Tory Members Would Rather See Scotland Leave and the Party Destroyed than Lose Brexit

The latest YouGov polling of Tory members lays bare just how deep their commitment to Brexit now is. By a margin of over 30%, Tory members would still want Brexit to happen even if it meant Scotland or Northern Ireland leaving the UK or significant damage to the economy. A net 18% are still in favour of Brexit even if it destroys the Conservative (and Unionist) Party. The only scenario that Tory members wouldn’t countenance as the price of Brexit is Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister…

However, as LBC’s Theo Usherwood points out, the raw numbers don’t take into account the likelihood of each event taking place. Tory members are more likely to be blasé about the first four scenarios as they don’t see a realistic prospect of them happening either way. The threat from Corbyn and McDonnell is much more tangible…

It isn’t purely an ideological calculation, the members also think it is their best route to electoral success. Over 50% believe that not delivering Brexit would damage the Tories so badly they would never lead a government again – a huge 92% overall believe it would lead to defeat at the next election. Conversely, a clear majority believe that delivering Brexit – both with or without a deal – will win the Tories the next election. 68% say it would be unacceptable for the next leader to be a Remainer who won’t leave without a deal, bad luck Rory…

Parliament to Debate EU’s Meaty Names Ban

The House of Lords will tomorrow morning quiz experts about the EU’s proposal to ban words associated with meat to describe vegetarian food. The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, chaired by former Lib Dem MEP Lord Teverson, will discuss whether the ban would be “in the interest of consumers.” The proposal would forbid the words “steak”, “sausage”, “escalope”, “burger”, or “hamburger” from being used to advertise non-meat products…

Guido is not generally a fan of meat substitutes, however this seems to be another example of over-regulation by the EU, if producers want to call bean patties “bean burgers”, so be it. No harm in it, unless you are a French farmer…

The Vegan Society, which will give evidence to the committee on the issue hit out at the EU proposal saying is “has little to do with consumer protection and instead is motivated by economic concerns of the meat industry. Trying to ban widely-used, conventional phrases describing vegan products is anti-competitive and unfair, whilst there is no evidence that consumers find them confusing.” The EU pushing anti-competitive policies to defend big agri-businesses from market competition? Bring on Brexit…

“What Should We Have Wanted…”

Guido was pretty much alone in saying Andrea Leadsom would be better than Theresa May before May’s coronation and afterwards.

Now look, YouGov’s polling of Tory party members shows they wish they had in hindsight chosen Leadsom. Told you so…

Tom Watson’s U-Turn on Bad Al’s Brexit Agenda

Tom Watson has been making a full-throated case for remaining in the EU this morning at the sycophantic pro-EU think tank Centre for European Reform. Guido couldn’t help but remember this memorable clash between Watson and Alastair Campbell just last May. Watson tears into Bad Al for not respecting the Brexit vote and repeatedly mocks the fact he no longer decides Labour policy:

“We have to listen to the whole of the British people on this Alastair and we’ve got to make sure that we honour them by saying we’re coming out of the EU…”

“What I’m saying is: you no longer decide Labour Party policy… I know you’d like to, I know they don’t pay you a lot of money as the editor of the New European…”

Campbell might have been unceremoniously shown the exit door from Labour, its Deputy Leader doesn’t seem to mind him setting the agenda again…

Brady Resurfaces With Fresh Call to Bin the Backstop

Guido can shed some new light on the curious case of the disappearing 1922 Committee Chairman – Graham Brady has finally resurfaced several weeks after disappearing without trace following his bizarre decision to ‘recuse’ himself from the Committee to launch his own abortive leadership bid. Not a single MP came forward in his support, Guido can’t even remember him making the case for himself…

Now Brady has popped up in the foreword to the latest Policy Exchange paper by Lord Bew on the Irish backstop, calling for the next Tory leader to drop the backstop. As Brady points out, the only Brexit option to ever command a majority in the House of Commons was the deal with his amendment calling for alternative arrangements replacing the backstop. The EU are the ones chasing unicorns if they think a deal with the backstop is ever getting through…

Eurozone Industrial Production Slumps Second Month in a Row

Three smug eurocrats have been gloating about Brexit and the Tory leadership race in a Sky News segment which Sky have inexplicably been playing on repeat all day. Not exactly news.

They won’t be as smug when they see the latest Eurozone industrial figures. Industrial production fell 0.5% in April on top of a 0.4% drop in March. Dragging every other country down was Germany which saw its industrial production plummet by 2.3% – almost five times faster than the Eurozone as a whole. Brussels’ Brexit bluster is going to start looking pretty hollow if the Eurozone’s economic woes keep getting worse like this…

Channel 4 News Blame Brexit For Sliding Viewing Figures

Guido readers will be dismayed to learn that the viewing figures for Channel 4 News tumbled 9% year-on-year in 2018. Channel 4’s overall viewing figures also took a hit among young and minority viewers. How will Jon Snow cope?

In its annual report, Channel 4 blamed “a number of factors including change in TV viewing habits, our overall reach being down, increased competition from other news programmes and ‘Brexit fatigue’.” Nothing to do with the endless stream of turgid anti-Brexit programming of dodgy ‘whistleblowers’, 5-part ‘exposés’ of Arron Banks that go nowhere, or ‘revelations’ that Nigel Farage has a car and a security guard…

Labour Launch Fresh Parliamentary Coup Attempt to Frustrate Brexit

As expected, Labour are using their opposition day debate tomorrow to try to lay the groundwork to tie Theresa May’s successor’s hands before May has even left Downing Street. Keir Starmer will use exactly the same technique as the Benn-Cooper-Letwin coup by tabling a cross-party motion for tomorrow which will hand Labour control of the Parliamentary timetable on Tuesday 25th of June. They can then use this day to try to ram through a Bill to frustrate the new Prime Minister’s attempts to force through Brexit before they take office…

The UK’s parliamentary democracy rests on the principle that the Government can command a stable majority in the House of Commons. Labour cobbling together an ad-hoc coalition to temporarily take on the powers of Government with none of the accountability undermines the UK’s constitution as much as a Prime Minister proroguing Parliament would. It is increasingly looking like the new Tory leader will need to fight a general election just to get Brexit through, whoever they are…

Labour’s motion is signed by Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Blackford, Sir Vince Cable, Liz Saville-Roberts, Oliver Letwin, Caroline Lucas, and Nick Brown.

UPDATE: Guido asked Michael Gove’s team if he would continue to accept Letwin’s support, but a campaign source said “All leadership candidates will need to win support of colleagues across the party. Michael has always been clear that no deal must remain on the table.”

Read the full motion below:

Continue reading

EU Drawing Up Plans for Tech Solutions on Irish Border

The EU have been doing their bit to try to influence the Tory leadership race, insisting that they will not be changing any of the terms of the Brexit deal for any new Prime Minister who comes in. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why the EU would rather have a new Prime Minister who comes in and accepts everything they say rather than demanding changes…

Behind closed doors it’s a different story, The Sun revealed this morning that the EU is fact working on no deal contingency plans to use IT solutions to help goods cross the Irish border after Brexit. That wasn’t so hard after all, was it?

EU officials are still insisting that IT solutions won’t be enough to manage all the border issues. This is missing the point, of course no deal is not the optimum scenario if the EU won’t compromise on a deal then they will be the ones facing the choice of whether to respond to no deal in a pragmatic way, or a disruptive way. Taking no deal off the table is ultimately what destroyed Theresa May’s negotiation attempts and killed her premiership, if her successor does the same they will suffer the same fate…

UPDATE: It’s also good news for Sajid Javid who pledged to pay the EU “hundreds of millions” to help them develop tech solutions. He won’t need to bill the British taxpayer now the ever-generous EU are doing it for him…

28% of Labour Members Voted Against Labour in Euro Elections

Fascinating polling of LabourList readers this morning, they asked Did you vote against Labour in the European elections?

28% of Labour members voted against their own party in the recent European elections, the LabourList poll of 9,286 respondents found.

The swing of traditional voters from the Tories and Labour was more pronounced than ever in the Euro elections. Ashcroft polling found that more that 53% of 2017 Conservative voters who took part in the European elections voted for the Brexit PartyThe Brexit revolution is shaking up the old parties…

EU Commissioner Hints Withdrawal Agreement Could Be Changed

Speaking to Nick Robinson on The Today Programme this morning, EU Commissioner Věra Jourová gave a strong hint that the Withdrawal Agreement could be altered in the future. Saying she would be “very careful” in her answer, she said the decision whether or not to alter the deal in order to avoid a ‘No Deal’ scenario that would hurt both sides would be for the next EU Commission president. She would only commit to the Withdrawal Agreement being the only deal on the table “for the moment”. Given a credible threat of No Deal, the EU is looking like it could move…

+++ Philip Lee No Confidenced +++


The second referendum backing Tory MP has so alienated members of his constituency association that he didn’t even turn up at the Bracknell Conservative Association’s Special General Meeting. Unsurprisingly they voted that they had no confidence in Philip Lee. Contemptible cowardice or arrogance from the man who had “Philip Lee, Great British Hero” posters printed. Perhaps both.

UPDATE:  Lee has issued a statement:

In the future, I may or may not decide that I can continue serving as a Conservative Member of Parliament and the Bracknell Conservative Association may or may not decide that they wish to readopt me as the Conservative Party’s candidate. But one thing is for sure: we will not be forced into taking a decision one way or the other by this orchestrated, destructive campaign from outside the Party that has done nothing but spread hatred, intimidation and distrust over a single issue. That is not the Conservative way; it is not the Bracknell way.

In reality, according to Guido’s co-conspirator in Bracknell, the only external people visible at the meeting weree about 10 or so People’s Vote ‘protesters’ outside the hotel where the meeting was being held. One had a placard “I support Phillip Lee”. Here’s the co-conspirator’s report

Overall, the meeting was good-natured but a few clashes between people. About 150 wish people attended I reckon. At the beginning of the meeting, the Chairman made it clear that the percentage would not be released, only whether the motion was passed or not – this is apparently in accordance with the constituency constitution (this caused some commotion). He absolutely refuted claims of ‘entryism’ suggesting new members were from both sides of the Brexit argument.

I got chatting to someone who had only been a member for 8 or 9 months (but life-long Tory voter) and he was present at the last AGM where Phillip Lee turned up but said nothing the whole meeting (just looked at his phone). This was brought up by a number of members, in addition to him not even bothering to attend this meeting. This wound a lot of people up. There were quite a few life-long Tories who had re-joined recently.

Many people who spoke mentioned his position on Brexit and lack of support for the government but also mentioned his general attitude (not responding to emails, etc). Some councillors refuted this claim. Many scoffed at his comment about foreign money being involved in this action against him.

The most common argument for not supporting this amendment was that it was not the right time; this would play into the hands of the opposition, Phillip may run as an independent and split the Tory vote, etc. These suggestions didn’t go down well. Nothing positive really said about Phillip.

One laughable suggestion was that we should vote to reject this motion because the meeting alone would be enough to help change Phillip’s behaviour – “that boat has sailed” was heard after that comment.

Probably 90% people spoke against Phillip – bringing up all the above points – many of which got lots of applause. He just isn’t well liked.

That last point is a common refrain from people who have to deal with him…

London Chamber of Commerce Hits Back at CBI’s No Deal Scare

The CBI have waded into the Tory leadership race with an entirely predictable open letter sent to all the candidates warning against the supposed horrors of a no-deal Brexit. They might as well just auto-schedule the same press release every three weeks. It’s only going to get worse when ultra-Remain fanatic Lord Bilimoria takes over as CBI President…

Not all business groups share their pessimism – now the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hit back at the CBI, with chief executive David Frost pointing out the obvious logical flaws with the CBI’s hardline position:

“It is all very well to insist the next Prime Minister must avoid Brexit on WTO terms and instead strike a deal with the EU. But no Prime Minister can actually guarantee that.

“That is because it isn’t just a UK decision: it’s also for the EU. That is why, as we have said, business needs to be confident that Government is still preparing for a No Deal Brexit and engaging fully with business organisations and individual firms.

“Although some of our members cannot prepare effectively, others can, and did so in the run up to 29 March. For them, it is the prolonged uncertainty that is damaging. So the new Conservative leader should aim to bring clarity as soon as possible.”

Business wants certainty on Brexit, not indecision…

YouGov Justify Not Prompting for the Brexit Party

YouGov not prompting for the Brexit Party in this morning’s bombshell poll when it is polling second in Westminster voting intentions and won the Euros has riled a lot of their supporters. Anthony Wells has written an explainer and makes this justification:

“…like many pollsters we overstated support for the Brexit Party, putting them at 37% compared to the 31.6% they actually achieved in Great Britain. Over the next few weeks, we will also be looking at the possible causes of that overstatement, and whether there was something to do with turnout, undecided voters or our weighting or sampling scheme that led to us having too many Brexit voters in our final poll.”

However, it’s worth remembering their final poll for the 2017 General Election predicted a 7% gap between the Tories and Labour, in the election itself this shrunk by the same margin to just 2%. YouGov may well have tweaked their turnout models afterwards, Guido doesn’t recall them doing anything as drastic as moving a major party into ‘Other’…

Either way, remember Cleggmania? Surges have a tendency to fall back. Even so, the Brexit Party outpolling the two main parties of the twentieth century is a real tribute to the popular appeal of Corbyn and May. The outcome of the Tory leadership race will determine the long term sustainability of the Brexit Party…

Raab Accuses Lidington of Sabotaging Backstop Changes

Dominic Raab has done a lengthy interview with the Spectator’s Katy Balls covering everything from karate to feminism. However the moment that will raise Brexiteer eyebrows the most is when Raab directly blames Theresa May’s deputy David Lidington for sabotaging his attempts to renegotiate the backstop as Brexit Secretary:

‘I think there was a window of opportunity,’ he says. ‘The frustrating thing is that it was closed by our own side.’ Specifically, he suspects, by David Lidington, Theresa May’s de facto deputy, who held his own talks with the Irish and seemed to stop what No. 10 saw as Raab’s freelancing. ‘It wasn’t ruled out by Coveney, it was ruled out by Varadkar. The only thing that happened in between is that he met David Lidington. It’s clear what happened.’

This will do nothing to ease widespread Brexiteer suspicions that the backstop was just a ruse cooked up from the start by Theresa May’s inner circle of Remainer advisers…

Hunt Won’t Commit to October 31 Brexit Deadline

Jeremy Hunt was grilled on Brexit by Peston last night after being forced to helplessly sit through a whole segment of the show where his flip-flopping on Brexit was read out line-by-line. Ouch…

More significantly, Hunt would not commit to the new October 31 Brexit deadline on the grounds that Parliament could try to block no deal, which he argues would lead to a “very, very devastating” general election. Hunt’s plan relies on putting back together the Conservative-DUP alliance, which will be a tall ask if the hated backstop is still in place…

On the other side of the argument Dominic Raab tells the Spectator that he would be prepared to use all the “levers of the executive” to force through a no deal if necessary, potentially setting up an epic constitutional crash with aspiring ‘Eternal President’ John Bercow. May never seriously attempted to use those levers so Raab would be in unchartered waters. Ultimately the onus would be on Remainer Tory MPs to decide once and for all what they really think is worse, no deal or a Marxist Prime Minister…

Campaigner To ‘Stop Lying In Politics’ is Lying About His Political Campaign

The smarmy man behind the case to prosecute Boris Johnson has been saying his case is not about stopping Brexit, just about stopping ‘lying in politics’. That will come as news to the original backers of Marcus J. Ball’s first (now deleted) crowdfunder which Guido can reveal was set up from “within a Facebook group called The 48%” in order to reverse the result of the referendum. Quelle surprise…

“Once these prosecutions have established that politicians did indeed lie to voters our next step will be to take other action to prevent Brexit. This may be in the form of a judicial review… We will also work to reverse Brexit and ensure our membership of the European Union is not lost”

After consulting his barristers, Ball deleted his original blogs, seemingly to hide his original intentions and then launched a new site claiming that he was “motivated by a desire to challenge the national problem of lying in UK politics.” In late 2018 a new ‘Brexit Justice Prosecution’ page was launched, a new financial target established, and new Twitter and Facebook profiles were set up as old ones are deleted. The old ‘Brexit Justice’ Page now reroutes to the new page, with all references to Ball’s political views removed. Crafty.

What started as an attempt to prosecute the Leave campaign turned into a campaign against the man who led it, which if successful would have hugely destructive consequences over our democracy, enforcing government regulation of political speech. A source close to Boris told Guido that:

“The claimant has openly admitted that his plan is to overturn the referendum via a legal challenge and he clearly intends to try and undermine the one man who can truly deliver Brexit. The decision to issue a summons is extraordinary, and flies in the face of hundreds of years of British democratic tradition.”

Boris has become the latest in a long line of Brexit champions who the establishment and dodgy bandwagon hoppers are trying to defeat in the courts. They know they can’t defeat Brexit though legitimate democratic processes…

Merkel Cancels Resignation, Decides Successor Not Up to Job

If the Tories thought they were having trouble getting rid of Theresa May, they should spare a thought for the German CDU where Angela Merkel has just announced that she won’t be resigning as German Chancellor after all. Heiliger Strohsack!

Merkel has reportedly decided that her chosen successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, abbreviated to slightly dubious acronym ‘AKK’, is not up to the job after watching her popularity slide since she took over leadership of the CDU. AKK led the CDU to its worst ever performance in the EU elections, which people actually care about in Germany. Merkel now wants to hang on at least until 2021. As long as Theresa May doesn’t get any ideas…

Remainers Overwhelmingly Outspent Leavers on Facebook

Guido reported during the campaign, Change UK were massively outstripping the spending of other parties on Facebook throughout the election. By the last week of the campaign, the Lib Dems caught up with Change UK, followed by the Greens, Labour, then the Tories. In that crucial week, of the parties in England that won seats, the Brexit Party spent the least and won the most…

Europhile Supergroups Lose European Parliament Majority for First Time Ever

The final results of the EU elections are still trickling in, however the overall picture is pretty clear already. Eurofederalists have lost ground although they still outnumber Eurosceptics. Incredibly, it’s the first time ever in the European Parliament’s 40-year history that the giant Europhile EPP (Christian Democrat) and S&D (Socialist) blocks haven’t had a majority between them.[…] Read the rest

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