Seb Payne Narrowly Misses Out on “Knife-Edge” Selection as Nick Timothy Takes Hancock’s Seat

Seb Payne’s political ambitions faced yet another setback over the weekend, as he came second in the race to represent the safe Tory seat of Bromsgrove. Seb, who described himself as a “part-time Michael Gove stunt double”, can take some positives from his defeat in the Battle of Bromsgrove. Insiders say he performed well and came across as credible in a very tightly fought race – with the winner being decided on a “razor-fine” margin. Winner, Bradley Thomas’s local links gave him the edge.

There was some discontent in the association, as reported by Michael Crick, as a ‘refer back motion’ to restart the selection was proposed – though eventually defeated. Over the weekend another Westminster insider did get one step closer to the green benches, as Nick Timothy won selection in Matt Hancock’s West Suffolk seat. Guido’s heart bleeds for Neil Hudson

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Carpet-Bagging Tory MP Neil Hudson Edits His Wikipedia Ahead of Selection Meeting

After losing the Penrith and Solway selection to Mark Jenkinson, Neil Hudson seems determined not to make the same mistake again as he faces Tory members in West Suffolk on Sunday.  Guido’s Cumbrian sources tell him Hudson’s decision to continue living in Edinburgh – even as MP for Penrith and the Border on the English side of Hadrian’s Wall – went down badly with his members. Hudson has now set his sights on West Suffolk – a mere 250 miles south of Penrith and 363 miles from his family in Edinburgh – and to make sure he doesn’t repeat his failure to be selected somebody has been cleaning up his Wikipedia page. Who could it be?

Among the deleted history is Hudson’s family life in Edinburgh, and the name of his wife – presumably because poor old Nicola works for the Scottish Parliament. Also deleted are details of Hudson’s controversial selection in Penrith, his Lib Dem brother Grahame, and the time he stood in his local seat, Edinburgh South. All down the memory hole…

Whoever it was who was so keen to clean up Hudson’s past did a poor job of clearing up their own digital tracks. The Soviet-style censor seems to have edited and removed various facts on Hudson’s page … and nothing else. Not everything is so easily deleted, however. Guido has reported before on Hudson’s rebellious streak and unpopularity with his colleagues in Parliament. And then there’s the Commons register of interests, which shows Hudson remains on sabbatical leave from his position as a lecturer at his local university … in Edinburgh. Good luck with the West Suffolk selection tomorrow…

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Tory Seat Battles: Workington Versus Wokeington

After CCHQ forced all Tory MPs to declare whether they intend to stand at the next election, the question now turns to; firstly whether their local association want them and secondly dealing with the 2023 boundary review. Guido’s already covered the former, with the ongoing row up in Shrewsbury about Daniel Kawczynski’s reselection; now for the latter – boundary review rows.

Up in the top corner of England, Cumbria is set to be butchered by the review. The seat tally for the county is being lowered from six to five, involving the creation of a new Penrith and Solway constituency. The move is pitting Penrith and the Border MP Neil Hudson against Workington MP Mark Jenkinson. In many ways a metaphor for the battle over the soul of the Tory party…

Mark Jenkinson is firmly red wall. The 2019 election was constantly described as a fight for ‘Workington Man’, a northern male over the age of 45 without a university degree, who enjoys rugby league, and who had previously supported Labour but voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Jenkinson won these voters over, and firmly backed Boris in No. 10 including his attempted comeback after Liz Truss’s resignation.

Neil Hudson on the other hand is not particularly favoured by many of his colleagues. In 2021 the wet – who sources suggest has occasionally mentioned he was once a vet – was called a ‘Judas’ by colleagues after pocketing hundreds for a fake news op-ed that led to Tory MPs being inundated with hate mail from animal welfare groups. In 2022 he tried standing for chairman of the DEFRA Select Committee, and was endorsed by hard-left Labour MPs who praised him for working “against his Conservative colleagues”. He called for Boris to resign last summer…

Hudson tells his local paper that he firmly believes he is the “right choice” to inherit the new seat, despite the fact two-thirds of Mark Jenkinson’s Workington seat is going into the new Penrith and Solway constituency – versus just 37% of Neil Hudson’s current Penrith and the Border seat. This should be a fun one to watch…

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Wet Tory Wins Committee Endorsement From Lefty Labour MPs

If co-conspirators remember Dr Neil Hudson, Guido will be impressed. Hudson took Rory Stewart’s old Penrith seat back in 2019 and has so far proved just as, if not more, rebellious than his predecessor. A year ago Guido revealed his Tory MP colleagues were becoming increasingly bitter towards him, not just because of his ranking as the most rebellious 2019 intake MP. He also wrote a Mail on Sunday op-ed self-promoting one of his rebellions on animal welfare, which not only increased abuse directed to non-rebelling Tory MPs, it resulted in him being labelled a “judas” after it emerged he took £900 for the hit job. Happy families…

Now Dr Neil’s anti-Tory credentials are growing. Following the resignation of porno MP Neil Parish, a vacancy has arisen for chair of the environmental select committee, for which Hudson is in the running. Guido has now been passed a message doing the rounds endorsing Hudson for the chairmanship – signed by four solidly left-wing Labour members of the committee. Rosie Duffield, Ian Byrne, Geraint Davies and Barry ‘CCP’ Gardiner…

The round-robin asks MPs – presumably sent to non-Tories – to support wet Hudson, who “works consensually with us on the committee — often against his Conservative colleagues. He has been independent in voting against his party…”

“He is a qualified vet who brings real expertise to the committee and we urge colleagues to make him your first choice (or second preference if committed to another) for the Chair.”

The fact he is a qualified vet will come as a surprise to any recipients of the letter, given Dr Neil hardly ever mentions it. Ever since the defection of Christian Wakeford, Tory MPs have been wondering if anyone else may be considering a leap… One to bear in mind.

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Tory MP Who “Won’t be Missed” After Boundary Reforms

While MPs fret over the implications of the boundary review, some Tory MPs are prematurely celebrating the potential loss of one of their colleagues. Dr Neil Hudson – MP for Penrith and the Border.

Since his election in 2019, he’s done a lot to infuriate his supposed comrades on the Tory Benches – much like his predecessor, Rory Stewart. He made a major misstep in June 2020 during the animal welfare Brexit row, during which he wrote a piece for the Mail on Sunday entitled, “Why I rebelled against the Tory whip to protect animal welfare – even if it makes Brexit trade talks more complex”. The piece’s headline told readers it had been written “by the Commons’ only vet” – something he apparently mentions in almost every conversation.

In the article, Hudson falsely implied the Tory MPs who didn’t rebel were happy to see animal welfare undermined by Brexit – an accusation that gave momentum to the noisy remainers already filling MPs’ postbags with their grievances. Some merely told Guido he “wasn’t a team player” given how unhelpful it was “to marginal colleagues.” His thenregistering of a £900 payment for the piece had him subsequently labelled as a “Judas” by more than one colleague…

According to The Public WhipHudson is also the most rebellious of the 2019 intake – excluding Jason McCartney who previously served from 2010-17 – at 3.6% of all votes since his election.

Under the new boundary reform proposals, Dr. Neil’s seat is set to be torn up, in a redrawing that also threaten’s Tim Farron’s seat. While CCHQ believes the ‘new’ seat to still show a Tory majority, a battle lies ahead between Farron and Hudson, and Guido suspects a good many Tory MPs may not be backing their Conservative colleague in that fight. In the prematurely hopeful words of one senior Tory colleague, “he won’t be missed”…

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