Jo Swinson Took £14,000 Donation from Fracking Boss

The Lib Dem leadership content is so firmly in the Tories’ shadow that even Ed Davey is writing op-eds about the Tory race rather than the one he’s competing in himself. Meanwhile his rival Jo Swinson has been busy doing a Gove-style hypocrisy tribute act by taking £14,000 in donations from a fracking boss while claiming to have “campaigned tirelessly” for the environment. Awkward…

The number two pledge on Swinson’s campaign website is her environmental credentials, she even boasts about how “she took to the streets with Extinction Rebellion”. Coincidentally as well as taking two donations totalling £14,000 from fracking boss Mark Petterson, she’s also voted against a moratorium on fracking permits, in favour of cutting renewable subsidies and against CO2 targets in the past few years. Sensible positions which will likely be better for the environment in the long run, her own Lib Dem selectorate may not quite feel the same way…

Sir Ed Davey Not Standing

LibDems bewildered as to why Sir Edward isn’t running. He says it’s for family reasons. Sir Vince the only candidate…

Public Auditors Blast Ed Davey’s Hinkley Deal

Ed Davey is expected to launch his bid for the LibDem leadership imminently, so it is good timing for the National Audit Office to release their report into his Hinkley Point deal today. Sir Edward was the Energy Secretary pushed though the £18 billion deal and insisted it was good value. The National Audit Office disagrees, this morning calling Hinkley Point “a risky and expensive project” that is “not value for money“. They say the case for the plant is “marginal“. As damning language as it gets…

Even more embarrassingly for Sir Edward, his own party opposes Hinkley Point. LibDem energy spokesman Lynne Featherstone says:

“Failing to call a stop to Hinkley will prove a costly mistake. The opportunity to pull the plug on Hinkley has been missed, and we will all pay for it from our pockets.”

The final humiliation for Davey. Well, depending on how his leadership bid goes…

LibDem Leadership Latest

The bookies’ favourite Jo Swinson has decided not to stand, noting “most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot”. Indeed she has a point, the remaining field is a bunch of boring bald, grey or balding, grey blokes ready to lead the LibDems into mediocrity. 

  • Norman Lamb: The new bookies’ favourite, probably because he has been so loudly taking soundings about whether he should run.
  • Sir Ed Davey: LibDems are increasingly tipping Davey as the most likely next leader. Has a growing online band of supporters sharing stories about how he saved a woman’s life. Wants it badly.
  • Sir Vince Cable: Now the third favourite, Vince’s odds have moved out over the last few days as LibDems look for a younger option. Though his supporters will argue Swinson stepping aside could see him as a two-year caretaker option.
  • Tom Brake: Not grey or bald but human beige. Still hasn’t ruled himself out. Probably should. 

At least Swinson would have been a relative breath of fresh air.

LibDem Leadership Runners and Riders

The LibDems have 12 MPs, and it is entirely possible a third of the parliamentary party could put themselves forwards as leadership candidates to replace Tim Farron. And there will be more knights running than women. Guido brings you your runners and riders…

  • Jo Swinson: The early favourite. Won her seat back in East Dunbartonshire, at 37 her allies say she is the youngest, freshest candidate and more exciting than Vince Cable, who would take the party “from Dad to Grandad“. But are the LibDems ready for a woman leader?
  • Sir Vince Cable: He has always harboured ambitions and his allies say he could be an interim “Brexit leader” who would run the party for two years before stepping aside and allowing Swinson to fight an election. Though Vince has gone a bit funny recently, his Diane Abbott moment during the campaign will not inspire the confidence of members.
  • Sir Ed Davey: No secret he’s always fancied the job, he began scheming against Farron as soon as he won his seat back. His irritable personality isn’t exactly endearing and he was the Energy Secretary who struck the “worst ever” deal for Hinckley Point, and then took a job as a paid lobbyist for a firm representing the successful bidder. Is that really the sort of person the LibDems want?
  • Norman Lamb: Held his seat against the odds and now the bookies make him second favourite to be leader. Last night he told Question Time that he was thinking about running. Seems a more decent bloke than some of the others on this list, though that isn’t hard. Sensible enough to defy Farron and abstain on the Article 50 vote rather than vote against.
  • Tom Brake: Tipped by the Guardian to the amusement of LibDem colleagues. He is known in LibDem circles as “human beige”. Mired in all sorts of murky goings on in his rotten borough of Carshalton. Those local stories would soon go national if he were leader.
  • Alastair Carmichael: Proven liar, but since when has that ever stopped a LibDem? Has ruled himself out.

What a choice…

CCHQ Diverted Resources Away from ‘Safe’ Seats Tories Lost

There is a lot about the Tory campaign that has caused huge anger among MPs. Though little provoked more fury than the decision by CCHQ to divert resources away from supposedly ‘safe’ seats that the Tories then went on to lose. Guido has heard from several defeated MPs who were continually assured by HQ that their seats were safe. The decision was taken centrally to pull resources out of these constituencies and divert them to target seats like Ealing Central. Some MPs themselves were even sent to knock up in others seats on polling day. This complacency was fatal for several MPs. They ended up losing their seats by small margins, while in Ealing Rupa Huq increased her majority from 274 to 13,807.

MPs repeatedly warned CCHQ that large numbers of Labour and Momentum activists were flooding their perceived safe seats, while their local Tory campaigners had been relocated elsewhere. They were told not to worry. Then they lost their seats. What an extraordinary clusterf**k.

Ed Davey Defends EDF Deal

Ed Davey’s worst ever Hinkley Point C deal, which will allow owners EDF to charge treble the current market rate for 35 years, was featured on the Today Programme this morning. The BBC failed to mention at any point before, during, or after Davey’s interview that he is now working for EDF’s lobbying firm, MHP. Davey spoke for three minutes defending his deal with EDF, and did not once think to mention his new role as a ‘strategic adviser at MHP to the energy sector’.

Davey claims the agreement was made with “the best available advice”:

“… the truth is, if you look at deals like this, which are over 60 years of generating, you don’t know sitting here today exactly what the value’s going to be, because you’d have to know the price of carbon, the prices of gases and things, in 20, 30, 40 years time – I’m not a clairvoyant, I’m not God.”

You do work for a firm that lobbies on behalf of EDF though…

DECC Ready To Frack

frack to business amber rudd

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is beefing up its Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil to push ahead with a revitalised fracking agenda. Free from the shackles of Ed Davey, the OUGO are already advertising for three Senior Policy Advisors to help put the framework in place to support the shale gas industry – something that is high on new chief Amber Rudd’s agenda. The age of cheap energy is dawning…

Goodbye Ed Davey, You Won’t Be Missed

davey

Ed Davey, the former Energy Secretary saw his 7,560 majority wiped out this morning and Gaia couldn’t be more delighted. The flip-flopping, windmill lover stacked his brief with vested interestscosied up to Greenpeace, attempted to control the press and spend most of his time ignoring his department and trying to cling onto his constituency. That went well then..

Astonishingly, the man who was once in charge of of Britain’s energy policy, is on the record claiming that fracking won’t boost the economy or reduce energy prices. Good riddance, let’s hope Owen Paterson is about to receive a phone call from Dave..

Tory Frackers: Crackpot Croquet Critique

Ed Davey has waded into to the fractious debate over whether the UK  should invest in drilling for natural gas with all guns blazing, telling those in favour of cheap energy bills to frack off. Davey has labelled the Tories “frack-baby-frackers” who would “frack every bit of croquet lawn if they possibly could“. Well at least it’s not just the north now…

Speaking in an interview with Carbon Briefthe Energy and Climate Change Secretary made clear that he doesn’t believe hydraulic fracturing will boost the economy or reduce energy prices:

“I think they’re crazy. I mean, you know, they make these ridiculous ideas, not backed by any evidence, that something [fracking] will transform the British economy and massively reduce prices. No evidence for that, whatsoever.”

Perhaps he should take a look at the US…

GREEN WASTE: Gov Sponsored Climate Change Picathon

turbine fire

Instead of securing affordable energy supplies for Britain, pen-pushers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change have taken time out from their busy schedule to launch a climate change themed photography competition. Launching tomorrow, it aims to bring together pictures that illustrate how climate change will impact the things people care about most in day to day life. The winner will challenge DECC to “re-imagine climate change in the most original and engaging way.

Excitingly the competition judges include Greenpeace photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Ed Davey himself.

Here is Guido’s entry:

You can let DECC know what climate change means to you by posting a picture on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #BackClimateAction…

Davey Diverts His Energy

Civil servants are becoming increasingly annoyed at how little time Energy Secretary Ed Davey is spending on the  job.

A Whitehall source whispers to Guido: “He spends just two days in the department and the rest of time clinging to his seat.” 

Davey’s 7,560 majority may look semi-safe on paper, but the Tories are closing in on Kingston for the first time since 1992.

Seen Elsewhere

Bookies Claim May Hasn’t Resigned Bookies Claim May Hasn’t Resigned