LibDem co-conspirators in Sutton tell Guido the party mass produced a glossy leaflet designed for mail drops before the local election spending period. Having stockpiled the expensive leaflets, the LibDems only started to deliver them once the controlled spending period had started. Doh!
To make matters worse, official council email addresses appeared on the leaflets, rather than political ones. They have had to suspend their council email accounts and thousands of the flyers face being pulped…
The brains behind the campaign? It’s being run out of Tom Brake’s office. This morning Brake tweeted “check out Sutton LibDems. I just joined” – before deleting it. A hat-trick of campaign cock ups enhances Brake’s reputation for competence once again…
This is what the LibDems said when Andrea Leadsom called on the media to be more patriotic:
“This is a sinister threat to the free media. How dare Andrea Leadsom tell the press what they should think, this isn’t a George Orwell book. She needs to apologise for these comments and realise what she said was frankly stupid.”
Yet today top LibDem Tom Brake says the right-wing press
“… Don’t have the patriotism or honesty to point out the failings of a Conservative govt. and its approach to Brexit.”
So when Brexiteers call for patriotic coverage they’re “a sinister threat to the free media” but when Tom Brake does it it’s fine?
For the past few months it has become clear that certain members of the politico-media bubble have been undergoing a Brexit induced breakdown. The Remainiac bug is spreading – even some Remainers who were previously worth listening to have started to sound like tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists. It falls upon Guido to stage a public intervention for their own good. Our list does not merely include ultra-Remainers who might be irritating but have kept their marbles. These are the 10 people who have been truly driven off the deep end by Brexit…
- AC Grayling – Where else to begin? Grayling has become Twitter’s nutty professor, every day pumping out increasingly unhinged anti-Brexit diatribes. Some highlights include labelling Brexiteers “vermin“, seeking a general strike to oppose Brexit, claiming “90% of informed opinion” is against Brexit, alleging other ultra-Remainers were being “silenced” by forces of the state, and arguing that the Tory government is “alt-right”. Grayling is alt-reality.
- Andrew Adonis – Every day he tweets about “stopping” or “halting” Brexit, which he calls “self-mutilation”. Some of his more vitriolic attacks are reserved for fellow Remainers who he reckons have sold out, he claims for example that Brexit is being driven by a “David Davis-Keir Starmer axis”. Peak Adonis was when he wrote to Lord Hall demanding the BBC sack Andrew Neil. Remarkably he still has a government job…
- Ben Bradshaw – Bradshaw has taken to tweeting out Louise Mensch blog posts citing “multiple sources with links to UK intelligence” who apparently say the referendum should be voided due to Russian intervention. Yesterday he tweeted that it was time for the Tories “to come clean about extent of Kremlin’s reach into heart of Government”. Friends don’t let friends retweet Louise Mensch.
- Carole Cadwalladr – Cadwalladr appears to genuinely believe Brexit was a Russian plot, she has claimed the Leave campaign used psy-ops to hoodwink voters and doesn’t appear to realise she is being elaborately trolled by Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore who have christened her “Carole Codswallop”. Last night she suggested lifelong Eurosceptic Michael Gove only backed Vote Leave on the orders of the Legatum Institute, who she reckons are agents of Putin. It’s so ridiculous even Newsnight have taken the piss. The Observer’s continued indulging of her conspiracy theories seems almost exploitative.
- Tim Walker – The waspish former diary columnist delights in dishing out snark, but thin-skinned Tim can’t take it when his conspiratorial babble is called out. The former Telegraph man turned freelancer and New European contributor reckons “Putin will continue to govern this country through stupid, weak, vain, greedy politicians so long as we, the people, are prepared to sit back and let him”. Cuckoo.
- Jolyon Maugham – Twitter’s most attention-seeking QC once said he considers it an honour that he is known as “the biggest c**t at the English bar”. Brexit has turned him mad as well as bad. Just read how nasty Maugham was to the genial Danny Finkelstein about Article 50. And who can forget the time he decided to set up a new political party to fight Brexit. Always a telltale sign of a Brexdown.
- Jeremy Cliffe – Talking of which, the Economist’s Berlin correspondent started The Radicals, seriously pledging to reverse Brexit, join the Euro, join the EU army and make Ken Clarke the next European Commission president. He quit the party after 12 hours following an all-staff internal email bollocking from his bosses. The Economist’s embarrassment was the happiest the FT newsroom has been all year.
- Liam Byrne – Byrne is partly responsible for setting off the Russia conspiracy theorists (and the Mail on Sunday), demanding a “US-style judge-led inquiry” in response to a Louise Mensch blog. He’s tweeted out crank articles quoting intelligence “sources” saying the referendum will need to be re-run. He’s in danger of going the full Bradshaw. And Liam, we really need to talk about the beard.
- Tom Brake – There has always been something of the night about Tom Brake, and the mood of parliament’s most humourless MP has not been helped by Brexit. When he’s not complaining to Bercow about Guido, Brake is making a fool of himself about Legatum. LibDem press officers play a game where they compete to put the most OTT lines into his press releases, knowing Brake will never tell them to tone it down.
- Alastair Campbell – Okay so he always was a few billion short of a trade deal, but Bad Al is really not taking things well at the moment. He calls Leavers “Brextremists”, compared them to jihadists and even launched into a xenophobic rant against Gisela Stuart. He’s not gone in for the Putin stuff to be fair. Though that’s possibly more to do with his own Russia Today appearances.
Guido wishes them well and looks forward to their post-Brexit recovery in April 2019…
Last month LibDem Tom Brake tabled an Early Day Motion on air pollution. It specifically called on government to end subsidies for ‘red diesel’ (red-dyed, lower VAT diesel that is meant for use in agricultural machinery rather than cars):
“That this House notes the Government’s plans to tackle Britain’s air pollution crisis and improve air quality…further notes that reduced duty red diesel for certain uses costs HM Treasury £2.4 billion annually; believes that subsidising red diesel also inhibits the Government’s plans to support the take-up of cleaner technologies and tackle air pollution effectively…”
In Brake’s Carshalton and Wallington constituency there are proposals to build a giant rubbish incinerator. Brake’s website proudly trumpets his support for the incinerator in a lengthy defence of the project. There’s just one thing: the proposed incinerator will burn 2,000 tonnes of red diesel per year (in order for the internal temperature to reach the necessary levels). A co-conspirator writes: “If Mr Brake is so keen on cutting the use of red diesel and air pollution, why has he supported the Viridor Incinerator?”. Guido has written previously about murkiness with Brake and Viridor. His Carshalton constituency is a real rotten borough, this is the tip of the iceberg…
Last night Tom Brake complained to Bercow that he suspects DExEU leaked to this website a letter he wrote to David Davis. It’s clearly hurting Brake as he brought it up in the Commons again at DExEU questions this afternoon. DD comprehensively slapped him down, replying that the first DExEU heard about the letter was when a journalist called them up asking for comment. In other words, Brake leaked his own letter to the press first. A row entirely concocted by Brake, who is not only wasting everyone’s time to serve his own bitterness but also misleading the House…
Tom Brake has gone crying to Bercow after his letter to David Davis last week was published by Guido. In a point of order yesterday Brake whinged:
“On Friday I emailed the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union’s office at eight minutes past 12. It was acknowledged by his office at 21 minutes past 12, and by 15.03 precisely my letter was on Guido Fawkes’s website.”
Except there is one embarrassing bit of information that Brake didn’t tell Mr Speaker. The first DExEU heard of his letter was when newspapers started calling them up for comment. Which means Brake leaked his own letter to the press first. Bercow might be no fan of Guido, but he won’t take kindly to being misled by Brake either…
Guido knows poor old Tom Brake has been driven mad by Brexit. But this letter he has written to David Davis complaining about meetings between DExEU officials and the Legatum Institute is hysterical even by his standards. Brake fumes:
“I am writing to you following information I received that the Legatum Institute has had multiple meetings with officials from the Department for Exiting the European Union. Following an FOI request, it was revealed that the Legatum Institute has had six meetings with your department in the last twelve months. Six meetings, with a little known think-tank, in the middle of Brexit negotiations, when many companies severely affected by Brexit will not have had anything like that level of access is astounding… it is clear that the Legatum Institute has a reputation for advocating for a Hard Brexit. Please confirm what level of dialogue your Department had with think tanks which advocate a softer form of Brexit during that same period.”
So Brake thinks Legatum are “Hard Brexit” baddies and that giving them access is “astounding“? He should probably tell his fellow LibDem Paddy Ashdown, who attends roundtable discussions at Legatum. Or LibDem peer Baroness Bowles, who sat on a Legatum panel a few weeks ago. The long list of other prominent Remainers who have “given access” to Legatum recently include Andrew Adonis, the government’s infrastructure commission chief who is one of the chief opponents of Brexit. Are they all part of some sinister Brexiteer conspiracy? Tin foil hat time for Tom…
74 year-old Vince Cable has announced he is running for LibDem leader. Ming Campbell was 66 when he was forced out because he was too old…
Tom Brake has suggested that he is out of the running, tweeting: “Thanks for your kind words of support & encouragement, but my focus remains on local issues & serving the people of Carshalton & Wallington”. Cable, Davey and Lamb left. The field narrows…
The bookies’ favourite Jo Swinson has decided not to stand, noting “most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot”. Indeed she has a point, the remaining field is a bunch of boring bald, grey or balding, grey blokes ready to lead the LibDems into mediocrity.
- Norman Lamb: The new bookies’ favourite, probably because he has been so loudly taking soundings about whether he should run.
- Sir Ed Davey: LibDems are increasingly tipping Davey as the most likely next leader. Has a growing online band of supporters sharing stories about how he saved a woman’s life. Wants it badly.
- Sir Vince Cable: Now the third favourite, Vince’s odds have moved out over the last few days as LibDems look for a younger option. Though his supporters will argue Swinson stepping aside could see him as a two-year caretaker option.
- Tom Brake: Not grey or bald but human beige. Still hasn’t ruled himself out. Probably should.
At least Swinson would have been a relative breath of fresh air.
The LibDems have 12 MPs, and it is entirely possible a third of the parliamentary party could put themselves forwards as leadership candidates to replace Tim Farron. And there will be more knights running than women. Guido brings you your runners and riders…
- Jo Swinson: The early favourite. Won her seat back in East Dunbartonshire, at 37 her allies say she is the youngest, freshest candidate and more exciting than Vince Cable, who would take the party “from Dad to Grandad“. But are the LibDems ready for a woman leader?
- Sir Vince Cable: He has always harboured ambitions and his allies say he could be an interim “Brexit leader” who would run the party for two years before stepping aside and allowing Swinson to fight an election. Though Vince has gone a bit funny recently, his Diane Abbott moment during the campaign will not inspire the confidence of members.
- Sir Ed Davey: No secret he’s always fancied the job, he began scheming against Farron as soon as he won his seat back. His irritable personality isn’t exactly endearing and he was the Energy Secretary who struck the “worst ever” deal for Hinckley Point, and then took a job as a paid lobbyist for a firm representing the successful bidder. Is that really the sort of person the LibDems want?
- Norman Lamb: Held his seat against the odds and now the bookies make him second favourite to be leader. Last night he told Question Time that he was thinking about running. Seems a more decent bloke than some of the others on this list, though that isn’t hard. Sensible enough to defy Farron and abstain on the Article 50 vote rather than vote against.
- Tom Brake: Tipped by the Guardian to the amusement of LibDem colleagues. He is known in LibDem circles as “human beige”. Mired in all sorts of murky goings on in his rotten borough of Carshalton. Those local stories would soon go national if he were leader.
- Alastair Carmichael: Proven liar, but since when has that ever stopped a LibDem? Has ruled himself out.
What a choice…
Why has Tom Brake taken the unusual step of praising his “apprentice” by name in the Commons? Last month the LibDem MP told the House he “should like to start by paying tribute to my apprentice, Callum Morton”. What he didn’t mention is that Morton is also one of the councillors who signed off on a very fishy million pound discount for a company of which Brake is a trustee. Perhaps Morton deserved the tribute for his other hard work down in Carshalton?
Or not – Morton managed just a 53% attendance record for the last year, which is the poorest of any local councillor including those with serious illness. Still, kind of an MP to namecheck the man who rubber-stamped a million pound deal for a company of which he is a trustee…
Eco-hypocrite Tom Brake has finally proffered a explanation as to why he was caught with the lights on at his Sutton home during Earth Hour. This was despite having told his constituents to “turn off their lights or show their support for the future of this planet in any other way on the 19th at 8.30pm.” Speaking to the Sutton Guardian, Brake gave them this classic:
“I never said I was going to take part in Earth Hour.”
The glorious Sutton Guardian article goes on:
‘Mr Brake added he “wasn’t able to turn the lights off at this time,” but declined to elaborate.
He would not confirm whether he had been watching rugby during the switch-off, which coincided with England clinching the Six Nations grand slam.’
“Do as I say, not as I do…”
Yet another example of glaring eco-hypocrisy from Tom Brake. The LibDem MP spent the past few weeks loudly promoting Earth Hour, a green initiative where the whole world supposedly turns their lights off for an hour. Here’s what Brake was preaching in the run up:
“It is crucial that we work towards a sustainable future and make the environment a priority. I encourage residents of Carshalton and Wallington to turn off their lights or show their support for the future of this planet in any other way on the 19th at 8.30pm.”
Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that Brake’s enthusiasm for saving the planet extended to him actually turning his own lights out. A co-conspirator took the above shot of Brake’s pad at on Saturday evening – right in the middle of the rugby and during Earth Hour. Of course it could be that the lights are on but nobody’s home. Something many have said about Tom Brake…
Readers who have been following Guido’s stories about the rotten borough of Sutton will be aware of the stink around LibDem MP Tom Brake. Ecolocal, the prominent environmental charity of which Brake is a trustee, was oddly silent about plans to build a 300,000 tonne a year incinerator in the borough. Their silence is even more bizarre given Brake has spoken out in the past condemning “Toxic” incinerators. Something just doesn’t add up…
Brake insists he does not have a relationship with Viridor, the company which landed the £1 billion incinerator contract:
So it must be pure coincidence that two of Brake’s most significant financial sponsors, John and Elaine Drage, have confirmed they are lifelong friends of the former Viridor CEO Colin Drummond. Cosy.
Not only that, Brake’s election agent and donor Elaine is godmother to one of the Viridor chief’s sons. Very cosy.
And who attended the £75-a-head fundraiser Brake held back in March? Only two senior Viridor officials.
Tom Brake says he doesn’t have a “relationship with Viridor”, he just takes money from their mates and invites them to his parties…
Down in the rotten borough of Sutton, the Tom Brake-linked environmental charity Ecolocal has been silent on plans to build a giant incinerator in the borough. Incinerator operators Viridor will be allowed to burn rubbish for 25 years with a taxpayer-funded contract worth £1 billion. Ecolocal is the premier environmental organisation in the borough, yet they were oddly silent.
Well, Brake himself certainly hasn’t been silent, at least not about this specific incinerator. In 2001, the Carshalton MP railed against incinerators in the Guardian, highlighting the potential for corporations to misuse them for profit, and their negative effects on air quality:
“big incinerator plants are more attractive to investors than small-scale recycling projects…Unless the government starts to tackle the problem of rising waste levels, there will be a dramatic increase in the number of incinerators. My guess is that we will end up with 60 to 70 incinerators under existing government policy… We don’t know all the health implications that result from incineration, but the release of dioxins is clearly a serious problem. Toxic ash from incinerators has turned up in some weird and wonderful places, including on farms as compost-type material.”
Brake certainly wasn’t a fan of incinerators back in the day, so why has the eco charity of which he is a trustee been so quiet about a plan to build one the size of Big Ben in his own borough? Curious…
Readers will be well aware of the stench coming from the rotten borough of Sutton, where the LibDem council gave a £1 million discount to a company of which neighbouring MP Tom Brake is a trustee and unpaid director. Ecolocal, an environmental charity based in the borough, won its £600,000 bid for the historic local Lodge building, despite the council’s own valuations estimating it to be worth £1.5-1.7 million. That’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Before Ecolocal was awarded the discount, the eco-charity was oddly quiet about controversial plans to build a 300,000 tonne a year incinerator in the borough. Incinerator operators Viridor will be allowed to burn rubbish for 25 years with a taxpayer-funded contract worth £1 billion. Ecolocal is the premier environmental organisation in the borough, yet they were strangely silent. Surely they would have something to say?
The Brake-linked charity says its primary aim is to “help people move toward more pro-environmental behaviours”, yet had no comment about plans to build one of London’s largest waste incinerators inside their borough. Coincidentally they were then awarded a £1 million discount by the LibDem council, voted through by two of Brake’s own staff. Local councillor Nick Mattey says:
“Ecolocal would commit financial suicide if they criticised any element of the LibDem’s ‘environmental policy’. If the LibDems suggested that setting light to Battersea dogs home was green Ecolocal would stay mute.”
Curiouser and curiouser…
More revelations coming out of the rotten borough of Sutton, and its dealings with Ecolocal, an environmental firm linked to the Carshalton MP Tom Brake. Guido has unearthed that not only did the firm receive £34,400 in 2014/15, but it was also paid another £49,959 by the Lib Dem council through EcoLocal Services Ltd. This brings the total paid by the council directly to the company to £84,359 for the year. That sort of money can buy a lot of cycle couriers…
Guido can understand why some in Sutton are outraged at the cash being chucked at the firm, with the council cutting £1 million from its library budget. Guido wonders if Ecolocal will put in a bid to cycle-courier the books out of the closing libraries?
Guido has done a bit more digging on Ecolocal, the environmental company of which LibDem MP Tom Brake is a director. It turns out that LibDem-controlled Sutton council haven’t only agreed to sell a historic local building to the firm for a million pound discount, they have also been funding it to the tune of £34,400 between April 2014 and January 2015 alone.[…] Read the rest