Tory People’s Vote Campaign Loses Most of its MPs Despite Burning Through £40,000 of Dark Money

The Tory awkward squad launched their own “distinctive” People’s Vote campaign last month under the excruciatingly bad name-pun of ‘Right to Vote’. At the time of their launch Right to Vote widely claimed to have 10 Tory MPs on board, although Phillip Lee only counted eight at the launch event – Sam Gyimah, Heidi Allen, Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Guto Bebb, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and himself.

That number appears to have shrunk even further by the time of their latest ‘intervention’ this week, with just four MPs putting their name to their letter calling for Brexit to be delayed – Gyimah, Lee, Grieve and Bebb along with two hardline Remainer Lords. They seemed so desperate for MP support that the letter even originally listed “Baroness Altmann MP” as a signatory before the amusing mishap was corrected…

Incredibly, Right to Vote have reportedly spent a whopping £40,000 so far, despite not even having a website or a Twitter account at the time they launched, and their woeful lack of impact generally. As a campaigning organisation specifically made up of members from only one party they also clearly satisfy the Electoral Commission’s definition of a ‘members association’, which means they have should have registered with the Electoral Commission and declared every donation they have received over £7,500 by now – they haven’t. By law, the public have a right to know exactly whose dark money they’ve been fruitlessly burning through…

Justine’s Leadership Bid

Justine Greening made an overt pitch for the Tory leadership on GMB this morning, to the extent that Susanna Reid even thanked her for being so open about her ambitions. Greening repeatedly hinted that she was intending to run and said that “things need to change” when challenged over the issue. After Nicky Morgan poured cold water on her own leadership prospects at Tory conference, Justine is making no secret of her desire be the chosen candidate of the Tory wets…

Justine Hits Out At The Treasury

“I don’t think we get the right decisions out of that department, and it now needs to fundamentally reform to make sure that… we actually get sensible decisions.”

Remainers Say “Chuck Chequers” Too

Justine Greening makes it clear that remainers want to chuck Chequers too…

“The Chequers deal is now more unpopular with the British people than the poll tax was. ‘The PM cannot waste the next two months shuttling around Europe pretending nothing has changed, trying to land a deal no-one wants.”

Justine Greening Rules Herself Out of Mayoral Bid

NiMo Lands Amber In It

Nicky Morgan says she was contacted by a “very senior” member of the Cabinet who said “she” was appalled by briefings against Hammond. The only “very senior” member of the Cabinet (other than the PM) is Amber Rudd. Oops…

UPDATE: Remarkable hypocrisy from NiMo. Two weeks ago she said Boris “has to go” if he can’t keep quiet on Brexit. Last week she was widely implicated in the plot against the PM. Today Morgan says “it’s not helpful for anybody to have ministers being attacked, whether it’s the Chancellor or the Foreign Secretary” and criticises “self-indulgent” colleagues doing so. Eh?

Greening Still 100-1 Despite Briefing She Wants to Be PM

With all the talk of alleged Cabinet disloyalty, it’s worth noting that Justine Greening has been entirely unsubtle in letting it be known that she would run in the event of a leadership contest. In the past couple of weeks multiple members of the government and the Lobby have reported Greening is privately making her ambitions clear. In the Sunday Timesallies” of Greening said she “would run if there were a vacancy“. There are no shortage of self-important delusional MPs who think they have a chance, but Greening is an odd one.

During the referendum she said Brexit would turn the country she apparently now wants to lead into “isolated Little England”. She is a “Torbynista” on the left of the party who briefed out that she wants more spending and an end to austerity. She has a marginal seat and her majority was slashed to 1,500 in June. Like Amber Rudd, Momentum would target her if she was leader and probably take her out. She is still 100-1 despite being pretty obvious about wanting to run…

Torbynista Greening Loses Fight For New Money

Top Torbynista Justine Greening has come to the Commons to announce that she lost her fight with the Treasury for new money for her department. The Education Secretary dressed up her “extra £1.3 billion for schools” as a new spending commitment, leading the Lobby up the garden path:

The answer? There is no new money, no magic money tree, she has not “won the battle with Hammond“. The cash is coming out of the existing Education budget, which means cuts elsewhere in the department. Remember Greening wanted new cash. Treasury win.

Greening spins it up as more cash, the Lobby falls for it, Greening admits there is no new money, the herd follows. Wonder who could possibly have a motive to brief against Hammond…

Torbynistas’ £9 Billion Bill

More taxes, more spending, more borrowing, slower deficit reduction, wobbling on tuition fees and ending the public sector pay cap – some members of the Cabinet are becoming Torbynistas. Jeremy Hunt has demanded the “1% cap for NHS workers” is lifted, Justine Greening wants the same for teachers. Now Boris is briefing out he “strongly” believes the public sector pay cap should go. The IFS says copying Jezza’s cap-ditching policy would cost £9.2 billion per year, at a time when the national debt stands at nearly £1.9 trillion…

The 1% cap figure is also very misleading. Many NHS workers and teachers get a salary rise each year additional to national pay. As former minister Rob Wilson points out, this isn’t widely known and is worth several hundreds of pounds a year to several thousand pounds a year depending on salary band. The 1% figure everyone uses isn’t the whole story, for many the real number is more like 4%.

As the IFS says, in the last ten years public sector pay has accelerated faster than the private sector. Indeed earlier this year the IFS reported public sector workers are still being paid hundreds of pounds a year more than their private sector counterparts, despite “austerity“. None of the Torbynistas calling for an “end to austerity” are talking about how they are going to pay for it. For Boris this could be the most expensive Tory leadership campaign in history…

Who’s on Question Time Tonight?

Mark Clarke’s Ex-Lover Launching New Tory Youth Group at Conference

greening

Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Tory party, disappeared in disgrace following the Elliot Johnson suicide, with CCHQ cancelling its events at last year’s conference. 12 months on it is quietly returning in all but name. A series of events are planned in Birmingham using the name Conservative Youth, starting with a late night ‘Youth Reception’ hosted by Justine Greening. Justine is a former lover of expelled Tatler Tory Mark Clarke, so she’s in a (not so) unique position to offer advice.

Other sessions include “How we can make a positive difference” and “Your first step to becoming a Parliamentary Candidate”. An email address has been set up using the new “Youth” name. Every decade the Tories have to close down a youth-wing that gets out of hand; the Federation of Conservative Students, Conservative Collegiate Forum, and lastly Conservative Future. The problem with not having a youth wing is who will deliver the leaflets?

Diane Abbott’s Indonesian Confusion

Enjoy this written question asked by Diane Abbott on Thursday:

Diane Abbott:

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to assist people in the Indonesian province of Province of Davao del Norte affected by the drought in that province.

Justine Greening:

There is no province called Davao del Norte in Indonesia.

Performance worthy of a promotion…

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

bbcqt 1802

Tonight’s episode will be from Stratford-upon-Avon. Finally, with June Sarpong the BBC have given us a real political heavyweight…

Tory Sex Scandal: Who Shagged Whom?

The latest revelations in this morning’s Telegraph allege that a 22 year-old activist woke up in a Tory MP’s bed with no memory of the night before. One MP is threatening an injunction, and at least three others have been accused of inappropriately having sexual relations with young volunteers on Mark Clarke’s infamous RoadTrip campaigns. This is Guido’s handy flowchart of who has been bonking whom. It is by no means complete. If you woke up naked next to a Tory MP – or indeed are a Tory MP who woke up naked next to Mark Clarke – and can’t remember the night before, call Guido’s helpline on 0709 284 0531…

Justine Greening Embroiled in Clarke Sex Scandal

Expelled Tory Mark Clarke, the CCHQ election guru at the centre of explosive bullying and blackmail allegations, is a former lover of Cabinet minister Justine Greening, reports today’s Sun. Greening was the MP for Putney during 2010 while Clarke was the Tory A-list candidate in the neighbouring Tooting constituency. The now International Development Secretary is just one of a number of top Tory women who had a sexual relationship with Clarke. Evidence of how Clarke was let in through the back door.

The CCHQ priority in all this is to protect Lord Feldman by blaming his co-chairman Grant Shapps for a failure to discipline and block Mark Clarke’s return from his previous banishment. Friends of Feldman emphasise that he had never heard of Clarke until this all blew up. The only problem with this is discipline is not a matter for the Party Chairman – it is for the board. Here we have to bring in Baroness Pidding, who was chairwoman of the National Conservative Convention and a close friend of Mark Clarke. It was Pidding who arranged for Clarke to be feted by Cameron in public at the Conservative National Convention as recently as July, effectively crowning his rehabilitation. Pidding is also an old friend of Simon Mort, who was appointed to investigate the complaints against Mark Clarke. The nature of those complaints were leaked back to Mark Clarke as, fatally, were the names of the complainants. The transmission mechanism for how Elliott Johnson’s name and complaint got back to Clarke should be the key question for the CCHQ investigation. Who knew about the complaints? Who knew Mark Clarke? Who told Clarke that Elliott Johnson had made a complaint?

clarke+pidding

Neither Feldman or Shapps in all fairness had a central role in membership discipline – Shapps no longer even had a CCHQ role after May. This is the problem for CCHQ’s investigation, the leak that led to Clarke bullying Elliott Johnson must have come from someone at the top, privy to inside information, who was also close to Clarke.  Elliott’s father, Ray Johnson, has told Guido that he has asked the police to interview Emma Pidding…

How Grant Shapps Could Be Back in Cabinet in Just 3 Easy Steps

So, you’ve been demoted from your Cabinet-attending role as Tory party chairman to a lowly junior ministerial role at DfiD. Do not fear! Here is your how-to guide to getting back round the Cabinet table in just three easy steps:

Step One

The government’s decision on airport expansion is a step closer post-election. The LibDems – most importantly Vince Cable – are out and Boris has been given a role where he would not have to resign if the Tory government backs Heathrow. A decision could be made in the next few months…

Step Two

One person who would surely have to honourably fall on her sword if the government chooses Heathrow is Justine Greening. As MP for Putney, opposing a third runway was her main local campaign for re-election. As she says on her website, “Justine has led our community’s campaign against extra aircraft noise from an expanded Heathrow… Justine will continue to stand up for the thousands of residents who are concerned about aircraft noise”. Could she realistically vote for a Heathrow third runway?

Step Three

Who is the junior minister at DfiD who could step up to fill the vacant Secretary of State position in an emergency? Ah yes, the minister of state, one Grant Shapps.

Barring any brewing personal scandal that might slight his good character, there is a route back to the Cabinet table…

Seen Elsewhere

Judges Rule Boris Right About £350m Judges Rule Boris Right About £350m