Boris Versus Hammond

Following this morning’s fraught meeting behind closed doors, Hammond and Boris have begun feuding publically. Boris already making the Commons much better viewing than May ever managed…

Philip Hammond Admits Receiving Legal Advice From the EU

Guido sources say that in his meeting with the Prime Minister this morning, Philip Hammond let it slip in the heat of the argument that he had received legal advice. Speaking in the heat of the moment in a fiery conversation, the former Chancellor cracked out the line “well the EU’s legal department have told me…” when defending his decision to in effect vote no confidence in the Government. It was suspected by many Brexiteers that he was working in concert with Barnier, bold of Hammond to just come out and say it…

Hammond’s Agent Claims Support of Members Denied Vote

This was emailed to members of Philip Hammond’s Conservative association by Suzi Coul, his agent:

The Association is pleased to announce the reselection of Philip Hammond. Philip has been an excellent MP for Runnymede and Weybridge since 1997, and has retained the overwhelming support of residents, members and the Association Executive throughout that time.

Despite the focus of national politics, our meeting tonight was not about Brexit or the next two months, but about the selection of our candidate for the next Parliamentary election; and tonight’s vote reflects the confidence members of the Association Executive have in him as our local MP, based on his hard work and commitment to Runnymede and Weybridge over 22 years.

Defensive and also not entirely true, ordinary members were not given the chance to express their confidence or otherwise…

CCHQ has Unchecked Power to Deselect Hammond

Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor turned leading advocate of what Downing Street are terming “the Surrender Bill”, took to the airwaves this morning to whine about the possibility of being deselected for the mere misdemeanour of siding against the Government in an effective confidence vote. He made it clear that he thinks he is undeselectable…

“I don’t believe they [have the power to stop me standing], and there would be the fight of a lifetime if they tried to.”

“A legal fight if necessary?”

“Possibly.”

Unfortunately for Phil there are plenty of precedents in his party for senior MPs to be deselected by the central party. in 2005, Michael Howard controversially deselected former Deputy Party Chairman Howard Flight for harming the Tories’ electoral prospects. Hammond clearly doesn’t know the party rules as well as he thinks he does. Adrian Hilton took the party to court in a not dissimilar case and lost. The Conservative Party rules are very clear; the central party has the final say…

If Hammond is one of a dozen or so Tories who vote to neuter their Government and put a Marxist in Downing Street, the rules are clear. They’re out…

UPDATE: Runnymede and Weybridge is selecting a new candidate.

Hammond Toasts His Re-Selection With Champagne

Big Phil Hammond turned up to the local pub, the Half Moon in Windlesham, next to the Constituency Office in Surrey Heath, with a few supporters and ordered champagne to celebrate his re-adoption by the Runnymede and Weybridge Conservative Association’s executive committee. The wider local party membership have reacted furiously to Guido’s investigation revealing Hammond had requested a secret meeting of his local party executive to ensure his candidacy for the next election is waved through – without consulting the wider local party membership as took place in 2017. Will he still be celebrating by the end of the week?

Picture Credit: facebook.com/GreatBrexitDebate

Hammond’s Constituency in Uproar Over Sneaky Secret Re-Selection Bid

Philip Hammond’s local party membership have reacted furiously to Guido’s investigation revealing Hammond had requested a secret meeting of his local party executive to ensure his candidacy for the next election is waved through – without consultation with the wider local party membership as took place in 2017.

Guido understands that the local executive has received a barrage of emails from fairly miffed members of the association to which Hammond’s agent responded in an email leaked to Guido: “Guido’s article is simultaneously true and untrue.”

“It is true that there will be a meeting of the RWCA Executive on Monday at which a vote will be taken to decide whether to adopt The Right Honourable Philip Hammond to be our Conservative candidate at the next General Election.

It is untrue to suggest that this is in any way an attempt to sneak things past the membership.”

Which is a bold approach to take considering the membership had to find out about the secret meeting from Guido’s article rather than the man seeking to become their candidate. Local members aren’t happy with the lack of transparency, especially when last time round they had the chance to question the candidate before the executive voted…

Hammond Tries to Sneak Re-Selection Past Constituency Membership

Former Chancellor Phillip Hammond is clearly worried about being re-selected as the Conservative candidate for the next election, resorting to organising a quiet meeting of his constituency executive behind closed doors next Monday, with the hope of being nodded through as the local candidate. In 2017, despite the time pressure of a snap election, he was re-selected in a ‘Special General Meeting of Association members’, answering ordinary members’ questions.

A well-placed local source tells Guido that Hammond whilst he would be “almost certain” to lose a vote should it go to the full Runnymede and Weybridge association membership following his recent antics, he is more likely to win in a quiet meeting of the handful of executive members. Wouldn’t be the first time he has sought to subvert democracy…

Hammond’s Remainer Rebels To Plot With Brussels

Former Chancellor Philip Hammond’s ‘Remain Alliance’ group of anti-Brexit MPs are plotting to hold their own talks with Brussels in order to secure yet another Article 50 extension and stop Brexit from taking place on 31 October. A Hammond ally and Tory Remainer told The Times that the former Chancellor has an ‘extensive list of contacts’ on the continent which he will use to deliver a pincer movement against the Government – presenting a united front between the EU and Remainers in Parliament.

By colluding with Brussels, Remainers believe they can produce a Commons majority to dictate a more specific order to the Prime Minister than the extension request they handed to Theresa May in June. In reality if she had wanted Britain to leave the EU with No Deal rather than extend, the then Prime Minister could have gamed that open ended House of Commons diktat and still secured the UK’s exit. Remainers know that Boris will be far more creative in ensuring the UK leaves as scheduled… 

Hammond: WTO Brexit is the “Only Honest Model”

Philip Hammond’s failing attempts to rewrite history have run up against the inconvenient fact that there is a wealth of video evidence out there disproving his central claim that voters weren’t told before the referendum that voting to Leave could mean leaving without a deal. In fact they got stark warnings from a wide range of the most senior Remain politicians including himself. This latest clip, at Chatham House in March 2016, is the icing on the cake:

Let’s look for a moment now at the default option – the World Trade Organization rules, which is where we will end up if we leave the EU without a deal agreed.

For anyone who wants to ensure a clean break with the EU, the WTO is the only honest model.

What was that Hammond was saying about a “travesty of the truth”…?

Hammond Himself Said Voting Leave Could Lead to No Deal

The latest mendacious line to come from the hard Remain camp is that “nobody was told that voting Leave could lead to no deal”, with Philip Hammond going into overdrive this morning and claiming it is a “total travesty of the truth”. The problem is, as usual, it’s the Remainer line that is a “total travesty of the truth”.

Change Britain have looked at what Remainer politicians actually said and, surprise surprise, everyone from David Cameron and George Osborne to Dominic Grieve and Hilary Benn repeatedly warned voters that voting Leave would lead to Britain leaving the EU after two years, deal or no deal. Along with a certain Rt Hon. Philip Hammond M.P. at the Despatch Box in the House of Commons…

Hypocritical Hammond: I Prepared For No Deal But Boris Mustn’t Be Allowed To

Former Chancellor and perennial Brexit Eeyore Philip Hammond has taken to the airwaves today to warn of the supposedly dire consequences of a clean break from the EU. This is despite him being elected on a manifesto that promised the UK would leave with No Deal if the only alternative was a bad deal. Which, currently, it is.

On Today this morning, Hammond bizarrely doubled down on the notion that he had spent time and money preparing for No Deal, despite the reason for his interview being a big intervention saying such preparation would be damaging and undemocratic. It’s okay when he does it but when it’s Michael Gove and Boris Johnson that’s beyond the pale…

“We were already doing No Deal preparation… we spent £4.2 billion… a large part of it was preparation by the treasury to mitigate the impact on financial services.”

So why does he have a problem with this Government doing the same thing he supposedly did..?

Guido suspects that the reason for the disparity is that Hammond’s ‘preparation’ was purely cosmetic. Last week it was reported that a No Deal planning committee member had revealed that previously “the Treasury was blocking everythingwhereas things are serious now and ten to 15 actions are agreed every day.” Hammond is only upset that now people are actually undertaking the work that he bragged about doing while actually undermining it…

Downing Street sources have hit back hard saying the likes of the former Chancellor “never accepted the referendum result and they fought to overturn it.” Number 10 sources tells the FT that “Hammond and Clarke sabotaged the UK’s preparations to leave. Every day, officials tell us about decisions they took to stop us actually leaving” and The Times that “Everyone knows the ex-chancellor’s real objective was to cancel the referendum result.”

Hammond himself is doing nothing to dampen that analysis, talking up a second referendum again this morning.

“If we can’t resolve this issue in Parliament it will have to be resolved by either a General Election or a second referendum.”

If anyone believes he actually respects the referendum result, Guido has a bridge to sell you…

UPDATE: Guido asked team Hammond if there was any truth to the widely circulating story that the then Chancellor told the Irish that the British Government would never support No Deal during the negotiations that followed the defeat of the first meaningful vote last year. They refused to comment on it…

Wolseley Plot: Hammond and Barwell Spotted Scheming Against Boris and Brexit

They’ve only been out of government a week and already Philip Hammond and Gavin Barwell have been spied ramping up the plotting against the new Prime Minister. The pair were spotted out with their wives at the Wolseley last night. Guido’s mole in the room says there was extensive discussion both about thwarting Boris and revoking Article 50.

Hammond has even been alienating committed Remainers with his ultra-hardline approach in recent weeks, purging anti-No Deal Tory WhatsApp groups of Remainers who dared to publicly back Boris. The fact that Theresa May’s most senior Cabinet Minister and Chief of Staff are busy scheming against Boris and Brexit just a week after leaving office speaks volumes about why May failed to deliver…

Philip Hammond Announces his Resignation Live on Air

News that will surprise precisely no-one…

Barclay Exposes Flaws in Treasury’s No Deal Forecasts

As Barclay points out, a forecast 15 years out that assumes the Government takes no action is not likely to be the most reliable…

Gauke Doesn’t Rule Out Resigning to Vote With Grieve

The Northern Ireland Bill is heading back from the Lords today with fresh amendments designed to thwart prorogation, courtesy of Dominic Grieve’s moat-cleaning buddy Lord Hailsham. Grieve himself is considering having another go at adding his out-of-order amendment now his other key ally John Bercow is back in the chair. All of which means a number of very tight votes today…

It could be even tighter after Newsnight reported that Remainer Cabinet Ministers were even considering resigning to rebel and vote with Grieve, given most of them expect to be out of a job in a week anyway. Philip Hammond is one on resignation watch, while ‘Gaukeward Squad’ leader David Gauke left the door wide open to rebelling on Today – which would also require his resignation. Could get messy…

UPDATE: Grieve has now tabled an even tougher version of his previously out-of-order amendment, which would force Parliament to return for days on end if a new PM attempts to prorogue. Predictably Bercow has selected it

Annual Deficit is 5 Times the Size of EU’s Annual Bill

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are throwing spending commitments around like confetti to win votes. Fiscal Phil Hammond has been roused from the Treasury to warn

“We have to live within our means and people have to be honest about the consequences of either spending more money or of cutting taxes. My concern is that this Government has built up a reputation for fiscal responsibility. The British people have worked incredibly hard over a decade now to rebuild our public finances and I think it’s very important that we don’t throw that all away.”

Britain is leaving the EU in part because of the billions it costs every year, those billions are a fraction of the size of the annual deficit. Britain has successfully avoided a recession for a decade. When one comes, and it will, with interest rates at long term lows without having closed the deficit it will be difficult to cope. The deficit was supposed to have been closed by 2015, will it ever be closed?

The long-term political consequences of making bold spending commitments are that Labour will say it shows there is plenty of money to spend. In fact they already are doing exactly that…

Top Wonks Back Fiscal Phil’s Budget Responsibility Pledge

Philip Hammond’s fiscal responsibility challenge might not be the most exciting intervention in the Tory leadership race but it has received a warm welcome from many of Westminster’s top think tanks. The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Kate Andrews says:

“The Chancellor has dished out a fair and sensible warning to leadership candidates. Slashing tax and spending increases must go hand-in-hand with cuts in other areas and a radical pro-growth agenda, otherwise they are not fiscally responsible policies…

“With the UK tax burden at a near-fifty year high, putting more money back in people’s wallets should be a top priority, but it shouldn’t mean abandoning fiscal responsibility along the way.”

The Adam Smith Institute’s Matt Kilcoyne welcomes the move too:

“Right message at the right time from the Chancellor. As we approach the Cost of Government Day on the 18th June, the first day of the year that private spending overtakes all the spending and borrowing the government does on your behalf, it’s good to see a Conservative preaching fiscal responsibility.

“The UK still has a deficit, a mountain of debt, and government is still passing the buck onto those too young to vote. The next generation shouldn’t be sold out with election pledges made at the expense of their own futures.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance also give it their seal of approval:

“Philip Hammond is right that a Tory leadership battle isn’t the place for a public spending arms race. A spending spree by the current, or next Prime Minister could leave taxpayers saddled with bills.”

As far as Guido is aware, none of the candidates have committed to Phil’s fiscal responsibility pledge so far. Nor has the current Prime Minister shown any hint of reconsidering her uncosted trillion pound black hole she’s leaving behind for her successor…

UPDATE: It turns out Phil’s Pledge has been taken by the most left-wing candidate in the race, Rory Stewart. If Rory can find time out from his never-ending walks around supermarket car parks to make the pledge, why can’t any of his supposedly more Conservative rivals?

Hammond Challenges Tory Leadership Contenders to Make Fiscal Responsibility Pledge

The economy hasn’t been a big feature of the Tory leadership race so far – Chancellor Philip Hammond is determined to change that and has written to all seven remaining candidates, calling on them to commit to continuing the fiscal responsibility of the previous years:

“I therefore ask you, as a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party, to pledge that if you are the next Prime Minister your government will, at a minimum, have a clear commitment to keeping our national debt falling every year, and to maintain the current limit of the deficit at 2% of GDP at least through 2021-22.”

Fiscal restraint is something that can easily go out of the window in a leadership contest as candidates attempt to outbid each other with promises to splash the cash or embark on costly vanity projects. It might not be as glamorous as flashy new spending pledges but Hammond has a point about the Tories maintaining a clear dividing line between themselves and Corbyn and McDonnell on the issue…

Another person who could also do with paying a bit more attention to fiscal responsibility is outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who decided to slap the country with a trillion pound bill in order to make her own vanity pledge on climate change yesterday without even doing a formal cost analysis first. If anything, binding the hands of her successor with a staggeringly expensive and uncosted policy is more irresponsible than her potential successors making pledges that they probably won’t keep anyway…

Read the full text of Hammond’s letter below:

Continue reading

May Ramming Through Trillion Pound Climate Change Plan With No Proper Costings

Not content with just banning porn and plastic straws, Theresa May has decided to add a £1 trillion – that’s £1,000,000,000,000 – economic black hole to her “legacy” with her new policy to force the UK to have ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050. Philip Hammond has already warned that the cost “is likely to be well in excess of a trillion pounds”. Blows the row over tax cuts into insignificance…

The problem is that no-one has any idea how much it is actually going to cost. The Climate Change Committee (CCC), chaired by scandal-ridden Lord Deben, has put out a figure of £50 billion every year. BEIS’ preliminary estimate puts the cost a full 40% higher at £70 billion per year – these are just back of the envelope calculations. The Treasury wants to do a formal review of the costs but this will take months, not days. The fact that an outgoing Prime Minister is trying to bind the country with a commitment this vast without even doing a proper costing first is the height of irresponsibility…

Worse, a huge proportion of the costs won’t fall on the Treasury itself but directly on ordinary people. The plan laid out by the CCC relies heavily on expensive changes in consumer behaviour. Energy bills will rise, drivers will be expected to switch to more expensive green cars. This is fine for people like John Gummer who’ve had their snouts in the trough for years. For a pensioner struggling to get through the winter or someone who depends on a van to run their small business, these changes will be very costly indeed…

Businesses will also bear a huge part of the cost – it will effectively spell the death knell for serious manufacturing in the UK. Businesses will simply move their factories, emissions – and jobs – overseas at an even greater rate. May’s Government has already done a great job helping to drive car manufacturing out of the country with their ban on new petrol cars from 2040. May’s latest genius idea should finish the job…

Whitehall insiders are laying the blame squarely at the door of May and her dour Business Secretary Greg Clark, who have been gripped with a desperate desire to rush through something to give them some semblance of a legacy in their last six weeks in office. If May wants to leave a responsible legacy behind for her successor, she won’t lumber them with one of the most costly and damaging policies in the history of the UK…

Hammond Wants a “Fresh Face”

This morning on Today Chancellor Phillip Hammond, alongside contemplating the need for a second referendum, revealed he would be swinging his weight behind someone in the leadership contest who is “perhaps a fresher face.” Coincidentally, rising contender Matt Hancock told the same programme just five days earlier that “we need a fresh start and a fresh face.” In fact Hancock’s entire pitch is founded on that he is a “fresh face”…[…] Read the rest

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Boris as Hulk…

‘Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.’

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