May: Attacker British-Born, Investigated By MI5 Years Ago

Theresa May tells the Commons the attacker’s identity was known to police and MI5. She says he was British-born and was investigated years ago by MI5 in relation to extremism. She says he was not in the “current intelligence picture”…

May on Westminster Attack

May Attacks Corbynistas’ Grammar Educations

Theresa May went ad hominem at PMQs, attacking Labour’s frontbench for pulling up the drawbridge. As Guido has noted previously:

  • Jeremy Corbyn – Attended a grammar school. His son went to a grammar school.
  • John McDonnell – Attended a grammar school.
  • Seumas Milne – Sent both his son and daughter to grammar schools.
  • Diane Abbott – Attended a grammar school and sent her son to a private school.
  • Jon Trickett – Attended a grammar school.
  • Grahame Morris – Attended a grammar school.
  • Paul Flynn – Attended a grammar school.

Another happy reader…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 John Mann (Bassetlaw) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 22 March.

02 Lucy Allan (Telford)

Q3 Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

04 Charlie Elphicke (Dover)

05 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North)

06 Sir Julian Brazier (Canterbury)

07 Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South)

08 Chris Evans (lslwyn)

09 Simon Hoare (North Dorset)

Q10 Pete Wishart(Perth and North Perthshire)

Q11 John Stevenson (Carlisle)

Q12 Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough)

Q13 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle)

Q14 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden)

Comments in the comments…

Get the Look: Theresa May’s £225 LK Bennett Dress in Vogue

Theresa May has been photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue, wearing a navy L.K. Bennnet dress. Guido reckons it is the ‘Saskia Sloane’, which you can buy for £225:

“Saskia means business. This Sloane-blue dress is a timeless office-to-evening essential. Its curved seam detailing will flatter the figure, while the capped sleeves and mid-length finish provide the perfect amount of coverage.”

Theresa has an L.K. Bennett discount card which she uses so much she has to declare it in her Register of Interests…

Oh and the top lines from the interview: she says she rows with husband Philip when she wants to watch crime drama NCIS, and says Donald Trump was being a gentleman when he held her hand. Read it here

May Launches “Plan For Britain” After Another Day of Dire Headlines

What do you do when your Chancellor is fighting for his political life and 13 of your MPs are facing CPS charging decisions and the possibility of election re-runs? What about throwing down the gauntlet to Nicola Sturgeon at lunchtime by rejecting IndyRef2, and then at tea time launching your “Plan for Britain”. Here it is…

UPDATE: Plan For Britain site down. Unfortunate. 

Theresa Deploys Philip May

In the month running up to the Copeland by-election, veterans at Tory HQ were surprised by the almost daily presence of one unusual visitor. Philip May, the PM’s husband, turned up to phone bank for Trudy Harrison nearly every day between 6pm and 8pm. “He was there at least 90% of the days for the last few weeks,” says a source, noting that by contrast Samantha Cameron would attend phone banks once or twice per by-election, usually just as a photo opportunity. A sign of how the Tories threw the kitchen sink at Copeland? Possibly, though there is more to it than that…

Theresa May’s inner circle comprises of just four people: the PM, her chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, and her husband. She trusts few outside that group. So, Tory insiders say, Theresa has deployed Philip as her political secret weapon: her personal focus group, amateur pollster and party mole. Those in the room estimate Philip spoke on the phone to more than a thousand Copeland voters and believe the PM used him to gauge opinion, rather than rely on the professional pollsters who let down her predecessor. “He was her personal focus group for voters because she trusts no one else,” says a Tory source. He phone banked assiduously in the Sleaford by-election as well.

There was of course another benefit to having Philip in CCHQ – he could report back on which Cabinet ministers and MPs were pulling their weight. Tories say the proof that Philip is being used as a serious political operative is the fact that his phone banking exploits have not been briefed out to the media, as was the norm with SamCam. An insight into how few people the PM keeps close, and how important those few are…

May: Now is Not the Time for #indyref2

May speaks and says ‘not now’, i.e. not before Brexit is complete. Nats meltdown in 3, 2, 1…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 15 March.

Q2 Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth)

Q3 Jeremy Quin (Horsham)

Q4 Mike Weir (Angus)

Q5 Mr Andrew Turner

Q6 Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen)

Q7 Mrs Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet)

Q8 Will Quince (Colchester)

Q9 Callum McCaig (Aberdeen South)

Q10 Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle)

Q11 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)

Q12 Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)

Q13 Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire)

Q14 Hannah Bardell (Livingston)

Comments in the comments…

When Will Article 50 Be Triggered?

Theresa May’s spokesman asked when Article 50 will be triggered:

“By the end of March is by the end of March.”

May: “Royal Assent in Coming Days”

Taking her time…

Downing Street: Article 50 Triggered at “End” of March

So much for all those newspaper stories guesstimating that Article 50 would be triggered tomorrow – a “government source” is briefing various political editors that it won’t happen this week or next. A Number 10 spokesman claims they always said it would be at the “END” of March, their capital letters. (They’ve actually previously said “by the end”). Was this the plan all along? Or bounced into it by Sturgeon this morning?

May Says No

Theresa May pretty clear the government opposes a second Scottish referendum:

“Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish Government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote. The evidence clearly shows that a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum. Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.”

One whopping problem for the Nats if they get their referendum in 2018/19 and the Scots vote for independence. The whole point is that they want to stay in the EU, but an independent Scotland would not be allowed to, it would have to reapply. Which means years outside the EU and adopting the Euro. Almost as if the Nats know the Tories won’t let them have a referendum during the Brexit negotiations and are just using this to shore up the Yes vote…

Number 10 Blaming Number 11, Number 11 Blaming Number 10

Treasury sources tell Newsnight’s Nick Watt that “Number 10 just wants to spend money” and that “some of the senior political advisers around the Prime Minister have anti-Tory ideas about raising taxes”. They say Hammond had to fight against May and claim she wanted to raise Capital Gains Tax and NICs for higher-rate taxpayers. Meanwhile there is pushback from Number 10 in the Times, which quotes a source saying of Team Hammond: “They just forgot the manifesto”. Trouble…

May: Hiking NI Taxes is Fair and Progressive

If voters wanted fair and progressive that was the offer in the LibDem manifesto.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

May Takes Hammer to Four Tory Manifesto Promises

Theresa May and Philip Hammond are breaking four key 2015 manifesto promises:

Pledge: No rise in National Insurance contributions.

May / Hammond: National Insurance rise for self-employed.

Broken.

Pledge: Eliminate the deficit and start running a surplus in 2018-19.

May / Hammond: Deficit due to be eliminated in 2025/26.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Tory Commissioned Polling Showed Keeping Promises Key Desire of Voters

Theresa May’s spokesman has spent the morning awkwardly dodging questions about whether she believes politicians should keep their promises. The PM and Chancellor have forgotten the key lesson delivered to them by David Cameron after the 2015 election. In the days after the Tory victory, Cameron convened two meetings, one with the Cabinet and one with Tory MPs in Portcullis House.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

May Opposed National Insurance Rise in 2010

Awkward…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

PMQs & Budget Double Bill


Jeremy Corbyn kicked PMQs off today by bragging about his party’s impeccable record on gender equality, boasting more women MPs than all other parties in this House combined”. One of which he’d even bonked himself and then promoted to the front bench![…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

May’s Weird Shoulder Laugh


Jeremy Corbyn somehow manages to blaze the Surrey council open goal over the bar at PMQs. And Theresa May is loving it…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tobias Ellwood speaks following his efforts to save PC Keith Palmer last week:

“I am heartbroken that I could not do more for PC Keith Palmer who gave his life in holding the line against terrorism and defending democracy. I shall be writing to the family of PC Palmer to offer my sincere condolences. My thoughts remain with his family and friends and with the loved ones of all those who were killed or injured in such a despicable act of terror.

I am deeply humbled and overwhelmed by the messages of support. I played only a small part that day, doing what I was taught to do, and am honoured to have been invited to join the Privy Council afterwards. It is right that we concentrate our thoughts on the victims as we stand side by side to protect all that we hold dear, including our precious values and way of life which will always prevail.

As the Prime Minister said in her statement to Parliament last Thursday – “We are not afraid. And our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”

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