International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has had a busy morning following dozens of local Conservative association accounts on Twitter. Is this the 2018 equivalent of installing banks of telephone lines..?
It looks like we can take Penny Mordaunt off resignation watch. The Portsmouth North MP has given the scoop to her local Portsmouth paper The News, telling them May would deliver on a Brexit that would ‘work for the nation’.
Of the ERG-led no confidence push, ‘That was not helpful,’ she said.
‘What the public want to see is their members of parliament and their members of government working hard to get the best result for their communities and their country. Everything else that is a distraction to that should cease.’
The paper reported that Mordaunt “would not be drawn on whether the PM was the right person to lead the nation through Brexit.” So not quite a wholehearted endorsement of the PM…
UPDATE: It has been pointed out that if you carefully read the report it does not actually quote her as supporting the current deal on offer.
Penny Mordaunt took a gentle jab at The Times in her speech to Bright Blue’s ‘Women in Work’ conference this morning, after they said that issues like the ‘gender pay gap’ and corporate glass ceiling were to be “downgraded”..
“And let me just briefly add some reassurance to the Times newspaper or anyone else who sees the fact that we want to support women who are cleaning offices, as well as the occupants of those offices, and see that as some sort of ‘downgrading’ of ‘middle class’ issues: don’t panic, women’s ministers can multitask.”
“So there will be a free vote?”
“I didn’t say… I’m not… look, Nick… there is cabinet responsibility/ The Government will put its decision to the House of Commons.”
Penny Mordaunt spent hours last night in Number 10 arguing for a free vote on the draft withdrawal agreement. The Prime Minister is decidedly equivocal this morning on LBC. Are Brexiteers being strung along yet again?
Penny Mordaunt’s Portsmouth North Conservative Association held their AGM last night. Even in the slow news days of recess this is not something that would usually be the subject of a report from Guido. However, the AGM minutes repay reading. The membership was advised that “we are preparing for a party leadership contest sometime in the next 12-18 months and we anticipate a General Election to follow.” Yikes!
Now it is an old trick to galvanise the membership into activity by making dire warnings of forthcoming elections – if it is a real fear you will see candidate selections being accelerated. Guido is not so sure that is happening much. On the other hand it seems nailed on speaking to Tories from all factions and from all corners of the country that there will be a leadership election next summer at the latest. Tory activists can read polls, that is why it is being officially minuted in constituency planning. May’s early retirement, possibly on health grounds, could come early…
More than slightly worrying that Cabinet ministers are having to call on Number 10 to give its vision for Brexit 19 months after the referendum…
Andrew Marr must have thought the cameras had stopped rolling when he gave a thumbs up and whispered “That was very good” to Penny Mordaunt after her interview this morning. He wasn’t wrong though. Made a change to see a Cabinet minister answering questions directly…
International Development Secretary @PennyMordaunt tells #marr she will make clear to #Oxfam that “If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there, we cannot have you as a partner.” #marr pic.twitter.com/JUlIMGvGlS
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) February 11, 2018
“If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there, we cannot have you as a partner,” Penny says of scandal-hit Oxfam…
Female Brexiter out, female Brexiter in. Shows the new Chief Whip Julian Smith is taking decisions quickly and crucially is keen to promote women and fresh faces. Tory MPs and grassroots have been crying out for younger, punchier figures around the Cabinet table who can fight the fight – Penny is a true believer and the sort of person who the government should be looking to promote. Should also calm Leavers. Will be a popular appointment…
UPDATE: Sarah Newton is made Minister of State at DWP and hotly tipped 2015 intaker Victoria Atkins becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office.
Leave message: IMF bullying British voters and cheating purdah rules.
Remain message: “Independent” institutions back Remain.
Cut through: Christine Lagarde.
Odds: Remain 1/3 Leave 9/4
Latest poll: Remain 44%, Leave 46% (ICM, online). Poll of Polls is now Remain 50%, Leave 50%.
A freshwater pearl necklace from the Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, no less. The brutal regime also bestowed upon Penny a pricey Omega watch, revealed in the latest declarations of ministerial gifts out today. Gay-flogging Qatar meanwhile bunged Philip Dunne “Concord gents & ladies watches in gift box”. But that isn’t quite as good a headline.
Since he declared for Leave the odds on Boris joining Osborne in a leadership final have shortened, with ambitious colleagues jostling for position. Andrea Leadsom and Penny Mordaunt have both previously been tipped to mount leadership bids, they are both Outers who help run the intriguing ‘Fresh Start’ group of Tory MPs. Curiously the duo have begun hosting weekly drinks dos with Tory backbenchers, inviting “colleagues who are on the ‘leave’ side of the EU debate” to an “informal drop in each Monday evening” at Penny’s office. The “regular” 90 minute long sessions “over a glass of wine” have been a convenient opportunity to woo colleagues, while Leadsom is also having backbenchers round for drinkies at her swish Tufton Court residence. Tonight Penny and Andrea have arranged for Vote Leave to give a talk about strategy and answer questions, naturally “wine and snacks will be served”. Boris’ operation, run by Ben Wallace and Nigel Adams, is famously lacking punch…
Penny Mordaunt denies calling the cock debate purely for a bet, citing her work with the Hen Welfare Council:
“It was killing two birds with one stone.”