Young Harry Payne has been suspended from school and his mum is very, very cross this morning following yesterday’s top banter in which he gave the Clegg the finger. Guido thinks Harry’s explanation that it was aimed at a fellow student and not the Deputy Prime Minister is entirely plausible and completely believable. We’re very sorry for getting you in trouble, Harry.
As a classmate says:
Harry is quality man!!!?? only southfields academy to do something like that ???
Clegg has decided to martyr himself for the European cause, challenging Farage to a debate on the EU on LBC this morning. Ironic that the LibDems are actually showing some principle for once and are only going to be punished for it…
It’s a win win for Farage, but will also help Nick’s differentiation strategy. If the event is high-profile enough, it could also help Downing Street’s goal of a one on one debate with Miliband at some point…
UPDATE:UKIP have responded. Farage is not agreeing to a debate yet…
Guido revealed what went on inside a tense recent meeting of LibDem MPs in yesterday’s Sun column. Clegg defended himself against allegations it had been “easy for him” in government, quipping “If I’d been a Tory it would have been easy.”
One crowd-pleasing line stood out: Clegg calling Cameron “spineless” and saying that while he used his Liberal values as guidance, the PM merely asks “how’s this going to play?”
Something that Tory backbenchers might find themselves in rare agreement with Clegg over.
Expect more public airing of dirty laundry as the Coalition’s divorce day draws nearer.
The Coalition agreement could not have been clearer:
“We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.”
This morning, recall is dead. The Indy is blaming Cameron and Osborne, reporting that Clegg was all for it but it was vetoed by the Tories. In truth, in spite of the rhetoric from all three party leaders, there has been no appetite to let voters have the chance to boot out corrupt MPs. Last year Clegg himself flip flopped when put on the spot by Zac Goldsmith, refusing to give any sort of time frame or specifics on when he would be pushing for recall:
Clegg has been busy blaming everyone but himself and his party’s internal structures on LBC this morning. Asked twice about child rape charge councillor Ryan Hope, count the number of times Clegg blames the “local party” for the communication screw up.
Laughing while talking about such a dark case hardly sends the best message either.
[gigya src=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/boos.audioboo.fm/swf/fullsize_player.swf” flashvars=”mp3=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F1886342-clegg-on-libdem-sex-scandals.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&mp3Author=WikiGuido&mp3Duration=84.088&mp3LinkURL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F1886342-clegg-on-libdem-sex-scandals&mp3Time=09.26am+30+Jan+2014&mp3Title=Clegg+on+LibDem+sex+scandals” width=”480″ height=”160″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]Amusingly, Clegg went on to say:
“Of course I am not sitting on any allegations that have yet to come to light, I would never do that.”
The heartbreaking pleas from a vulnerable young woman to Nick Clegg have been revealed. As reported in this morning’s Sun, the Deputy Prime Minister cruelly ignored a letter from “Annie”, sent under her real name, as she begged three years ago to “please stop” MP Mike Hancock “before it is too late before someone else gets hurt and abused by him.”
The Portsmouth South constituent, who is accusing her MP of abusing her after she went to him for help, sent Clegg this chilling warning in March 2011:
“He cannot be trusted and he is a liability to women, public and also your party. Stop the behaviour from him and his staff and whoever is involved with Mr Hancock as this is holy wrong. And please reply to this letter as it is very important to me that I get answers from you”
Nick Clegg said on Friday that he was “appalled” when he “first heard specific allegations” at the beginning of 2013 and that he had “acted immediately” to suspend Hancock as MP. He said “some letters were sent and some were not received.” This one was.
Guido can now reveal that “Annie’s” damning letter definitely reached the Deputy Prime Minister’s office in Downing Street. A secret tape recording has emerged proving that No. 10 civil servants had received the letter and told “Annie” and it would be specifically passed on to Clegg’s Political Office. Guido is not running the full tape in order to protect “Annie’s” identity, but the extract below proves the Downing Street communications office, having checked “Annie’s” postcode, were clearly aware of the content of the letter and had passed it on to Clegg’s people:
No.10: Ok, this is a complaint regarding your MP Mike Hancock…
No.10: Because this is a political issue it is being passed to the political section to deal with rather than us at the communication office because we are civil servants we are not really able to comment on matters like this. So what I can do is get in touch with the Political Office and say that you have called up inquiring about your letter.
Nick Clegg’s Political Office never replied to “Annie”, ignoring her warning “before it is too late before someone else gets hurt and abused by him.” Shame on them.
The LibDems are still pretending that they knew nothing of how serious the allegations against Hancock were until Wednesday afternoon. Despite Clegg previously admitting knowing about them almost a year ago. Now Guido has got hold of a letter sent by John Ferrett, the leader of the Labour group on Portsmouth council, to Nick Clegg in April 2013, describing the “growing disbelief amongst constituents that Mike Hancock MP maintains his office and continues to enjoy the full support of his party leadership.”
On Call Clegg last November, the LibDem leader admitted that his office did receive a detailed letter from the solicitors of Hancock’s victim outlining the allegations against him. Clegg let slip that:
“We did receive a letter in February this year… you’re right, we did receive a fuller letter from the complainant in February this year and I asked the chief whip to look into it.”
Facing two sex scandals and a morning of brutal front pages, Clegg is fleeing the country. The LibDems say he has got far more pressing matters to deal with than how his party treats women, namely keeping Britain in the EU:
“He’s attending Davos to represent thousands of British businesses and the millions of British workers who rely on the UK’s position in Europe.
With European leaders discussing reform, he is not prepared to simply allow Conservatives flirting with the exit door to be the only British voice in this important debate.”
Probably not the best day for LibDems to lecture people about flirting…
Nick Clegg used to take allegations of sexual impropriety very seriously indeed. Here he is in November 2012, making it very clear where he stands on ITV’s The Agenda:
“Serious questions need to be asked and if after we find out what’s happened, it’s clear that people have turned a blind eye or, worse still, connived with it, then of course they’re going to have to be held to account and – if that turns out to be the case – heads will need to roll of course.”
Here is is that same month, asking all the right questions on 5Live:
“I have been thinking about this a lot, because I cannot understand how this could have remained hidden for so long. There just must have been so many people who knew what was going on …and I just keep asking myself why, why did this remain buried for so long?”
Now of course this was Clegg commenting on sex allegations against Jimmy Savile, rather than the entirely unconnected matter of Lord Rennard that blew up three months later. But interesting, nonetheless…
Cathy Newman reports that the LibDems are to take no disciplinary action against Lord Rennard. Worth remembering what Clegg had to say following the Rennard Report last summer:
“It makes sobering reading. It shows that stretching over a 20-year period a series of mistakes were made which left a number of women feeling seriously let down and for that there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.
The report also shows that the individuals who dealt with their complaints had the right motives, but there weren’t the right processes in place to support the women who’d come forward. And as leader of the Liberal Democrats I take responsibility for that.”
And yet he is doing absolutely nothing about it…
All our Rennard stories can be found here. The old perv still hasn’t sued Guido for calling him a corrupt sex pest.
Party president Tim Farron has called on Rennard to apologise. If you’re a LibDem you can harass women again and again and it’s fine so long as you say sorry.
Leaving aside the naked positioning and re-writing of history by Ed Balls in his New Statesman interview, there was one line that the fearless interviewer did not pick up on. When asked when the Shadow Chancellor last spoke to his political father Gordon Brown, Balls replied: “he actually emailed me today about a by-election coming up in the next couple of weeks”. Well we are certainly overdue one in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath…
The other line that made Guido chuckle was Balls’ claim:
“I can disagree with Nick Clegg on some of the things he did but I’ve no reason to doubt his integrity, we’ve never, I don’t think, ever had a cross word.”
Which will come as news to the Deputy Prime Minister, who said over Christmas:
“I always try to keep a good sense of humour, and if I have an argument with someone to keep the argument about what the argument is about and not allow it too often to become sort of personal. I make one exception, for a man named Ed Balls. But other than that I try not to make it about insults and stuff.”
“Last year Nick Clegg pushed past me to go to the toilet on the train and the person inside hadn’t pressed the button to lock the door. Imagine the terrified look of the person sitting there doing their business, when 1) the automatic door slowly opened 2) the person standing in the doorway was Nick Clegg. I tried to diffuse everyone’s embarrassment by remarking on the poor interface design of the toilet locking system, then Nick marched off past me to find another toilet – in a direction I knew for a fact there were no more toilets. A minute later he came back sheepishly and sat back down again. I guess he just held it in for the rest of the journey.”
The innocent bystander telling the story would like to make it clear that no physical pushing took place, merely an inadvertent queue jump. For which Nick is no doubt very, very sorry…
SpAd turned politician Nick Clegg’s pre-election promise to stop advisers being paid for by the taxpayer looks even emptier than ever today. Fun-loving Emma Gilpin-Jacobs becomes his 20th taxpayer-funded SpAd, appointed Clegg’s director of communications. The LibDems now have an average of five SpAds per cabinet minister, double the average of the Tories. At a total cost to the taxpayer of well over a million pounds a year. Government of the SpAds, by the SpAds, for the SpAds…
Nick Clegg is having a bit of a shocker today. Call Clegg went as badly as ever, with Nick Ferrari listing unqualified teachers from the LibDem leader’s own school days.
“But you were taught by people who didn’t have these qualifications? Mr Cogan your English teacher? Do you remember Mr Cogan? A former Royal Marine. He didn’t have this relevant piece of paper. A gentleman called David Cook. I don’t know if you remember Mr Cook. Mr Cook studied history. He was at Westminster, he as in charge of tuition into Oxford and Cambridge. He didn’t have the piece paper. Theo Zinn who was a classics teacher, do you remember Mr Zinn at your school? Remember Mr Zinn, fantastic classics teacher who often would ignore the books on the A level curriculum if there were ones he thought were better for the pupils.”
Which was pretty awkward. Next up was Clegg’s speech on free schools. Where he invited ridicule by deviating from his chosen subject and confessing he doesn’t think his mobile phone is being tapped by a foreign power, a la Merkel. Well obviously.
Best left to Lord Sugar to sum up Clegg’s week:
Clegg is an embarrassment to coalition for his gaffs.I don't have and don't want a free bus pass.I pay for my TV Licence as I am 66 not 75
“He’s slightly thin-skinned. He drives around in this great big Bentley on primetime television, he wafts around the House of Lords in ermine, and then he seems to be very offended when I point out that he has got a bob or two. I don’t see why someone like him should be entitled to a winter fuel payment. No doubt, having said that, I will get another torrent of classic Sugar tweet-abuse this morning.”
“We had half an hour’s notice of Cameron announcement on energy – not the way to do coalition” bleats a LibDem source to 5 News. Odd then that Guido didn’t hear them whining over the weekend when Clegg threw his teacher training grenade. […] Read the rest