Tories Divided Over Will Smith Oscar Slap

A new fault line is emerging in politics. Gone are the days of Leave or Remain; after the slap of the century at last night’s Oscars, you are now either Team Smith or Team Rock. SW1’s biggest hitters are already falling into their new tribes…

While Sir Keir announced on LBC he was in Rock’s corner, the Tories are still fighting it out. This morning North Dorset MP Simon Hoare claimed

“I’d just hope if someone thought it in good taste to make a joke at the expense of a medical condition of my wife then I’d get up and lamp him…”

Later on GB News, however, Westminster heavyweight Iain Duncan Smith clocked Hoare with an unexpected jab:

“Well, I’d find that an amusing sight to watch Simon Hoare… he doesn’t look to me like much of a pugilist, but anyway, the point I would simply say is… I don’t think anybody has the right to get up and hit anybody else, whatever the circumstances are… I wouldn’t recommend anybody takes action into their own hands…”

Nadhim Zahawi has also claimed his “heart goes out” to Will Smith, adding “it’s important not to allow yourself to cross [the] line.” Co-conspirators can weigh in on Guido’s poll. Meanwhile Westminster’s Punch and Judy politics rolls on…

UPDATE: Boris slaps down the Fresh Prince, his spokesperson telling the Lobby that “striking someone is never the answer”.

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Raab Denies Hoare’s Party Explanation

Most Tory MPs are keeping shtum, a couple are putting their heads above the parapet, only one is actively making the situation more difficult for No. 10: Simon Hoare. On Sky News this afternoon he informed viewers:

“This was a party organised to say, in the first instance, ‘welcome back PM’… it was also a way of saying thank you to Dominic Raab for holding the fort…”

Despite prefacing this seemingly new detail with “and this is sort of a third-hand understanding”, Simon didn’t think to double-check this fact with No. 10, nor the Deputy PM. Raab’s office has now had to formally deny this claim and say it is “categorically untrue – he wasn’t invited and didn’t attend”. Hoare’s intervention will no doubt have raabed Downing Street up the wrong way…

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Remainers Attempt to Scupper Trade Deal With Dodgy Claims

A rump of Remainers in Parliament spearheaded by Simon Hoare has proposed a host of wrecking amendments to the Agriculture Bill, which would serve to scupper new trade deals around the world that have been enabled by the UK’s exit from the EU. Many of the MPs involved are, unlike Hoare, not from rural constituencies and instead have a history of Brexit obstructionism. Hoare has been on his feet in the chamber this afternoon promoting the wrecking attempt…

These wrecking attempts have been bolstered by a proxy campaign from Friends of The Earth, who have instructed their obsessive troops to bombard MPs with a stock letter about the launch of trade talks with the US. As is to be expected, it contains misunderstanding, slight of hand, hyperbole, and outright falsehoods. Guido has helpfully trawled through and picked apart the points the letter makes…

Read More

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Simon Says

Bet he’s used that gag before…

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Dozen Tories Took £85,000 of Junkets to Riyadh in Last Year

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has just announced he is pulling out of the upcoming “Davos in the Desert” conference in Saudi Arabia next week after revelations that the country was behind the torture and killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This morning Guido revealed Tory Vice Chairman Rehman Chishti had received £46,000 from the Saudis, further research by Guido reveals that since 2017, 11 other Conservative MPs have declared all-expenses-paid trips to Saudi Arabia, funded by the Saudi government. These junckets are worth more than £85,000. Liam Fox will not be taking his planned trip to Saudi Arabia next week, but look at all the Tories who did…

  • Richard Bacon
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Alex Burghart
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Leo Docherty
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Mark Garnier
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • James Heappey
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • Simon Hoare
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Philip Hollobone
    • Trip to Saudi Arabia to understand the “strategic importance of the Coalition operations in Yemen.” 11-15 January 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Value: £8,257.
  • Mark Menzies
    • Visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. 24-29 September 2017. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,800.
  • Stephen Metcalfe
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802
  • Andrew Mitchell
    • Meetings with the Government of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. Paid for by the Saudi Government. 13-15 January 2018. Value: £6,629.67
  • Keith Simpson
    • “Fact finding” trip to Saudi Arabia. 11-15 February 2018. Paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Value: £7,802

Following their visits Mark Menzies warned Ministers to not be “put off by siren voices that want us to disengage” with Saudi export markets, and Leo Docherty called for further trade engagement with Saudi Arabia “the right thing to do not only commercially, but strategically and morally.” 

U.S. intelligence is now reportedly “convinced” the Saudi state is responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s worth keeping an eye on which MPs have been very quiet on this issue…

UPDATE: Bravo to Mark Menzies who has written a letter to the Foreign Secretary supporting a “thorough investigation”.

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Tory MP: SNP Don’t Know Their Rs from their Elbow

Tory MP Simon Hoare has an interesting perspective on the story that Scots are losing the distinctive rolling “R” from their accent.

“I listened with great attention Mr Deputy Speaker to the Scottish Nationalists this afternoon, ilistened with great attention because we are told in the press that they now can’t say their Rs. Well they can certainly say their Rs, but when it comes to welfare reform and economic management I’m afraid they don’t know their Rs from their elbow”

Cybernats will love that.

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