where Fullbrook made a presentation to Boris backing MPs. A strictly centralised media strategy has been imposed, with MPs told to refer all national media bids back to the the campaign HQ for message control…

Simultaneously the parliamentary strategy gurus Gavin Williamson and James Wharton, who delivered Boris a commanding lead amongst MPs, have taken a step back from “Phase 2”, the membership stage of the contest. IDS is the new official campaign chairman…

Team Boris will be breathing a sigh of relief that their tumultuous weekend came at the beginning of the campaign, before ballot papers are sent out. They’ll be hoping to continue the focused ‘media blitzkrieg’ for when ballots start landing on doormats during the week of July 6. Boris told a woman on his walkabout yesterday “No more rows. No, no, no. All quiet, all quiet”…

Guido Crafts: Bus Edition

Guido has taken inspiration from someone called Boris this afternoon and has had his hand in what is surely to become the craze of the summer: therapeutic bus-making. Send pictures of your best bus creations to team@order-order.com…

Hear how it should be done here…

#BoJoNoShow To GoTo CoFoFI

Jeremy Hunt has been ribbing Boris all afternoon for not agreeing to do the Sky News debate tonight, he’s got the hashtag #BoJoNoShow trending and he’s fired straight back at Boris’s October 31 challenge by telling him to turn up to Sky tonight to debate it there. The gloves are definitely off…

It turns out that there may be more to Boris’s decision to blank Sky than just cautious media management, Guido has got wind that Boris has a prior engagement at a fancy dinner for the Conservative Friends of Israel which has been in the diary for weeks. Team Boris are neither confirming or denying it, no one from Conservative Friends of Israel is available for comment at the time of going to pixel. The Corbynistas will love this one…

Friend or Foe

Nigel Farage…

“I Can Be Boris Johnson’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy… It’s up to Him.”

Boris Challenges Hunt to October 31 Brexit Commitment

Boris ups the Brexit ante on Hunt again with a direct challenge to commit to leave on 31 October “come what may”. Team Boris have certainly delivered on the ‘media blitzkreig’ after a bumpy few days…

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Judges Rule Boris Right About £350m Judges Rule Boris Right About £350m