Remoaner Labour MPs led by Chuka Umunna are rebelling against the leadership with a doomed amendment this afternoon attempting to keep us in the EEA. This is what Chuka used to say about the EEA model during the referendum: it “pays into the EU budget, accepts free movement, must obey EU laws with no say” and “would hurt the UK”.
Even by his standards, it is the height of hypocrisy for Chuka and co to now be backing EEA membership.
After Chuka Umunna was slapped down by Jeremy Corbyn for seeking an unpaid intern, and then doubled down and insisted he was right to offer the year-long placement, young Labour members have started a #PayUpChuka hashtag. Which was soon trending on Twitter last night…
Other MPs have been in touch with Guido to say Chuka is wrong that IPSA don’t allow paid interns. “He is not telling the truth. I have a paid intern at the moment,” one texts. Guido also hears whispers that other Labour MPs have been using the same unpaid students scheme as Chuka, contrary to Labour’s manifesto and orders from the Leader’s Office to pay interns. If you are or have been an unpaid Labour intern, get in touch in confidence…
This morning Guido reported Chuka Umunna was seeking an unpaid intern to work in his office for a year. This afternoon Corbyn’s office has emailed all Labour MPs warning them that it is against Labour Party policy to employ unpaid interns:
Afternoon Briefing: Thursday 31 May
Please see below a message from the Leaders Office:
This is a reminder to all MPs that it is against Labour Party policy to employ unpaid interns. As part of our 20-point plan for security and equality at work, set out in the 2017 General Election Manifesto, we have pledged to ban unpaid internships.
Chuka has doubled down and insisted he is right to offer the unpaid placement as it is part of a supported university scheme:
“Unfortunately, IPSA do not provide additional resources for MPs to recruit interns on a paid basis, though the Parliamentary Labour Party has always argued strongly for them to do so. I strongly believe that interns should be paid and, for that reason, I do not have any unsupported interns working in the office despite the many requests received. For many years, my office has only accepted students undertaking work experience as part of supported university schemes, or short work experience placements from the schools in my constituency.”
This email has been sent round students at the University of Leeds (h/t Kane Emerson), seeking “an enthusiastic placement student to join his London-based office” for a year. The job requires real work including research, preparing letters and briefings, casework and select committee work. While students’ years in industry are usually paid, the email says “Please note, this placement is unpaid”. Chuka is a former employment lawyer and it seems he is using the loophole that his year-long intern is not “under obligation” to work to get around minimum wage law. Come on Chuka, pay your interns…
Jewish groups have dubbed Labour a “racist party”, announced a protest against Jeremy Corbyn at parliament tomorrow and called for a national demonstration against the Labour leader. In remarkable developments today, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies announced a protest in Westminster tomorrow at 5:30pm where they will deliver a letter of condemnation to the Parliamentary Labour Party:
“The leadership of the Jewish community will be delivering a letter to the Parliamentary Labour Party in advance of its meeting at 6pm. We call on members of our community and all those who oppose antisemitism to join us in Parliament Square at 5:30pm to show solidarity.”
Separately, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said they would be organising a national demonstration to take place in London on 8 April. They declared Labour under Corbyn a “racist party”:
“We accuse the Labour Party, its MPs and institutions, of complicity with and promotion of antisemitic racism. In particular, most Labour MPs, with heroic exceptions, have merely wrung their hands and spoken fine words without at any point acting or putting themselves at risk. We are at an historic moment: there is no hiding place for them any longer. The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is now a racist party and to be silent now is to condone.”
Corbyn meanwhile is reportedly set to bottle tomorrow’s PLP meeting. Three Jewish groups have announced protests against Corbyn and still Labour moderates do nothing…
A Remain-backing wine and champagne wholesaler that gave a £45,000 donation to Chuka Umunna is boasting about how its global business has been boosted by Brexit. Chuka flaunted his champagne socialist credentials by accepting the huge wedge from Farr Vintners this month. The company’s latest accounts boast:
“The fall in the value of Sterling against the US $ has resulted in a substantial increase in demandfrom both the Far East and the United States, which we believe will continue into the current year.Our sales to the Far East which are handled by our Hong Kong ofﬁce continue to be strong.”
“Have read the comments of the Leader of the Opposition’s spokesperson. Mr Milne’s comments do not represent the views of the majority of our voters, members or MPs. We’ll get abuse for saying so but where British lives have been put at risk it is important to be clear about this.”
The Telegraphfront page splash is that George Soros is putting his money behind a new campaign blitz from Gina Miller’s Best for Britain with the aim of pressuring Tory MPs in particular. Last week The Guardian ran a story claiming the “main groups opposed to a hard Brexit are joining forces under the leadership of Chuka Umunna to push for the public’s voice to be heard on Theresa May’s final deal to leave the EU.” Rowena Mason breathlessly reported that some 500,000 members of the various groups “were putting aside their differences to work together as the grassroots coordinating group (GCG).” Chuka would lead a coalition of a “new generation of politicians, in contrast to the old remain campaign associated with establishment figures such as David Cameron, John Major, Tony Blair and Nick Clegg.” The optimistic over-briefing went down badly with rival groups and personalities. Very badly.
Who could be the source of this over-briefing? A clue is given in that the person quoted at length in the article is one Chuka Umunna. It is the cash-strapped Open Britain that he fronts which is pushing to unite the disparate groups. Behind the scenes can be detected the hand of his old mentor, Peter Mandelson, trying to manipulate egos and personalities. Guido’s source tells him that it is “arrogant of Chuka” to think he can unify and control their messaging. Arrogant? Chuka? Never!
The remain narrative on continuing membership of the single market was fully shut down by Michel Barnier this morning as Chuka Umunna, Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan’s fantasies were blown out of the water. This remain triumvirate tried to spin regulatory alignment to suggest Scotland and London could remain in the single market. Chuka even called for permanent membership of the single market after the transition…
Asked if the deal meant that the default position is remaining in the single market, Barnier said:
“No. You havent understood that well… beyond its decision to leave the EU… the British government has confirmed that it wishes also to leave the single market and the customs union which is not obligatory. There are countries who are not E.U. members, who are part because that is their wish, whilst respecting of the rules of the single market. But that’s not the choice taken by the UK. So you have not understood that well.”
No doubt this pack of remain rabble-rousers will jump to correct their statements…
Chuka Umunna has emailed supporters this morning claiming “Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said that the Government wouldn’t pay a penny in a divorce settlement – Europe could go and whistle, he said”. This is a lie that keeps being repeated by hardline Remainers.
This is what Boris said, from Hansard: “the sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate, and I think that to “go whistle” is an entirely appropriate expression”. Very clearly he says the EU can “go whistle” for “extortionate” … “sums that I have seen that they propose” (which were the reports of €100 billion at the time). All along Boris has said Britain will pay what it owes. In August he said: “Of course we will meet our obligations. We are law-abiding, bill-paying people. We certainly have to meet our obligations”. Chuka’s claim that Boris said we “wouldn’t pay a penny” is a straight lie…
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”.
It took three days for Labour’s unity to crack. Yesterday John McDonnell told Peston Britain would be leaving the single market. Blairites have responded by labelling Corbyn and McDonnell “Brextremists“:
I suspect some of the young people voting Labour and voting for the first time were hoping for something a bit less Brextremist from JC/JMcD
Now the Shadow Cabinet has split too. Asked this morning if Labour would “definitely” leave the single market, Remainer Corbynista Barry Gardiner directly contradicted McDonnell:
“No, what we’ve said is it’s an open question as to what we can get… [Theresa May] has taken off the table membership of the single market. We’ve said let’s look at that and see if it can be reformed.”
And what of Chuka Umunna? On Friday he grovelled and made clear he wanted to serve in Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet. Chuka is an arch-Remainer who insists we must stay in the single market. How can he possibly serve under a leader who supports leaving?
UPDATE: Barry Gardiner has now told the Daily Politics he supports leaving the single market, completely contradicting what he said a few hours ago. Oh dear…
Theresa May’s snap election has caused the Guardianista class to lose their minds. Martin Kettle writes that “Theresa May in Downing Street sounded like Turkey’s authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”. This is just bonkers. Erdogan is an Islamist autocrat who rules under a state of emergency, jailing political opponents, arresting journalists, controlling the airwaves, censoring social media and passing a law which could see him stay in power until 2029. Theresa May has called an election.
Theresa May is a disgrace-she called an Election because she rejects the idea of an Opposition in our democracy.We are not some dictatorship
This tweet from Chuka Umunna is even more ridiculous. In the space of 20 words Chuka suggests May is behaving like a dictator because “she called an election”. Funny kind of dictator. It is just an election, chill out lefties…
Chuka Umunna’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration has a report out today calling for migrants to learn English before they arrive in the UK or be given compulsory language lessons once they arrive. The report states:
“The APPG believes that all immigrants should be expected to have either learned English before coming to the UK or be enrolled in compulsory ESOL classes upon arrival… speaking English is the key to full participation in our society and economy, and is a prerequisite for meaningful engagement with most British people.”
Chuka’s newly hard line on the language requirement is at odds with his previous criticism of those suggesting the policy. On Question Time in 2014 he tried to shut down Nigel Farage for suggesting essentially the exact same measure as today’s report:
“[You are] letting this debate descend into something that is quite nasty and quite ugly. There are a lot of buses and trains if you got on… where you would hear other people talking different languages other than English and you say that makes you feel awkward, what you say makes me feel awkward Nigel.”
Chuka Umunna, Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips were attacked as “bastards” at Jeremy Corbyn’s less than festive Christmas party last night. Guido has obtained a covert recording of the “JC4PM Christmas bash” at Conway Hall, where the audience heard speeches from Corbyn and John McDonnell. Our undercover recorder also had to sit through a speech by barmy Corbynista ‘comedian’ Ava Vidal, who launched into a sweary rant about Labour moderates:
“When did left-wing become an insult in Labour circles? It became an insult when certain people in the Labour Party, I’m naming no names… Stella Creasy, Chuka Umunna, Jess Phillips. Bastards, the lot of them. They’re the ones whose fault it is that people don’t even know what the Labour Party is any more.”
“Allies of Chuka” texted friendly members of the Lobby last night with the same tenuous line: that the Tories had blocked him from the Home Affairs committee chairmanship because they fear him as a potential future Labour leader. You’ll rarely get a more transparent and less believable briefing. Guido recalls a senior Labour figure a few years back explaining to hacks at Ed Miliband’s Christmas drinks party that Chuka would never be leader because everyone in Labour despises him. Whatever he’s spinning, the truth is Chuka is so unpopular with his own colleagues in the PLP he never stood a chance of winning the Home Affairs gig…
This morning the centrist, cross-party Social Market Foundation held a well attended seminar headlined by Chuka Umunna, Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg. It felt like a wake for the Labour Party. SMF claims – on the back of research from Opinium – that there’s no progressive left-leaning majority in the country – the majority of voters hold “traditionally right-wing views” that will guarantee a “healthy majority” in the future for the right-wing parties.
The wonks categorised voters’ attitudes into eight political tribes/parties that share very distinctive political views. Despite the majority of voters self-describing as “centrist“, most voters actually identified with centre-right and right-wing political attitudes.
On the whole, our analysis makes more cheerful reading for those on the right, than on the centre or the left. The two largest tribes, making up around 50% of the population, hold a range of traditionally right wing views, ofering a solid foundation on which to aim for the 40-42% of the vote which normally guarantees a healthy majority under our electoral system. These groups share a desire to see immigration reduced to below 100k a year and were both solidly pro-Leave in the EU referendum.
The progressive tribes are fragmented, disagreeing on openness to the world and attitudes towards the welfare state and taxation. This is bad news for the current Labour Party as the think-tank finds massive differences between so-called “Democratic Socialists” and “Community” party voter blocs – traditionally known as Labour supporters – while both tribes agree on socialist policies towards capitalism, they diverge on supporting the EU or having an internationalist approach.
SMF also implies that the centre-ground is now being occupied by traditional right-wing politics. So did Cameron succeed in occupying the centre-ground or did the Conservative Party’s modernisers end up pulling the centre-ground rightwards?