Peston Let Down By “Three Well-Placed Sources”

“Damian Green will keep his job”, so said ITV’s political editor Robert Peston ten days ago, citing “three well-placed sources” who told him “there should be confirmation on Wednesday” that week. How did he get it so wrong? Peston’s always entertaining blog could have been used to see how the idea of letting Green off would go down with the Lobby. It’s possible the Cabinet Office and Number 10 hardened their position on Green’s fate as the inquiry continued into this week. Or Peston’s “well-placed” sources could just not be that well-placed…

Regulatory Convergence Between UK & EU Denied

Last night Robert Peston set the hares running reporting that “permanent regulatory convergence between the UK and EU” is Theresa May’s “preferred route”. This would essentially be the EEA minus option preferred by Hammond and the Remainers, meaning the UK would have to follow EU rules permanently, denying the opportunities of Brexit that the country voted for. Fortunately government sources are strongly kicking back at the Peston report and denying there will be regulatory convergence between the UK and the EU. The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn says alignment – which is different to convergence – would only be in limited areas of the Good Friday agreement.

It certainly would be brave for May to suddenly back the convergence model – that would go completely against the spirit of her Lancaster House speech, it would not be a real Brexit and it would mean the end of Brexiteer support for her premiership, which she has worked very hard to maintain over the last year. This episode again stresses the need for the Cabinet to thrash out once and for all what type of Brexit they actually want…

Pesto’s Brexit Conversion

Self-confessed metropolitan elitist Robert Peston says he has become sympathetic to the will of the British people and the cause of Brexit. Peston’s new book WTF is not exactly an ode to the cause of Leavers, but the ITV pol ed does admit:

“Please don’t throw me out of the family, I now fear that those that did were on the right side of an important argument and the right side of history.”

In an interview with Iain Dale Peston said:

“When I discovered it wasn’t just me but my entire circle were out of touch with millions of people I genuinely felt ashamed… this was the only opportunity millions of people were ever going to have to say to the people who run this place ‘you’re not listening to us’, it was a massive wake up call to everybody… I take my hat off to them, they have thrown all the cards up in the air… it was the right thing to do.”

Everyone comes round in the end…

Peston Labelled “Fake News” By Minister Over Boris Smears

Another ‘interesting’ take from Robert Peston, who writes: “the life-or-death question for May is whether Shapps and Johnson are in cahoots”. He claims Shapps met with Boris’ team a few weeks ago to “discuss matters”. A Tory source says this is “totally fabricated, an obvious smear”. Jake Berry, who is named in Peston’s story, says it is “fake news”. Senior May allies say Boris is not plotting any challenge with Shapps. Who briefed Pesto?

As anyone who has read a newspaper or spoken to a Tory MP recently knows, a more pertinent question would be whether Shapps has “discussed matters” with supporters of David Davis since the election…

Profundity of the Punditry: Florence Quadruple Whammy

Robert Peston caused a bit of a stir yesterday afternoon reporting that Theresa May was about to “do a Canada”:

“Her aspiration for after those two or perhaps three years of transition is for our future trading relationship to be what is known – in the ghastly jargon – as CETA plus… What this means is we want a trade deal modelled on Canada’s new one (CETA) with the EU, that has just become operative in interim mode, and not the more intimate integration with the EU of Norway or Switzerland. The reason we are doing a Canada is there has been no resiling from the position taken by the PM in her landmark Lancaster House speech… all of that is broadly May’s position, to be expressed tomorrow.”

May actually ruled Canada out:

“One way of approaching this question is to put forward a stark and unimaginative choice between two models: either something based on European Economic Area membership; or a traditional Free Trade Agreement, such as that the EU has recently negotiated with Canada. I don’t believe either of these options would be best for the UK or for the European Union.”

Doh!

Over at the Telegraph they has this top pre-speech scoop:

Except it didn’t come true, there was no mention of this in the speech. Boris seemed happy too, rather than on the verge of resigning. Doh!

What about all those Remain pundits who said again and again that May had dropped her view that “no deal is better than a bad deal”? Asked by Laura K, May confirmed this was still her position. Doh!

Then there was Sky’s Faisal Islam, who after the speech claimed May was “65% towards the Norway model”. Nope, you can read May’s damning verdict of Norway here. Doh!

Brexit reporting not particularly enlightening at the moment…

Brexit Twitter Sentiment Analysis: Peston 82% Negative

Click to enlarge

Data Guido has been hidden away in a dark room, crunching the numbers to see whether our top broadcast journalists really are impartial on Brexit. It is rarely the case that one individual tweet gives the game away and reveals a top TV  presenter’s biases – they usually won’t be so careless. Yet when you dig deeper you get a very different picture. Data Guido has collated every single tweet about Brexit sent by three top journalists from three major broadcasters since the referendum. We then categorised them as having either a positive sentiment about Brexit, a negative sentiment about Brexit, or being neutral. We started with ITV’s Robert Peston…

  • Peston has sent 284 tweets about Brexit since 24 June 2016.
  • 3 tweets had a positive sentiment, that’s just 1% of his total tweets.
  • 47 tweets were neutral, that’s 17%.
  • 234 tweets were negative, remarkably that is 82% of his total Brexit tweets having a negative sentiment.

Not much of a surprise given Pesto is best friends with Remain campaign supremo Roland Rudd and spent the referendum trying to do in Vote Leave. Though it’s not very becoming of a supposedly impartial broadcaster. Stay tuned for Data Guido’s Twitter sentiment analysis of two other prominent TV hacks…

Academic Study: Broadcasters Were Biased Towards Remain

An academic study by a team of media studies professors* found that the Tory press is biased against Corbyn and the Labour supporting press is more favourable to Jezza. Taxpayers once again wasting money in academic studies of the bloody obvious. Well at least it keeps the hackademics off the streets…

They also found that the supposedly impartial broadcasters – the likes of Faisal and Peston – did give more airtime to pro-Remain voices during the referendum. Guido could have told them that for free…

*David Deacon, Professor of Communication and Media Analysis, Loughborough University; Dominic Wring, Professor of Political Communication, Loughborough University; Emily Harmer, Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies, Loughborough University; James Stanyer, Professor of Communication and Media Analysis, Loughborough University, and John Downey, Professor of Comparative Media Analysis, Loughborough University

Radio 4 Gossips Link Peston to Today

Radio 4 sources are loudly and widely sharing concerns that Sarah Sands is planning big changes at the Today programme. They have been circulating a rumour – which has been repeated to Guido unprompted by blabbermouth non-BBC industry sources – that Sands wants Robert Peston to present the flagship programme. This does sound unlikely to Guido, he is on a hefty wedge at ITV and the prospect of his idiosyncratic style on the Radio 4 airwaves is not likely to be popular at Broadcasting House. It is not impossible that this is disinformation being spread by Beeb refuseniks trying to undermine Sands. World at One presenter Martha Kearney has also been linked to Today. What would that mean for Jim Naughtie…

Peston: Can Guto Bebb Keep His Job?

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns did not offer any defence of his minister Guto Bebb’s comments on Scotland, comically just saying a string of incomprehensible words. Theresa May will need a better line that that when she visits Wales tomorrow…

Hezza: Bozza Waffles Rubbish

Carswell: Not Rejoining Tories, I’ll Stand For UKIP in 2020

Carswell rules out defecting back to the Tories and says he will stand for UKIP again, something he hasn’t committed to before. He says he is “walking on sunshine” and feels “like an emoji smiling every day”…

Hammond: Brexit Bill Won’t Be €60 Billion

Hammond says he doesn’t “recognise” the EU’s €60 billion Brexit bill figure though says Britain will pay what it owes…

And we will “fight back and forge new trade deals around the world” if we don’t get a trade deal with the EU…

Balls Hints at Return to Parliament

“I’m never gonna say never about going back…”

Khan: Issue of Labour Leadership is Settled

Flint: Abbott Should Go

Simples…

Bad Al Campbell Heckles Piers Morgan

Peston’s Single Market Blunder

On ITV last night, Robert Peston and Emily Thornberry claimed the Leave campaign did not make clear that Brexit meant leaving the single market. Peston told Nigel Farage:

“I’m not sure that’s right. I really don’t think that’s right. It’s not what Boris said. It’s not what Michael Gove said.”

As anyone following the news in the last six months will know, Boris and Gove did say it. Peston completely wrong. Again.

Peston’s Downing Street “Movie Set”

ITV’s scoop-getting political editor Robert Peston is annoying Tory spinners in more ways than one. When the other broadcasters film short interviews in Downing Street, they usually bring one camera with them to film the interviewee. Peston however insists on bringing two cameras, one to film the minister, the other to film himself. Apparently Pesto wants a camera on himself at all times so plenty of shots of him looking inquisitive can be edited into the package. This means double the number of camera crew, causing a headache for press officers. A senior government source reveals “he turns up with a f**king movie set”. Don’t disturb the creative process…

LISTEN: Soames on Peston and Farage

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The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames tells Iain Dale that Twitter is “absolutely wonderful”, Nigel Farage is a “preposterous… faux bonhomme”, and that if Robert Peston were in the army “he’d have got 21 days for improper dress”. For other such musings follow him on Twitter here

Peston Tells Soames to Eff-Off!

[…] Read the rest

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