Selmayr Reveals Not One UK Negotiator Really Wanted to Leave

Tonight’s Panorama is proving to be another revealing affair – on Brexit this week rather than the chronic anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. There’s already been the revelation from Barnier that May was never serious about ‘no deal’. Juncker’s “monster” Martin Selmayr had another fascinating nugget on Today…

Nick Robinson reveals that Selmayr made an “extraordinary secret offer” to David Lidington to put Brexit “on ice” for five years to develop a new intra-EU partnership instead. Selmayr then talks about how he floated the idea in a late-night session with UK negotiators: “I think we all agreed in the room but we all are officials and we had to respect the mandate that was given and that was unfortunately to negotiate a divorce.” Hardly surprising that they came back with such a terrible deal given not one of them genuinely believed leaving was a good idea…

Selmayr himself won’t be around for any more late-night negotiating sessions, Libération’s Jean Quatremer has got the fascinating inside scoop on how the “sulphurous” Selmayr has been swiftly defenestrated after trying to hijack the process of picking a new Commission President to get another pliant puppet put in place. Guido somehow suspects it won’t be the last we’ll be seeing of him…

mdi-timer 18th July 2019 @ 12:02 pm 18th Jul 2019 @ 12:02 pm mdi-comment Comments
Meet the Candidates: Team Rory

Much like the man himself, Rory Stewart’s campaign has meandered between novelty and farce, what there’s no doubt about is that he’s made the biggest impression of all the rivals jockeying for position behind Boris Johnson. Behind the stunts and awkward videos however, there’s a well-organised campaign team skilled in the art of astute press management. Just look at the Telegraph’s front page this morning which Rory has cleverly tried to spin as an attack on his past links to MI6 – as if a front page putting him in the same bracket as James Bond is remotely negative publicity. Guido lifts the lid on the team holding the camera while Rory takes his “selfie” videos…

Rory’s campaign manager is his wife, Shoshana Clark, who moved to Afghanistan with her first husband to work for Stewart’s Turquoise Mountain charity in 2006, only to promptly leave him for Stewart and become Chief Executive of the charity. Another key part of the team is Rory’s SpAd Lizzie Loudon, an alumni of Vote Leave, Theresa May’s press team and, naturally, Hanbury Strategy. Also on Team Rory are Ramsay Jones, David Cameron’s former Scotland adviser and James Johnson, a current Downing Street SpAd and Theresa May’s pollster. Guido hopes the SpAds are following the strict civil service rules and have either resigned their jobs or are taking unpaid leave to work on the campaign…

Rory’s robust anti-No Deal stance has scooped him up endorsements from key members of the Tory Remainer establishment that previously looked to be getting behind Hunt – Justice Secretary David Gauke is a key part of his campaign while May’s deputy David Lidington also came out for Rory yesterday. Regular Remainer rebels including Ken Clarke, Dominic Grieve, Nicholas Soames, Antoinette Sandbach and Caroline Spelman have all lined up behind Rory as well, he’s yet to win backing from a single Brexiteer. Not exactly a representative cross-section of the Tory Party…

Rory’s trousered over £50,000 in the last few weeks including £10,000 from Russian Hedge Fund manager Lev Mikheev, £10,000 from Khaled Said, son of Saudi political fixer Wafic Said, and £5,000 from Edwina Snow, wife of Remainer snowflake Dan. A handsome war chest for Team Rory to play with, if they can make it through this week…

Social media support: Rory’s eccentric social media game needs little introduction, it has achieved levels of cut-through most of his rivals can only dream of. Rory’s personal Twitter following has rocketed up to 169k in recent weeks while he has a moderate Facebook following of 15k. He’s even got more Instagram followers than Insta-queen Liz Truss…
Mainstream media support: Pretty much every non-Tory in the media…
ConservativeHome members survey: 16.33% (2nd)
PaddyPower odds: 8/1 (2nd)

mdi-timer 18th June 2019 @ 4:46 pm 18th Jun 2019 @ 4:46 pm mdi-comment Comments
Raab Accuses Lidington of Sabotaging Backstop Changes

Dominic Raab has done a lengthy interview with the Spectator’s Katy Balls covering everything from karate to feminism. However the moment that will raise Brexiteer eyebrows the most is when Raab directly blames Theresa May’s deputy David Lidington for sabotaging his attempts to renegotiate the backstop as Brexit Secretary:

‘I think there was a window of opportunity,’ he says. ‘The frustrating thing is that it was closed by our own side.’ Specifically, he suspects, by David Lidington, Theresa May’s de facto deputy, who held his own talks with the Irish and seemed to stop what No. 10 saw as Raab’s freelancing. ‘It wasn’t ruled out by Coveney, it was ruled out by Varadkar. The only thing that happened in between is that he met David Lidington. It’s clear what happened.’

This will do nothing to ease widespread Brexiteer suspicions that the backstop was just a ruse cooked up from the start by Theresa May’s inner circle of Remainer advisers…

mdi-timer 30th May 2019 @ 3:00 pm 30th May 2019 @ 3:00 pm mdi-comment Comments
Government Confirms UK Will Hold European Parliament Elections

The Government have finally confirmed the least surprising political news in some time – that European Parliament Elections will go ahead. David Lidington confirmed that there would not be enough time to complete the ratification of Brexit before 23rd May. There wasn’t a single person outside Downing Street who believed there was…

mdi-timer 7th May 2019 @ 3:13 pm 7th May 2019 @ 3:13 pm mdi-comment Comments
Tory Leadership Hopefuls: Who Are You?

We could be days away from a Tory leadership race if Theresa May loses a no confidence vote. The jostling for position on the Tory benches is becoming blatant. Leadership hopefuls are tapping up donors for support, assembling campaign teams and beaming as they glad-hand fellow MPs. With that in mind WPI Strategy commissioned a 2,000 head poll from Deltapoll with fieldwork done last week (25/26 March). They asked the public “Who would you recognise in the street?”

David Lidington would be recognised by 1 in 20 people – which seems on the high side. Liz Truss would be recognised by 1 in 14 people proving that not everyone is on Instagram. Dominic Raab will be disappointed that his brief profile raising period as Brexit Secretary means that 1 in 9 people claim they know his face. Then we get into potential leaders who do have some recognition with voters. Amber, Saj and Hunt are recognised by a quarter to a third of voters, Mogg (who is not running) and Gove are recognised by two fifths of voters. There is only one candidate who stands out with over three quarters of the public recognising him – Boris.

mdi-timer 2nd April 2019 @ 8:51 am 2nd Apr 2019 @ 8:51 am mdi-comment Comments
Government Instructs Electoral Commission to Prepare for European Parliament Elections

David Lidington has today written to the Electoral Commission to instruct them to prepare for European Parliament elections. He says the Cabinet Office will reimburse “reasonable spending by Returning Officers on contingency preparations.” Read the letter in full below:

mdi-timer 1st April 2019 @ 5:46 pm 1st Apr 2019 @ 5:46 pm mdi-comment Comments
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