LISTEN: Seb Payne’s Tory Candidacy Non-Denial

It may only be Seb Payne’s first week in the driver’s seat at Tory think tank Onward, although that hasn’t stopped the obvious speculation about what might come next. Appearing on Iain Dale’s All Talk podcast this week, Payne was noticeably evasive when questioned on what his long-term plans might well be. Arriving armed with “a variety of Boris Johnson-esque answers ready” to swat away the speculation – hint hint…

“…I think what I would say is I’ve got this really good opportunity at Onward, that is my singular focus at present. And who knows what the future will bring… I am fully focused on Onward…”

Dale wasn’t letting him off, with Payne eventually conceding “the reason that I’m saying what I’m saying, Iain, is because I have just started a new job, and talking about what I might do in the future is not helpful towards the new organisation.” He did at least add that when he ran to be college president at university, he used “No Payne, No Gain” as his slogan. Might come in handy again at some point…

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Onward and Upward for Seb Payne

When Guido heard the rumour a fortnight ago that one Seb Payne was trying for a seat at the next election, the party of his choosing was not hard to guess. It therefore makes complete sense that this morning he announces his move from His Majesty’s Financial Times to wet-centrist Tory think tank Onward. Its former director has just made a move into No. 10 as Rishi’s deputy chief of staff…

The press announcement this morning saw Payne hail his new outfit as “Westminster’s finest think tank”:

“Onward’s values are my values and I can’t wait to take up the mantle from the outstanding work done by Will [Tanner] and Adam [Hawksbee].”

Danny Finkelstein, chairman of Onward’s advisory board, says, “It is testimony to the quality and influence of Onward’s work that we have been able to attract such a prominent and respected centre-right journalist to this job.” Guido has asked Northumberland-native Seb whether he’s hoping for Hexham or Berwick in 2024…

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Sebastian Payne on Political Twitter

Sebastian Payne writes

“Almost nothing on Twitter really matters. The sooner Westminster realises it, the healthier politics will become.”

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Seb’s Got Daddy Issues

An amusing moment from Seb Payne’s book promotion event this afternoon, with Payne acknowledging his remarkable resemblance to the man sat on-stage opposite him: the Right Honourable Michael Gove MP. Speaking as the event kicked off, Payne quipped:

“I’m glad you changed your glasses as otherwise this would have looked like a father-son reunion.”

Are they even wearing the same tie?

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Payne to the Pink ‘Un

The Speccie’s all-round internet wizard Seb Payne is joining the FT as digital comment editor, heading up a complete revamp of their online comment. Best known for touring the country in his Mini during the election, Payne is an Islington new media darling with an encyclopedic knowledge of UKIP, and can probably now afford to pay his mechanic.

Worth watching how his sound political views fit in at the Pink ‘Un, Payne (left), starts in January. Congratulations…

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