Steve Baker has disbanded the ERG Members WhatsApp group chat this afternoon, booting out MPs one by one as the most “expedient” way to relinquish ownership of the group. Baker says reports he’d claimed “Brexit is done” are inaccurate – he’s just sunsetting the chat group he created. So long…
Baker tells Guido:
“It was expedient to give up ownership of the ERG Members’ WhatsApp group I created by removing everyone before deleting it. As I said to the group, I am sure the present officers will wish to recreate it.”
No word yet on whether the remaining members have resurrected the group elsewhere…
UPDATE: Guido hears a new, Baker-free chat has now been formed and members are being re-added. The ERG is dead, long live the ERG.
Jacob Rees-Mogg on Sky News, reacting to Steve Baker claiming Boris is about to become a “pound-shop Nigel Farage“:
“I would take that as a great compliment. I would like to be the Woolworths of Nigel Farages.”
After seeing Steve Baker’s personal testimony in favour of Rishi’s NI Protocol deal, based on his own struggles with mental health, Jolyon Maugham reacted exactly how an uncaring, brain-poisoned partisan, devoid of self-awareness would. He re-posted the video, downplayed Steve’s experience and took the opportunity to have a dig at the Northern Ireland minister – and Brexit.
Before Brexit, immensely damaging to millions of families, Baker told MPs he had found a loophole in electoral law (spoiler: he hadn't) enabling him to spend as much as needed to win. He cheated. Forgive me if I don't care about his 'mental health crisis.' pic.twitter.com/NPAPebe0zb— Jo Maugham (@JolyonMaugham) February 27, 2023
Jolyon was quick to get across that he didn’t care about Baker’s battle with mental health. He even made sure to put the phrase “mental health crisis” in inverted commas – of course carrying the implication that he took Steve’s testimony as less than genuine.
What makes the matter worse is that Jolyon has been a vocal campaigner on mental health. He’s spoken about his own experience with depression and the importance of “destigmatising” the condition
“I’ve suffered from depression in the past. More recently I’ve learned the importance of looking after my mental health. Talking about the importance of good mental health, destigmatising depression, is so important.”
Steve Baker seems to have a way for bringing out the hypocrisy of London’s Remainer elites.
Another day without any movement on Northern Ireland. The PM is set to spend another day having private meetings with eurosceptic backbenchers in an effort to win support, while the notorious ERG agitate amid lacking DUP support.
The big news this morning is that several ministers have been placed on resignation watch, according to The Times and Newsnight, with Steve Baker chief among those in the spotlight. Suella is also being spoken about, though Bloomberg is told she won’t be resigning.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, meanwhile, tells the Conservative Home Moggcast that the PM’s strategy is very similar to that of Theresa May’s.
“I don’t know why so much political capital has been spent on something without getting the DUP and the ERG onside first.
It’s quite surprising because this is very similar to what happened with Theresa May: a story would appear in The Times and Downing Street would say ‘no this isn’t quite right, this isn’t at all right’, and then a week or two would go by and it would turn out to be completely right and they would hope people would just conveniently fall in behind the announced policy. And life doesn’t work like that.
It’s important to get support for it first before you finalise the details and that doesn’t seem to have been done here.”
The ERG are very much on board with the Boris/Suella argument that the PM should press ahead with the NI Protocol Bill, which was started by Boris Johnson who actually had a mandate both from the electorate and the Tory members. James Cleverly is up in front of the 1922 tomorrow evening. Given the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion on Friday, this whole shebang may very well slip into next week at this rate…
Steve Baker has revealed he suffered a mental health “crisis” in November 2021, while visiting to a mental health service provider in Northern Ireland. Opening up, he admitted he suffered the breakdown last year and is “still recovering from anxiety and depression”:
“…I had a mental health crisis last November, and I’m still recovering from anxiety and depression. Secondly, you won’t always spot a friend or somebody you love or a colleague is suffering. I had a mental health crisis in the morning, and in the afternoon I gave a big keynote speech.”
Guido presumes the keynote speech in question was one given to the Hansard Society on November 2nd. You wouldn’t have known…
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been freed from the burden of collective responsibility and is back to doing what he does best: criticising government from the backbenches. Speaking to Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News last night, the former Business Secretary spoke out against fiscal drag and the absence of commitments on efficiency reforms. He added he was “simply making the case for conservatism”.
Unsurprisingly, Krishnan then asked about the prospect of re-joining the EU, citing OBR figures on the impact of Brexit. Jacob rightly pointed out that economic forecasts are often inaccurate, before saying Krishnan was “Just like Nicola Sturgeon” for seeking to go back on referendum results. He then reminded Krishnan of his expletive antics and commended the fact he made an apology. Krishnan was able to get through this interview without resorting to abuse. Clearly his time off has done wonders for his temperament.
Since last night Jeremy Hunt did have time to react to criticism from the right. Speaking to Sky News this morning Hunt said:
“There is nothing conservative about spending money you haven’t got. There is nothing conservative about not tackling inflation. There is nothing conservative about ducking difficult decisions… and that’s why this is a very conservative package”
If he says so…