MPs Demand Sedwill Hands Over the Evidence

Mark Sedwill has suffered another setback in his attempts to put the row over his defenstration of Gavin Williamson to bed. Now MPs on the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy have written to Sedwill demanding that he hands over the results of his leak inquiry. If Sedwill refuses, the country’s most powerful civil servant could be found in contempt of Parliament…

Sedwill’s Sticky Leak Dilemma

After the resounding success of his leak inquiry into Gavin Williamson, Guido is looking forward to Mark Sedwill getting to the bottom of several other high-profile leaks which have plagued the highest tiers of Government in recent months. Here’s a few that Sedwill will no doubt have at the top of his investigation in-tray:

  • Top mandarin’s bombshell No Deal warning: Food up 10%, police unable to protect public, direct rule in Ulster, worse recession than 2008 says leaked letter – private letter from Sir Mark Sedwill to ministers leaked to the Daily Mail. Shocking that this made its way to the press at such a politically sensitive time.
  • No-deal Brexit planning winds down with ‘immediate effect’ – internal civil service email leaked to Sky News reveals that Mark Sedwill has taken the decision to cancel all no-deal planning. How could civil servants be so indiscreet about the hard work their boss is doing?
  • Secret Number 10 memo damns plotters: Leak reveals May fury at ministers manoeuvring for leadership as she fights to save Brexit deal – angry email attacking leaking ministers leaks itself to the Daily Mail. What sort of twisted sense of humour must someone have to leak something about leaks?
  • Sedwill and Manzoni dismiss attacks on civil service as “nonsense” in message of support – email from Mark Sedwill to civil servants defending them from “nonsense” attacks in the press over Brexit leaked to The TimesHow can Sedwill continue his noble mission to stick up for civil servants if private emails like this are systematically leaked to the press?

No doubt Sedwill will be pursuing his inquiries into these terrible leaks with the same vigour and zeal as his inquiry into Gavin Williamson. How will he ever find the time to get to the bottom of them all and reveal the culprits?

Publish the Evidence

Sir Desmond Swayne called on the Government this morning to publish the conclusions of the National Security Council leak investigation to prove whether Gavin Williamson is a liar or not. Politicians of all colours, including Williamson himself, are calling for a police inquiry. The Met has now said it won’t do anything unless the Cabinet Office formally refers the matter to them.

Multiple people’s public reputations are on the line over this – without the evidence it’s just he said, she said. It’s time to release the evidence and settle the matter once and for all…

May’s Remain Cabinet Gets Even More Remain

The net effect of Gavin Williamson’s sacking on internal Cabinet Brexit politics is yet another shift towards Remain. Williamson voted Remain but was at least saying all the right things since. Ardent Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt will have a short honeymoon period but she is swimming firmly against the tide. The chief beneficiary of Williamson’s ignominious departure, Rory Stewart, is swimming completely the other way…

Here’s Remainer Rory on Peston last night, his evangelism has gone up a level from enthusiastically trumpeting May’s original deal to now waxing lyrical about the benefits of a cross-party deal with Jeremy Corbyn, even if it involves a second referendum.

Stewart’s quixotic leadership pitch is to be the “standard bearer of the middle ground”. Right now his “middle ground” appears to be somewhere between May’s centrist authoritarianism and Corbyn’s Marxism…

There cannot be a single person in Government who seriously believes they’re getting a whole Act of Parliament through on the basis of an even worse deal cooked up with Jeremy Corbyn, let alone one including a second referendum. May is heading for two electoral hammerings this month and there’s nothing she can do to stop it…

READ: Gavin Williamson Responds to the Prime Minister

Gavin Williamson has responded to the PM’s letter. Read it in full:

Dear Prime Minister,

It has been a great privilege to serve as Defence Secretary and Chief Whip in your Government. Every day I have seen the extraordinary work of the men and women of our armed forces, who go to incredible lengths to defend our country.

I am sorry that you feel recent leaks from the National Security Council originated in my Department. I emphatically believe this was not the case. I strenuously deny that I was in any way involved in this leak and I am confident that a thorough and formal inquiry would have vindicated my position.

I have always trusted my civil servants, military advisers and staff. I believe the assurances they have given me.

I appreciate you offering me the option to resign, but to resign would have been to accept that I, my civil servants, my military advisers or my staff were responsible: this was not the case.

Restoring public confidence in the NSC is an ambition we both share. With that in mind I hope that your decision achieves this aim rather than being seen as a temporary distraction.

As I said there has been no greater privilege than working with our armed forces and I will continue to stand up for our service personnel and the superb work they do.

Yours,

Gavin

He’s not backing down…

Gavin Williamson Sacked

Gavin Williamson has been sacked as Defence Secretary over the Huawei leak. Sedwill finally gets his scalp…

Number 10 has said:

“The Prime Minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the Government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of Defence Secretary and as a member of her Cabinet.”

“The Prime Minister’s decision has been informed by his conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council.”

Read The Prime Minister’s letter to the former Defence Secretary in full:

Continue reading

Cressida Dick Lands Gavin Williamson In It

Gavin Williamson has found himself in the familiar position of being widely pilloried this morning after saying last night that the military “would always be ready to respond” to help fight Britain’s knife crime epidemic. Which does sound pretty silly out of context…

What all the rotten tomato throwers have failed to realise, or deliberately ignored, is that Williamson did not just make his suggestion out of the blue, it was actually in response to a direct suggestion by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick earlier that day, who told LBC that the military could be called in to help fight knife crime. Guido is never adverse to a little bit of gentle public teasing but if the Twitterati are going to pile on anyone over this it should really be Dick not Williamson…

Former Army Chief Accuses Gavin Williamson of Careerism

Fair to say that former head of the army General Lord Dannatt isn’t entirely sold on Gavin Williamson’s posturing as Defence Secretary…

Gavin’s Barmy Army Plans

Not a great day for Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, The Sun have absolutely gone to town on him and some of his more wacky ideas for defence on a budget. Chief among them his idea for pimped-up tractors armed with “really expensive guns” and disguising mobile missile defence ­systems as Coca-Cola lorries, converting commercial ferries into beach assault craft, and planning to launch his own medal.

When the paper of “our boys” turns on the “crackpot” Defence Secretary he is in trouble. Gavin can stop planning his premiership now and just concentrate on keeping his job…

Gavin Lets the Cat Out Of the Bag

Prolific Instagram liker Gavin Williamson has let the cat out of the bag… liking a comment suggesting his cat could soon replace Palmerston in Number 10. (Palmerston is actually the FCO mouser but can often be found prowling up Downing Street.) Quite possibly the clearest declaration of intent yet ahead of the coming Tory leadership battle. Gavin Williamson wants to be Prime Minister? Who knew?

Williamson Heckled By Siri

Gavin Williamson’s phone goes off as he speaks at the despatch box. Was he heckled by the sound of his own voice? One of his Insta stories from the Commons chamber? With the audio turned up, it turns out it was actually Siri: “I’ve found something on the web for Syrian Democratic Forces”

Perhaps soon AI will be able to replace MPs as lobby fodder. Dread to think what else Siri has overheard the Defence Secretary say…

Friday Caption Contest (Mare-nistry of Defence Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Richard Madeley ‘Terminates’ Gavin Williamson Interview

Classic Partidge moment from Madeley this morning…

Williamson: Russia Should ‘Shut Up and Go Away’

That’s one way of putting it… 

Gavin Williamson on Agent COB

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson on Agent COB:

“Time and time again he has sided with those who want to destroy everything that is great about this country, whether it is sympathising with terrorists, backing rogue regimes, or cosying up to those who want to inflict pain and misery on the British people. That he met foreign spies is a betrayal of this country. He cannot be trusted.”

Defences Breached!

Tory MPs have received this text message from the whips office about their new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson:

From: Government Whips Admin Unit (HOC)
Sent: Thursday, November 2, 2017 3:39:36 PM
(UTC+OO:OO) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Subject: Urgent message

Do not reply to a text from Gavin it is a hoax text.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Government Whip 

Slightly concerning start…

UPDATE: Tory MPs have now received this message explaining that it isn’t a hoax:

Shambles…

Tory MP on Gavin Williamson https://order-order.com/quote/tory-mps-gavin-williamson/

A female Tory MP describes Gavin Williamson as a

“… self-serving c**t”.

Gavin Williamson New Defence Secretary

Big promotion for Gavin Williamson, who had succeeded in holding the Tory party and the government together as chief whip over the last few months…

UPDATE: Julian Smith new Chief Whip.

UPDATE II: Esther McVey Deputy Chief Whip.

Article 50 Party at Downing Street Next Week

The tabling of the Article 50 Bill was an historic moment that Eurosceptics have waited decades to witness, and Downing Street will be throwing a party next week for Tory MPs to celebrate. On Tuesday the Commons is sitting until midnight for the Bill’s second reading. Thirsty MPs in need of refreshments can decamp to Number 9 Downing Street from 7pm where chief whip Gavin Williamson and party chairman Patrick McLoughlin will be hosting colleagues at a bash “to mark this significant event”. As invites to Downing Street drinkies go, this will be one of the best-received in years…

One Line Whip This Evening as Whips Bond at the Theatre

The Commons will be quieter than usual post-PMQs as MPs are on a one line whip, effectively giving them the evening off. Surely nothing to do with the joint Tory and Labour whips office trip to see This House tonight. Gavin Williamson and Nick Brown and their respective teams will be bonding at the Garrick for the play at which fashionable politicos must be seen, set in the Tory and Labour whips offices back in the seventies.[…] Read the rest

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