Whitto Slams Olly Robbins

Former Cabinet Minister John Whittingdale has given a frank assessment of Olly Robbins’ track record as Theresa May’s top adviser on Politics Live. And May went along with it all…

Fallon Welches on £1,000 Piers Morgan Bet

Both Michael Fallon and John Whittingdale made pre-referendum bets that, should Cameron lose the vote, he wouldn’t resign. Now Piers is calling in his bets, promising to donate the winnings to charity. Pay up, Fallon…

People occasionally ask Guido, with a sense of foreboding, when will the pundit and polling analyst Dan Hodges do his naked Brexit run? Guido will be negotiating the time and location with the sagacious streaker this week. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: Piers wants Guido to remind Whitto as well:

Whitto Spotted With Black Eye After Chat With Russian Sports Minister

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John Whittingdale was spotted sporting a nasty looking black eye on his way into work this morning. Nothing to do with him discussing the violence at the Euros with Russia’s sports minister yesterday, Guido is assured:

“John has a black eye from walking into a lamppost. It was incredibly painful at the time but he’s fine now. He hasn’t been throwing punches in Marseille.”

Fifty years of hurt, and by the looks of it another couple of weeks for Whitto…

Pic via Darren McCaffrey

Whittingdale Jokes

John Whittingdale on the BBC’s charter…

“…if we don’t renew it, it may be that the BBC will cease to exist, which is occasionally a tempting prospect”.

Whitto on Press Freedom

John Whittingdale reflects on the last two weeks:

“Having had my faith, perhaps, tested to the utmost, I still believe press freedom is vitally important to a free society”

Why Whittingdale is Now Best Politician to Regulate the Press

David Aaronovitch on the Whittingdale Affair…

“It has been put to me by someone in the BBC that the simple fact of Mr Whittingdale knowing that there might be a story about him that someone might have wanted to publish was sufficient reason for him to be recused from any responsibility for the press. I think this is mad. Every politician (and public figure) has a story or picture from the past that they would prefer not to see printed. In any case the reverse logic would apply: since Mr Whittingdale’s Damoclean sword has now dropped he must currently be the best person to do that job.”

Watson’s Fingerprints All Over Whittingdale Story

Who is behind the John Whittingdale story? For the last two years Natalie Rowe, the prostitute who made the infamous coke and bondage allegations about George Osborne, has been tweeting excitably about Whitto’s relationship with a dominatrix. Her allegations, including the pictures she tweeted of Whitto and his former partner, eventually found their way onto the eccentric Byline website. Yet well before the revelations broke, Rowe had a long phone call with Tom Watson where they discussed “in detail” her story about Whittingdale:

Natalie was frustrated with Watson’s apparent failure to get the story going. Conveniently, it eventually ended up on Byline, whose writers Watson is very friendly with. Whitto and Watson of course have history after they sat on the Culture, Media and Sport committee together back during the hacking scandal. Ironic that Watson, a man who previously had a keen interest in keeping his personal life out of the press, was so interested in the private relationships of a political enemy…

UPDATE: Peston is briefed that Watson warned the Sunday People against running the story. So Watson did have behind the scenes discussions with both the source and the press…

Read: John Whittingdale Statement in Full

John Whittingdale says he ended a 2014 relationship he had with a woman when he found out she was a dominatrix:

“Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through Match.com. She was a similar age and lived close to me. At no time did she give me any indication of of her real occupation and I only discovered this when I was made aware that someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers. As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.

This is an old story which was a bit embarrassing at the time. The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as Culture Secretary.”

There is no suggestion that Whittingdale, a single man who did not know about his lover’s extra-curricular activities, has done anything wrong. Ironic that this story is being pushed deliriously by the Hacked Off brigade usually so keen on keeping politicians’ embarrassing personal lives secret…

Milne’s “Vote Maoist” Poster

John Whittingdale, who attended Winchester College with Seumas Milne, reveals the now Labour comms chief’s election pitch from their schooldays. Read Milne’s Maoist manifesto here

Pic via Sam Coates

Whitto’s £1,000 Charity Bet With Piers Morgan

Piers: Do you want a bet? Let’s have a bet John. I’ll bet you £1,000 to charity that if you guys win, and you may well, David Cameron has two hopes of remaining Prime Minister: no hope and Bob Hope. There’s my hand. For charity?

Whitto: Alright, go on then.

Piers: £1,000 that David Cameron is still Prime Minister after losing the referendum. We’ll see what happens. We’ll get you back on the sofa for when you pay up.

By contrast Owen Paterson suggested on Westminster Hour last night that Dave would have to go…

Friday Caption Contest: Rush Hour Edition

fafgaEntries in the comments please…

Hacked Off Sensationalism Over Libel Costs Rethink

John Whittingdale has said he will think again about the ill-thought-out plan to ban publishers from claiming back costs in libel cases – even when they win. The draconian policy means news organisations that aren’t signed up to a Royal Charter regulator will still have to pay costs when they win, crazily meaning they will be forced to stump up huge fees even when they are found to have done nothing wrong. Whitto says:

“I am not convinced the time is right for the introduction of these costs provisions. Given the changes under way within the industry, the introduction of the new exemplary damages provisions, and the pressures on the industry, I question whether this additional step, now, will be positive and will lead to the changes I want to see. My mind is not made up, and I will want to examine the matter further in the coming weeks before taking any decision.”

Hardly unreasonable, right? This is Hacked Off Evan Harris’ screaming response:

“Victims will be distressed and the public dismayed to hear that the government is considering not keeping the promise it made to those innocent people whose lives have been destroyed by press misconduct, and reneging on the post-Leveson cross-party agreement signed by all the party leaders 30 months ago and passed overwhelmingly by parliament”

Is this one minor, entirely reasonable rethink really “reneging” on their promise? Will “examining the matter further” really cause “distress“? Will the public really be “dismayed“? If only there was some sort of regulator to keep Hacked Off’s ridiculous – and patently untrue – sensationalism in check…

Generous Whitto Plugs Hilariously Bad ‘Electric Jukebox’

whittingdale

John Whittingdale turned up at BAFTA’s HQ to help plug the launch of a music streaming device called “Electric Jukebox“. The Jukebox is an ugly oversized remote and dongle that plugs into the back of your TV, and has quickly become the butt of jokes.[…] Read the rest

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Chris Bryant Caught on Camera

Poor old Chris Bryant was due on the BBC News Channel after Whitto had finished his down-the-line, when they cruelly cut to him at the most unfortunate of moments:

After all his hard work defending the Beeb, this is how they go and repay him…[…] Read the rest

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BBC Licence Fee Lobbying Circle Jerk

With impeccable timing, every MP has received a DVD and slurpy letter from the BBC’s lobbying wing.

Ostentatiously designed to show MPs the quality of recent BBC work, it’s no coincidence that the targeted lobbying campaign has taken place in the same week that Whittingdale launches his BBC Charter Review Green Paper.[…] Read the rest

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Friday Caption Contest: Pray for the BBC Edition

captions

Entries in the comments please…[…] Read the rest

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BBC Staff React to Licence Fee Deal

Whitto has confirmed the news in the Sunday papers that the BBC will have to stump up the cost of free TV licences for over-75s.

The Beeb’s Europe correspondent is not taking it so well:

[…] Read the rest

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BBC Press Office Wastes No Time Attacking New Culture Secretary

This retweet from the taxpayer-funded spin arm of the BBC won’t help them:

Swiftly deleted…[…] Read the rest

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Bye Bye Telly Tax: Whitto in at Culture

Here is what the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport thinks about the telly tax:

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t pay the licence fee – I would go on paying the licence fee. It is a poll tax. It’s actually worse than a poll tax because under the poll tax, if you were on a very low income you would get a considerable subsidy. 

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Responding to Corbyn’s statement that the US should have arrested ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, John Mann bluntly tweeted:

Baghdadi blew himself up with a suicide belt. An arrest might have been slightly difficult in these circumstances.”

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