Small Boats Week is already in choppy waters, and it’s only Monday morning. Home Office minister Sarah Dines was on the airwaves earlier claiming the government is “hoping” the Bibby Stockholm barge will house 500 illegal migrants by the weekend. She told the BBC just hours ago:
“We’re expecting pretty soon, imminently this week, in the coming days that people will be on the Bibby Stockholm. For operational reasons, you wouldn’t expect me to confirm the hour or the day but it is pretty soon […] quite possibly it will be 500. We are hoping.”
The Home Office tells Guido, however, that they are not hoping for this at all. Asked if 500 was the target for this weekend, a Home Office source simply said “no, it’s not.” According to The Sun’s Harry Cole, they added that Dines “misspoke“, and 500 is the overall target figure, not the one set for this week. Dines’ suggestion that the government is “looking at” shipping illegal migrants to Ascension Island was also shot down. That idea was junked in 2020, and apparently it’s not coming back…
Speaking to Paul Goodman on ConservativeHome’s Moggcast podcast, Jacob denies the rumour, first reported in the Sunday Times, that he was the one who encouraged Boris to accuse Sir Keir of failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile. Now Rees-Mogg accuses a Tory colleague of being responsible:
“What was going on at the time was a very noisy chamber and people were shouting things out, I think it came from behind us”.
Guido’s had a quick look to see who was behind the front bench and therefore who Rees-Mogg could be pointing the finger at:
Immediately behind the two we saw Alex Burghart, Shailesh Vara, Suzanne Webb, Conor Burns, Andrew Griffith, Sarah Dines and Sara Britcliffe. We have tried enhancing the video audio, with no success…