Second Referendum Crushed in ‘Major Defeat’

Sarah Wollaston’s amendment calling for a long extension to provide time for a second referendum has been crushed this evening by 334 votes to just 85. Only 326 votes are required for a majority. Even in the unlikely event that all the abstaining MPs voted in favour of the amendment it would still have lost…

Hapless second referendum campaigners had been desperately messaging each other this afternoon encouraging campaigners to stay positive in spite of the likely “deflating” result tonight that will be labelled as “a ‘major defeat.'” Of course, Guido wouldn’t dream of labelling it as anything of the sort…

TIGger Staff Exodus?

Some of the staffers of TIGger MPs seem to be unhappy with their boss’ decision to quit their respective parties. Both Chuka and Sarah Wollaston are advertising for new staff members in London, just weeks after having formed The Independent Group. Staffers are employed by individual MPs, so if an MP defects their staff have the tricky decision whether to stay or go…

In Chuka’s case, two of the six staffers he employed before he defected were paid for by external sources, one by an organisation called ‘Streatham Campaigns Ltd’, and one by the Labour Party. Hardly surprising Chuka has to advertise for more…

Tory Defections: Then and Now

The defection of the three Tory MPs to The Independents Group today has seen an outpouring of comments ranging from sadness to… sadness from their former Tory colleagues. Theresa May is “saddened”, David Cameron is “sad”, Claire Perry is “extremely sad”. All get thanks for their “dedicated service”, with the door being left open for them to return if they change their mind…

So presumably it was the same outpouring of thanks, hugs and condolences all round when Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless left for UKIP in 2014? Don’t be silly…

David Cameron branded Reckless’s decision “senseless and counter-productive” and accused Carswell of helping Labour. Carswell was accused of “betrayal”, “petulance” and “political vanity” by Tory MPs while Reckless was even sued by his former local party. All topped off with Claire “Brexit Jihadis” Perry’s ever classy “Don’t let the door hit your fat arse as you leave”…

Heidi Allen’s Desperate ‘We Haven’t Changed’ Fib To Avoid By-Elections

Earlier today, trying to wriggle out of holding people’s votes of their own constituents, Tory TIGger Heidi Allen said “We haven’t changed. What we stood on, our values, our own leaflets, our own campaigning when we stood in 2017, none of that has changed.” Except that doesn’t ring true with her campaigning in 2017…

  • Allen’s own leaflet said “we must respect the democratic outcome of the referendum and work positively together to ensure we make Brexit a success.” Even on the day of the election, Allen tweeted “I was a remainer, but the EU ref result is final and cannot be rerun.”
  • Her Tory TIGger colleague Anna Soubry also campaigned in 2017 saying she “will continue to honour the EU Referendum result. We are leaving the EU and must now get a good deal.”
  • The other Tory TIGger, Sarah Wollaston told one of her constituents in 2017 that “overall constituency voted leave 54%. I promised to respect the outcome.” Her own website informed her constituents that “Theresa May has confirmed that the Government will not seek to be in the single market. She has also been clear that no deal is better than a bad deal”

Day one and they’re already in full hypocrisy mode. Fibbing through their teeth all to avoid facing the people…

UPDATE: Guido brings you Sarah Wollaston’s 2017 election hustings highlights. This is what she told her leave voting constituents when they returned her to Parliament…

And here’s Honest Heidi…

No, There Isn’t a ‘Purple Momentum’

The Tory TIGs, Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston, and Anna Soubry, have claimed as a key reason for their defections was a “Purple Momentum” that is “subsuming the Conservative Party”. But is there any evidence of this or is it just an after-the event rationalisation?

Brandon Lewis today told the Conservative MPs WhatsApp group that a grand total of zero local associations have initiated deselections. The only association that comes close is Grantham and Stamford, who as far as Guido can make out are simply asking Nick Boles if he wishes to stand as a Conservative at the next election – as he has equivocated on that question in recent months. It’s not a deselection attempt if they’re actively asking you to stay on as a Conservative…

In March 2018 it was revealed that membership of the Conservative Party stands at 124,000 people. There is no evidence that this has changed significantly, despite a big membership drive from CCHQ itself. ConservativeHome did register a tiny bump in membership after Chequers was announced, of about ten new members per association. The 400,000 new Momentum flavoured members who have joined the Labour party it ain’t…

At the TIG press conference today, Sarah Wollaston referenced a “very aggressive and well funded social media campaign that is being waged against many of us, describing us as traitors, all sorts of language. The trouble is that that language has consequences, the deluge of really threatening calls that our staff have to deal with. It’s really horrible.”

No MP should receive threatening phone calls, nonetheless loopy phone calls do not amount to a ‘Purple Momentum’ deselection attempt. Sadly, all MPs receive threatening phone calls no matter what party they are in. There is no actual evidence that an infiltration has taken place beyond an entirely underwhelming Arron Banks social media campaign that was always more about self promotion than changing the Conservative Party.

The first iteration of Banks’ attempted ‘Blue Wave’ movement to infiltrate the Conservative Party has not been active since November. Now Leave.EU are trying it themselves, but to little success. Guido hears that the clickthrough rate from Leave.EU links to purchase Conservative Party membership are laughably low…

Don’t believe the ‘Purple Momentum’ bogeyman that these three Remain MPs have convinced themsleves exists. Don’t believe that Theresa May’s ‘Austerity is over’, high taxing, fiscal discipline abandoning, pro-tariff, ban-happy Conservative Party has somehow lurched to the right. It’s a convenient figment of their imaginations, all to justify their increasingly desperate quest to stop Brexit.

Tory Defectors Cross the Floor

The Tory defectors have crossed the floor to sit on the opposition benches with The Independent Group, following in the footsteps of Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler who crossed the floor to join the SDP in 1981. Auspicious…

Interestingly, the Independent Group’s press release claimed the trio had formally joined, while their own resignation letter only said they would sit “alongside” TIG and would still back the Tories in certain votes. Surely splits can’t be emerging already…

Theresa May “Saddened” by Tory Trio Breakaway

Theresa May has put out a statement in response to Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston choosing to quit the Tory Party, saying she is “saddened” by their decision. Many Tory MPs – including Brexiteers – share the same sentiments…

Three Tories ‘On the Verge of Defecting’ to Join Labour Splitters’ Group

Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, and Anna Soubry are said to be on the verge of leaving the Conservative Party today. Rumours are swirling that the three could jump ship to join the Labour splitters’ ‘The Independent Group’ as early as in time for the start of Prime Minister’s Questions today.

This morning none of the three are responding to requests for comment about joining The Independent Group. Soubry, normally a prolific Twitter user, hasn’t tweeted since Monday morning. Tory whips last night told Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt that the three had gone “very, very silent” and yesterday Soubry failed to vote in three Commons votes, without telling her whips and despite not seeking a pair.

Wollaston and Allen have never fitted in to the Conservative Party, rebelling against the leadership since they got in to Parliament on a wide array of issues. Wollaston opposed tax cuts that even John McDonnell supported. Soubry on the other hand is aligned with the Tory Party on everything bar Brexit. Her leaving would not be something to celebrate…

Labour MP Joan Ryan’s defection last night took The Independent Group’s numbers up to eight. Three more MPs joining would make their Parliamentary group as large the Liberal Democrats…

Tory People’s Vote Campaign Loses Most of its MPs Despite Burning Through £40,000 of Dark Money

The Tory awkward squad launched their own “distinctive” People’s Vote campaign last month under the excruciatingly bad name-pun of ‘Right to Vote’. At the time of their launch Right to Vote widely claimed to have 10 Tory MPs on board, although Phillip Lee only counted eight at the launch event – Sam Gyimah, Heidi Allen, Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Guto Bebb, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and himself.

That number appears to have shrunk even further by the time of their latest ‘intervention’ this week, with just four MPs putting their name to their letter calling for Brexit to be delayed – Gyimah, Lee, Grieve and Bebb along with two hardline Remainer Lords. They seemed so desperate for MP support that the letter even originally listed “Baroness Altmann MP” as a signatory before the amusing mishap was corrected…

Incredibly, Right to Vote have reportedly spent a whopping £40,000 so far, despite not even having a website or a Twitter account at the time they launched, and their woeful lack of impact generally. As a campaigning organisation specifically made up of members from only one party they also clearly satisfy the Electoral Commission’s definition of a ‘members association’, which means they have should have registered with the Electoral Commission and declared every donation they have received over £7,500 by now – they haven’t. By law, the public have a right to know exactly whose dark money they’ve been fruitlessly burning through…

People’s Vote Bottle People’s Vote

The People’s Vote campaign’s shambolic week has culminated in this hilarious impromptu press conference outside Parliament with the usual Remoaner cast lining up SNP-style to sorrowfully explain why they won’t be tabling an amendment calling for a second referendum next week. “Great British Hero” Philip Lee’s face is a picture…

Predictably they are trying to lay the blame at the feet of Corbyn for refusing to back a second referendum, rather than their own incompetence, or the fact that there isn’t a majority for a second referendum in Parliament or in the country. Have they ever stopped to consider why Corbyn isn’t falling over himself to join up with a campaign run by Blair, Campbell and Mandelson which is teeing itself up to become a new third party….

Owen Jones Turns on “Absolute Disaster” of People’s Vote Campaign

The People’s Vote campaign have been getting an absolute kicking overnight on the back of Alex Wickham’s big expose, following Guido’s report on the campaign infighting last month. Surprisingly, much of it is coming from the left, with Owen Jones leading the charge against it:

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of a second referendum, the official People’s Vote is an absolute disaster, has undermined the case for another vote, and if there is one and they run the Remain campaign, we might as well chalk up a second Leave victory now”

The New Statesman’s George Eaton also piled in with a quote from a ‘senior Labour insider’:

“People’s Vote campaign has a worst of all worlds strategy. It’s fronted in the media by Blairites who are deeply unpopular with voters but knew how to win stuff. Its back room is run by Milibandites who are less elitist but don’t know how to win stuff.”

Predictably, second referendum-backing MPs like Sarah Wollaston have been getting hilariously flustered by the criticism, with Steven Doughty even pinning it on a right-wing conspiracy. Including that well-known right-wing agitator Owen Jones…

Second referendum campaigners are still in denial about three basic facts – firstly there isn’t a majority in Parliament for a second referendum, as significant numbers of Labour MPs will oppose one, secondly there isn’t a majority for a second referendum in the country, as Britian’s leading pollster John Curtice exposed yesterday. Thirdly, sending Tony Blair out as your spokesman on the slopes of Davos is not going to change the first two facts in your favour…

Brexiteers Dismissive of “Facile” No-Brexit Plots

Backbench MPs have spent the weekend busy plotting how to hijack the Brexit process with the help of flagrant constitutional abuses from Speaker John Bercow. Nick Boles has now tabled an amendment this morning which would effectively legislate for a putsch by the 36-member Liaison Committee of backbench Select Committee Chairs. It is heavily Remain-dominated and chaired by Sarah Wollaston…

Wollaston herself and the Committee’s Vice Chair Pete Wishart have already dismissed it as a “daft suggestion” that “appears to have been developed with just 2 other MPs” and “isn’t going to happen”. As Cumberbatch said in Channel 4’s Brexit drama last week, the golden rule of a successful coup is making sure the military is actually on board in advance…

Brexiteers are similarly dismissive, with one senior MP describing the plan as “facile” and ERG supporters pointing out three major obstacles to a backbench coup. Firstly, any government expenditure, which would be necessary to implement any plan, would require a money resolution, which only a Minister can move. Would Bercow dare to tear this rule up too?

Secondly, they say that any effect on Crown prerogative, i.e. the Government’s ability to act as the executive, would require the Queen’s consent at Third Reading of a Bill. Thirdly, even if Parliament did contrive a viable route towards stopping Brexit, under the Fixed-Term Parliament Acts the Prime Minister still retains the power to prorogue Parliament, ending the current Parliamentary session and voiding any legislation in progress, thereby forcing no deal by default. This would be a nuclear option but the power to stop ‘no Brexit’ still remains in May’s hands…

Sarah Wollaston Calls For Confidence Vote

There’s being ‘independent minded’ and then there’s calling on the Opposition to force a vote of no confidence in the Government you purport to support. This comes after Wollaston placed herself to the left of John ‘I am a Marxist’ McDonnell on tax cuts, and indicated she would not vote for her Government’s own budget. Has Wollaston finally gone too far for the Whips’ Office..?

Wollaston Refuses to Vote For the Budget

‘Conservative’ MP Sarah Wollaston told LBC last night that she will not vote for the Government’s budget and will abstain instead. The NHS Doctor will therefore refuse to back an extra £394 million every week for the NHS, and has tweeted that she disagrees with the tax cuts that even John ‘I am a Marxist’ McDonnell supports.

Whether it’s abandoning manifesto commitments, marching for a second referendum, or trying to bring down the budget, Ms Wollaston spends more time attacking her government than supporting it. How much longer will the Tory whips put up with this?

Jezza Backs Sick Coffin Stunt Targetting Female Tory MP

Sick-minded Labour activists used a coffin in an intimidating publicity stunt targeting a female Tory MP this week – only to be backed by leader Jeremy Corbyn. Totnes Labour Party members paraded a coffin through the Devon town before leaving it outside Sarah Wollaston’s constituency office. Ostensibly, the march was a campaign on the NHS. But protest invoked the worst possible echoes…

Dr Wollaston said:

“The crass insensitivity of delivering a coffin effigy to a woman MP seems to have passed some people by. My office has already been repeatedly targeted with aggressive vandalism by those who can’t abide reasoned debate and want to make it harder for people to access their MP.”

Moderate Labour MP Ben Bradshaw tweeted supportively of her “Memo to any @UKLabour members at this event: @SarahWollaston fights tirelessly for NHS and Social Care as @CommonsHealth chair.” Advising them, “Next time, go canvassing.”

Guido understands Dr Wollaston and her staff were upset and distressed by the incident. A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said:

“Decisions about demonstrations and who carries them out are a matter for them.”

Thanks to Corbyn’s Labour, these disturbing mob tactics will soon be in your town…

Wollaston: Britons “Better Off Brexit”

sarah

Last night Guido revealed Sarah Wollaston was set to quit Vote Leave. This morning the career contrarian turned turncoat has confirmed she’s defecting to Remain. Above you can see her recent Twitter posts where she certainly gave the impression she was a committed outer. Just a couple of months ago Sarah said:

David Cameron was right that the EU will need further reform but if this is the best that can be grudgingly conceded when there is a serious risk of a British exit, what chance of any meaningful further reform if and when we are tied-in long term by the referendum? The proposed red card system to halt unwanted EU diktats will need a majority of other leaders in support…so it is vanishingly unlikely to be of use if future policies are imposed against our national interest.

Today she attacks the £350 million Vote Leave figure, which she has been vocally critical of before. Odd to say the least that she would suddenly use this as her excuse to change sides. There are rumours of another long-term “Eurosceptic” MP declaring for Remain today…

RUMOUR: Sarah Wollaston to Quit Vote Leave

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 20.34.54

Rumours are doing the rounds that Tory MP Sarah Wollaston is about to quit Vote Leave. The career contrarian is supposedly due to attack their £350 million figure – which oddly she has already criticised on numerous occasions before, so it’s strange she is suddenly upset about it. Her Euroscepticism must have been pretty thin if she’s wavering on this…

Europhile Wollaston Backs Brexit

The expected direction of travel for Tory MPs over the next few weeks is for some past Eurosceptics to sell out and suddenly decide that they want to remain in the EU. That is not the case for Sarah Wollaston. The maverick Tory backbencher is a wet on many issues and is a self-confessed Europhile. Yet Cameron’s failed renegotiation has driven her to back Brexit.

“The Prime Minister has set out the terms of his provisional deal with the leaders of our EU partners and it is a threadbare offering. What use are ’emergency breaks’ when the driver has no control or ‘red cards’ that have no credible chance of being deployed? Apart from a small concession on sham marriages, the truth is that the proposals will have no significant impact on our ability to limit inward migration from the EU. They will however, usher in rafts of bureaucratic cost and complexity with sliding scales for length of residency and nationality for child benefit.

David Cameron was right that the EU will need further reform but if this is the best that can be grudgingly conceded when there is a serious risk of a British exit, what chance of any meaningful further reform if and when we are tied-in long term by the referendum? The proposed red card system to halt unwanted EU diktats will need a majority of other leaders in support…so it is vanishingly unlikely to be of use if future policies are imposed against our national interest.”

Was it Cameron’s Calais scaremongering that pushed her over the edge? On Monday she tweeted this:

Either way, a devastating demolition of the PM’s renegotiation by a Europhile Tory backbencher who he should have been able to persuade. Dave’s deal is driving Europhiles to the Brexit door…

Sarah Wollaston at the Political Studies Association

Dr Sarah Wollaston on receiving her PSA Parliamentarian of the Year Award…

“So pleased to receive this award because most of my colleagues don’t think I know anything about politics.”

EXCLUSIVE: Evans Accuser Denies Witch-Hunt+ + Admits Witnesses Communicated Before Trial + ++ + Wollaston’s Role Laid Bare, Told ‘Victim’ to Press Charges + +

One of the claimants who accused Nigel Evans of sexual assault has given his first and only interview exclusively to this blog. Guido confronts the accuser with claims that he lied in court and colluded with others as part of a conspiracy to destroy the former deputy speaker.[…] Read the rest “EXCLUSIVE: Evans Accuser Denies Witch-Hunt+ + Admits Witnesses Communicated Before Trial + ++ + Wollaston’s Role Laid Bare, Told ‘Victim’ to Press Charges + +”

+ READ MORE +

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