Boris SpAd Liam Parker Leaving

Guido can reveal Boris Johnson’s special adviser Liam Parker is leaving for the private sector, he’s joining top PR firm Pagefield as a partner after conference. Parker has been Boris’ spinner for the last year, before which he was Mark Carney’s head of press at the Bank of England. No doubt at Pagefield he will earn more for a slightly quieter life – flying around the world with the Foreign Secretary is one of the more demanding SpAd jobs. Good luck to him.

Expect this to be used by Boris’ enemies in the media as another sign of his apparently waning position. Yet senior Tories Guido has spoken to are perplexed by the determination of some to write BoJo off completely. He remains the man Tory associations want their MP to invite for dinner, he is box office, was instrumental in winning the referendum, is highly unlikely to be sacked in a reshuffle despite reports and his career is certainly not over as some would have you believe. Indeed he is the man most Tory MPs still believe will be next leader. Be interesting to see who he hires…

Chairman Boris?

Speculation that Theresa May could demote Boris Johnson to party chairman is again doing the rounds, weeks after BoJo’s enemies first punted the idea around. Does it make sense? Sacking Boris would create the highest possible profile enemy at a time when the PM is hardly in a position of overwhelming strength. Giving him the party chairman job would then arguably increase his power. Chairman Boris would be able to reconnect with members and activists, effectively given free reign to tour associations and win the membership’s support. He could actually be political, which is what he does best and would only help his popularity in the party. Rather than being sent around the world and restricted to 20 second pooled clips he could do all the broadcast and press he liked. If May really were to do something with Boris in a future reshuffle, making him party chairman would be a particularly brave move…

Tory MPs Predict Boris Will Be Next Leader

Boris has been the subject of multiple character assassinations from jealous journalists this week – Rachel Sylvester’s professional foul was gleefully endorsed by like-minded colleagues, Nick Watt uncharacteristically told Newsnight viewers Boris had been “shovelling” his own “sh*t”. Are they right to write him off? During July and August Populus asked a panel of 41 Tory MPs who they thought would be the next Tory leader – 32% said Boris, well ahead of David Davis on 20% and Dominic Raab and Damian Green on 5%. Seems reports of his demise are a little premature…

The Labour picture is less consensual, with Keir Starmer leading on 15%, followed by Yvette Cooper on 13% and Angela Rayner on 11%. No surveyed Labour MP chose John McDonnell. Which begs another question, with Theresa May pledging to go on and on, will 68 year-old Jez fight the next election?

Libyan Welcome For Boris

Strong.

BBC Making Foreign Office Documentary

The BBC has commissioned a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the inner workings of the Foreign Office, Guido hears. The Beeb has wanted to produce a behind-the-scenes film revealing the inner workings of the FCO for a number of years, and Guido understands they have finally been given the sign off. A Michael Cockerell-style doco like his Inside the Commons series would be worth a watch; he did an episode on the FCO in his 2010 Great Offices of State series and also made a film about Boris Johnson in 2013. Sure Boris won’t do a Seumas and say anything unguarded with the cameras still rolling…

Male Tory MPs Got Most Social Media Abuse

Broken down by party and gender, male Conservative candidates were the group who received the highest percentage of abuse in their mentions, followed by male UKIP and Labour candidates, and female Conservative candidates. Analysis by a research team from the University of Sheffield based on tweets from the general public; replying to tweets made by MPs, candidates at the election and other prominent politicians. They sampled just under 840,000 tweets sent in the month before the general election between 8 May 2017 and 8 June 2017.

Unsurprisingly Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May received the most Twitter abuse. Sadiq Khan in the aftermath of the terror attacks was the third most abused politician on Twitter from morons with misguided anger.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were the male Tory MPs who received the most abuse – according to the researchers Boris got some 8 times as much abuse as Diane Abbott. Jeremy Hunt also got more abuse than Diane . Even Tim Farron got more abuse…

This research tallies with Guido’s sense that Twitter has since the Corbyn ascendancy become more vitriolic from the left. The right just grin and bear it. The left whines about it. Twitter has improved anti-abuse systems, AI software now filters a lot of the abuse automatically. Most incoming hate-tweeters are muted and shouting at no-one. There is no denying that a lot of abuse is racially and sexually charged in a personalised way. It is an unpleasant fact of life for anyone in public life with a sizeable social media footprint…

Hat-tip: Buzzfeed

Optimistic Boris: No Plan For No Deal

This is not quite the government line from Boris – David Davis has talked of the need for contingency planning in the case of a no deal Brexit. BoJo ever the optimist…

Boris: I Wish I Could Tweet Like Trump

Gosh, er, cripes, Make the Tories Great Again?

Davis Leads Boris in ConHome Leadership Survey

David Davis leads Boris Johnson by 24% to 18% in ConHome’s new Tory leadership survey of 1,191 readers, though the clear winner is the ‘none of the above’ option on 30%. DD’s grown-up handling of Brexit is serving him well with the Tory grassroots, as was always his plan. Boris’ recent outbreak of Torbynism won’t help him with members. Not real appetite for Hammond or Rudd at all. In terms of the “others” suggested by readers, Raab was most popular on 2%, Gove behind him. No Ruth Davidson surge…

Torbynistas’ £9 Billion Bill

More taxes, more spending, more borrowing, slower deficit reduction, wobbling on tuition fees and ending the public sector pay cap – some members of the Cabinet are becoming Torbynistas. Jeremy Hunt has demanded the “1% cap for NHS workers” is lifted, Justine Greening wants the same for teachers. Now Boris is briefing out he “strongly” believes the public sector pay cap should go. The IFS says copying Jezza’s cap-ditching policy would cost £9.2 billion per year, at a time when the national debt stands at nearly £1.9 trillion…

The 1% cap figure is also very misleading. Many NHS workers and teachers get a salary rise each year additional to national pay. As former minister Rob Wilson points out, this isn’t widely known and is worth several hundreds of pounds a year to several thousand pounds a year depending on salary band. The 1% figure everyone uses isn’t the whole story, for many the real number is more like 4%.

As the IFS says, in the last ten years public sector pay has accelerated faster than the private sector. Indeed earlier this year the IFS reported public sector workers are still being paid hundreds of pounds a year more than their private sector counterparts, despite “austerity“. None of the Torbynistas calling for an “end to austerity” are talking about how they are going to pay for it. For Boris this could be the most expensive Tory leadership campaign in history…

Hammond Mocks Boris

Philip Hammond uses a trip to Berlin to mock the Foreign Secretary:

“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece. Wise words with some applicability to the Brexit negotiations although I try to discourage talk of “cake” amongst my colleagues.”

Boris On Glarstonbury

Boris is bang on about Jez’s “Orphic spell“.

And he’s been pronouncing it GlAARstonbury for years:

The place has been full of poshos for decades…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Ministers Want Philip Hammond as Caretaker PM

Happy Independence Day!

Prezza’s Boris BBC Bias Bunkum

Here is John Prescott complaining that the BBC has not covered Boris Johnson’s car crash interview conducted by the BBC’s Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4. You can listen to Boris’ Diane Abbott moment, courtesy of the BBC, below. It is the third-most watched clip on the BBC website this morning.

Cripes…

Boris Boys’ Adams & Berry Get Jobs

Key Boris lieutenants Nigel Adams and Jake Berry have been promoted into government. Berry is the Northern Powerhouse Minister and Guido hears it will be announced later that Nigel will be put in the Whips Office.

Always useful for a leadership campaign to have whips experience…

SPIN WARS: Boris and Davis ‘Trying to Stitch Each Other Up’

Boris and David Davis are both trying amusingly hard to convey that they are not manoeuvres. Boris has enthusiastically thrown his support behind Theresa May on TV and in The Sun. Those WhatsApp messages expressing loyalty yesterday were self-evidently written to be leaked. Davis did a broadcast round this morning where he offered “100% support” for May, telling ITV he would not challenge her. And yet…

Allies of both Boris and Davis believe the other is trying to stitch up their respective leadership chances. Boris’ supporters accuse Davis, a prolific texter, of hyping up Johnson’s alleged behind-the-scenes manoeuvring to journalists, with the aim of making him look like a dastardly plotter. They see Davis’ hand in Sunday newspaper stories claiming Boris is set to launch a bid. Team BoJo quickly and strongly denied the stories when the papers came out on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, those backing Davis accuse Boris of going too early in an attempt to steal a march on DD. Davis himself took a barely-veiled dig at Johnson on the Today programme, accusing unnamed “colleagues” of “self-indulgence”. Boris met with a number of high-profile old allies and former advisers in the days before the election, and anti-Boris MPs say he was touting support in the early hours of June 9. Wherein lies the truth?

It was already obvious that if May goes Boris and Davis will be the front-runners to replace her. Ignore the wish fulfilment fantasy forecasts of the pro-Remain broadsheet pundits who tip Amber Rudd, she has little chance of getting the support of enough Tory MPs and would win a derisory vote from the rank and file. The shadow boxing between DD and BoJo over the last 48 hours all but confirms their ambitions. Notwithstanding the chance that somehow tonight’s 1922 goes nuclear, they both know going too early is mad and that patience and perceived loyalty is a much better strategy…

Boris Urges Loyalty

Boris tells colleagues on the Tory MP WhatsApp group to back Theresa May. Screenshots quickly leaked to ITV.

Boris and Gwynne Wrestle Live on Sky

A definite deliberate grapple from BoJo on Labour’s interrupting election chief. You gonna take that, Andrew?

UPDATE: Later on Boris blew kisses at a very angry Ian Lavery:

Boris Sikhs Forgiveness

Boris says sorry after offending a devout Sikh lady by talking about trading whisky with India while inside a Sikh temple. Doesn’t seem quite as bad a gaffe as hyped by the Beeb, most of those present didn’t even blink.[…] 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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