Meet the Candidates: Team Saj

Guido brings you another one of the teams behind the Tory leadership hopefuls – this time it’s Sajid Javid who is hoping to come through the chaos as the compromise candidate. Sajid was flying high as the front-runner last summer. However his star has waned as Brexit has taken over the agenda. His unexpected decision to vote for remaining in the EU three years ago – despite once being an outspoken Eurosceptic – fatally undermined his hitherto Thatcherite brand with a substantial section of the Tory membership and will not be forgotten. Can ‘The Saj’ revitalise his leadership hopes now?

Sajid’s long-serving former SpAd Nick King is back and heavily involved, alongside his work at the Centre for Policy Studies. Sajid also has an able team of current SpAds behind him, including yet another Hanbury connection in the form of Olivia Robey as well as ex-ConservativeHome / ex-CCHQ operator Sam Coates… who very usefully knows the contours of the Tory rank and file well.

There’s also a Vote Leave connection – Sajid has snapped up former Vote Leave and TaxPayers’ Alliance Chief Executive Matthew Elliott who is providing informal advice at this stage. Guido understands that Team Saj has also recently been bolstered by the arrival of CCHQ’s former Head of Media Monitoring and meme guru Gareth Milner. Like Nick King he’s also splitting his time between Team Saj and the CPS…

On the Parliamentary side, Rob Halfon is coordinating support for Javid amongst MPs, while ministers Chris Skidmore and John Glen are also Saj supporters. Sajid will be hoping the Brexiteers take each other out, allowing him to come through as the compromise candidate with the best free marketeer credentials…


Social media support: Avid 4 Javid hasn’t quite hit the heights of Ready for Raab yet but has 218 loyal followers, Sajid himself has an impressive 112k followers and his Facebook has 14k.
Mainstream media support: Tim Montgomerie publicly declared his support for Javid last year, the Home Secretary will also be looking for support from law-and-order focused papers like the Daily Mail now they’ve gone soft on Brexit.
ConservativeHome members survey: 5.4% (5th)
YouGov public recognition: 35% (5th)
PaddyPower odds: 11/1 (5th=)

House of Combots: MPs Interview Robot

MPs were subjected a technological treat this morning as a 4-foot tall robot named Pepper gave evidence to the Education Select Committee, arguably with more personality than many Parliamentarians. While the questions may have been more programmatic than usual, at least Pepper didn’t bot-tle out of answering them…

MPs to Interrogate French Robot

The Education Select Committee will interrogate a four foot tall French robot called Pepper next Tuesday in their quest to understand the impact of artificial intelligence. Pepper, who was developed in Paris by Softbank Robotics, has been working with students at Middlesex University, developing ways to support primary school children. Guido expects that Pepper will turn out to be a more compelling witness than most ministers…

Maybot to Feature at Tory Conference

The official fringe guide to Tory Party Conference has been released by CCHQ and on one eye catching event, panellists including Rob Halfon MP and “Zeno the robot” will be discussing how long it will take for Britain to have a robot for Prime Minister. Guido would gently suggest that we have had one for some time…

Halfon: Soubry’s Saying 17 Million Leavers are Extremists

Robert Halfon tells PoliticsHome

“My constituency voted 68% to Leave the EU. I learnt a lot from this. Most of them are just decent people, not extremists at all. They believed the argument about taking back control. They wanted more money spent at home and not on the EU. And they wanted control of the borders – they’re not extremists. What Soubry’s doing with this argument is saying that every one of the 17 million people who voted leave are extremists. That’s the logic of this. That’s where it leads to. I’ve met some of the new members. They seem to be moderate Brexit, some of them. But if some Brexit people decide to join because they believe that this party is going to keep the referendum promise – well, I’m delighted. And this is from someone who voted Remain.”

Minister Warned CCHQ About Rape Arrest Aide

armstrong

CCHQ were warned months ago that they should sack Sam Armstrong, the Tory aide who has been arrested over an alleged rape in the Commons. Back in June Rob Halfon appealed to Lord Feldman to remove Armstrong from his job with South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay. Halfon told Feldman that Armstrong had attempted to blackmail him – something Armstrong denies – and said it was “ridiculous” that he was still being employed. Despite this, and despite the Tories banning Armstrong from party conference last year, they allowed Mackinlay keep him on the payroll and give him a parliamentary pass. Why did Mackinlay keep Armstrong in a job? Why did Feldman fail to act? Armstrong would of course have known a lot about the South Thanet general election campaign’s expenses – which is also currently under police investigation. This has the potential to blow up in CCHQ’s faces…

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…

Halfon Backed Lover in Young Tory Elections

HALFON

These quotes from Rob Halfon to the Blue Guerilla website last year read slightly differently now. Halfon, who was a regular on the scandal-hit Road Trip campaign, backed his paramour Alexandra Paterson as she ran for the chairmanship of the Tory youth wing:

“I have seen from the hard work that she does with RoadTrip2015 that she is a dynamic and hardworking individual. She has the drive and ability to motivate the grassroots and ensure that CF resources are properly utilised around the country in the run up to the general election.”

Alexandra said at the time:

“CF should work hard – and play hard. That’s what I’ll bring to the table as CF Chairman”

At least she kept her election promise!

RIch’s Monday Morning View

east 540

Cabinet Minister Admits Affair

Cabinet Minister Admits Affair

HALFON

Tory deputy chairman and Cabinet minister Rob Halfon has admitted to having an affair as the blackmail plot engulfing the party deepens. Halfon says in a statement:

“What I did was wrong, and I feel ashamed. I am not proud of myself. The most important thing to me is to continue to repair my relationship with my partner.”

In unrelated news, Alexandra Paterson [pictured], the chairwoman of the party’s official youth wing, who Halfon backed for the position and who is a close friend of the now notorious Mark Clarke, today deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts…

First Look at “Conservative Workers & Trade Unionists”

tory union site

The Tories are planning to launch ToryWorkers.co.uk at their conference next week to accompany their newly founded “Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists” movement; the site is currently blank but Guido has discovered the finished product hidden in the Google cache. Here are the highlights:

churchill union

The potted proud history makes no mention of Churchill’s role in sending in the army to break the 1926 miner’s strike, when Stanley Baldwin insisted the army should not be armed, resulting in Churchill expressing disappointment that there was not to be “a little blood-letting”. 

tiry union history

It overlooks that Robert Peel was fighting Tory landowners led by Disraeli to only manage to repeal the Corn Law with the support of liberal Whigs. No mention either that Lord Salisbury resigned from the government over Benjamin Disraeli’s Reform Bill extending the suffrage to working-class men.

Forward comrades…

Tory / Bercow Love In Continues

New Tory Party Deputy Chairman Rob Halfon has told The Sun he wants to change the Tory party logo from an tree to a ladder:

“We are the party of the ladder, it was Churchill who first said that. The ladder symbolises everything we’re about. If you’re in poverty we’ll get you into work, if you’re in work we’ll cut your taxes. If you want to own your home, we’ll help you do that too. It’s not just leaving people to climb up it themselves, we hold that ladder for them.”

Re-elected Speaker John Bercow will be pleased, he chose the symbol for his coat of arms:


Though crueller Tories at the time said it represented his social climbing…

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Quote of the Day

Change UK MP Joan Ryan tells Change UK’s South West ‘rally’:

“Can everyone look at their hands please?”

*everyone holds out their hands in front them*

“That’s it, it’s there, the future is in your hands.”

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