ABC: EU is Greatest Human Achievement For 1500 Years

Turbulent priest Justin Welby has gone full AC Grayling, calling the EU “the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire” in an address to European churches in Serbia. The ABC blasted “the rise of Euroscepticism, the flames of which are fanned by ‘scare stories’ about migration and refugees”. And he even implied Brexit could destroy the entire continent: “The fact that Christianity survived in Europe does not indicate that it is indestructible, but that God protects the Church that he created and loves”. Even Grayling isn’t this ridiculous...

Remember Welby has form for tedious political interventions. He backed the Remain campaign during the referendum and has since linked Brexit to Trump and fascism. Welby has hired staffer after staffer after staffer from the Labour Party. His former parliamentary aide is a Labour Party member who considers “Tory rule” a “grim prospect” and says Michael Gove “is a truly terrifying human being”. Bet Bishop Michael Curry backs Brexit…

Ex-Vote Leave Staff Targeted With Dodgy Data Pitch

Former Vote Leave staff have been targeted with a dodgy business proposition promising to make them “serious amounts of money” if they share their campaign secrets. This email has gone to several ex-Vote Leave staffers, who smell a rat:

I have a new proposition, which is completely left field, but we believe will disrupt the traditional advertising TV model, and will disrupt the big advertising agencies as well.

We (that is myself and a few colleagues) are almost there with the technical solution, which is being developed in Finland, but we need a marketing plan to build the scale fast, and that is where we were attracted to your profile, particularly with your work with Vote Leave, which addressed real people rather than the ad industry. We will need a Facebook/ Instagram campaign to recruit thousands of people in a short period of time.

This promises to make serious amounts of money, and we would love to discuss this further with you, if you were able to meet us in London some time?

Yesterday Guido reported that Dispatches journalists were on a fishing expedition attempting to get former Vote Leave staffers to flip. Watch out…

Carole Cadwalladr: I’m Unaware of Any Allegations of Remain Cheating

Top investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr has told the European Parliament she is unaware of any allegations of the Remain campaign breaching spending rules during the referendum:

“I am unaware of any issues on the Remain side. There is none that I have come across. There is none that I understand the Electoral Commission has come across… if there are then I very much hope that journalists uncover this and it will be investigated.”

Carole must have missed the dossier of evidence about Remain cheating handed to the Electoral Commission this weekend. And the fact that the Electoral Commission has said they are looking into it. Guido is glad to hear Carole’s commitment to exposing Remain campaigners as well and looks forward to reading about it in next weekend’s Observer…

May’s Approval Rating Plummets With Tory Members

A truly dire set of personal approval ratings for Theresa May in the latest ConHome survey of Tory members. Last month she actually had a positive approval rating, that has now plummeted into negative figures as the Tory grassroots realise the direction she is taking us on Brexit. Number 10 needs to know the Brexit they are going for is not going to be popular with anyone, least of all those who voted Leave…

See EU Next Tuesday For Brexit Vote Night

Date for your diaries. Just one day…

Open Europe Report Rejects Hammond’s Services Sellout

A report published by the Open Europe think tank this morning rejects Philip Hammond’s plan to sell out the City and keep close ties with the EU for financial services. Hammond is embroiled in a row with the Bank of England after attempts by the Treasury to give up control of regulations and make the City a rule-taker. Open Europe rightly argue:

“The UK is strongly services dominated (around 80% of our economy) – we cannot simply be a rule-taker in key industries such as financial services. The approach on services therefore should be about managing divergence.”

The second section of the report calls for Brexiters to compromise on goods:

“The Single Market in goods is far more developed than services and was a significant achievement of British EU membership. We believe it makes sense broadly to maintain alignment with its rules. The EU is our most important goods’ market and the most highly-regulated sectors – electrical, automobiles, and chemicals – are the areas which we trade most with the EU and are growing the fastest. Although there might be some benefit from regulatory divergence, we judge that the Government should commit to maintaining the acquis on goods.”

Making the case for more compromise from Brexiteers, Open Europe director Henry Newman, a former Gove adviser, argues: “Open Europe’s blueprint recognises that the UK is too big an economy to be a rule-taker in areas like financial services, while accepting that we can get a very good degree of access in goods by giving up a limited amount control.” To Guido this almost seems a compromise too far. Brexiters have already demonstrated huge pragmatism over the last two years. They do not need to give up more control…

Dispatches Fishing Expedition Ignores Remain Collusion

Journalists from Dispatches are ringing round former junior Vote Leave volunteers on a fishing expedition to find the next Chris Wylie or Shahmir Shah. Guido understands the programme is focusing on alleged co-ordination between Vote Leave and BeLeave. For some strange reason Channel 4 don’t seem interested in investigating the much greater evidence of co-ordination between the various Remain campaigns, which the Electoral Commission is also looking into. Is this an impartial use of taxpayers’ money?

Dispatches has at least two producers, Janet Eastham and Stefanie Stafford, calling the home phone numbers of ex-Vote Leave youngsters, which doesn’t seem very GDPR compliant. Guido hopes their ability to clock a Walter Mitty is better than the shambolic Carole Cadwalladr charade with the less than reliable Wylie and Shahmir. If Dispatches new commissioning editor, Louisa Compton, is interested in making a more balanced programme about the Remain campaign flouting the rules, Guido is happy to help them out…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Priti Hands Dossier of Remain Collusion Evidence to Electoral Commission

Priti Patel has handed a dossier of evidence to the Electoral Commission that demonstrates beyond doubt that the various Remain campaigns coordinated their spending in breach of the rules. The Commission’s guidance is clear: “you are very likely to be working together if you have joint advertising campaigns”. That is exactly what the various supposedly independent campaigns did regarding the “Don’t F*ck My Future” advertising campaign. Guido cannot see how the Remain campaigns can claim they did not co-ordinate.

Having looked through the documents on the Electoral Commission’s website, I note that, according to Adam & Eve/DDB’s returns, producing these advertisements cost in excess of £76,000. However, only one campaign – Wake Up And Vote – ever paid an invoice to DDB for producing the videos, and only for £24,000. The remainder of the cost appears to have been funded by a mixture of payments and donations from other campaigns and major Remain donors.

Wake Up And Vote

Directly invoiced by ‘Adam and Eve’. Asked to pay £24,000 for the video

Wake Up And Vote received the entirety of their funding (£100,000) from Lisbet Rausing, one of the main donors to Britain Stronger in Europe and Conservatives IN 

Britain Stronger in Europe

Gave £7,467 to DDB on 1 June for ‘advertising’, but this was declared as notional expenditure with ‘Adam & Eve’, so no invoice or further details were provided. This means it is unclear what precise advertising it is for.

We Are Europe

Gave £10,000 to DDB on 29 June but did not declare any joint spending 

We Are Europe received the majority of its funding from two of Britain Stronger in Europe’s main donors, Lord Sainsbury (£116,000) and Ian Taylor (£99,000)

Britain Stronger in Europe, Wake Up And Vote, We Are Europe, and DDB were all registered as independent campaigners in their own right but none declared this as joint spending. Despite only one campaign paying an invoice for the advertisements and registering this with the Electoral Commission, multiple campaigns were reported to be involved in producing the videos:

14th June – it was reported that the ads were made for We Are Europe 

14th June – in an interview with the co-founder of ‘We Are Europe’, it was reported that the videos are a ‘collaboration between agencies adam&eveDDB and Kin&Co, alongside campaign groups Wake up & Vote and We Are Europe’ (link)

15th June – it was reported that the ad was made for Britain Stronger In Europe 

24th June – it was reported that the ads were made for We are EU (presumably ‘We are Europe’) 

Britain Stronger in Europe, Wake Up And Vote, We Are Europe, and DDB all distributed these videos widely on social media. And despite not reporting any payments towards the cost of the video, Britain Stronger in Europe hosted the advert on its website, with no branding added to suggest that it was not an official Britain Stronger in Europe video. It is important to note that the video on the website was not ‘shared’ (which might be seen as in keeping with the rules), but was actually hosted. This means that Britain Stronger in Europe were provided with a service which they then made use of in their advertising. To anyone visiting their website, it would have appeared that the video was produced by Britain Stronger in Europe for their campaign purposes. This is a clear breach of the spending rules.

Priti quite reasonably says:

This goes further than any accusations levelled at Vote Leave about having a ‘common plan’ for campaign activity. This provides demonstrable evidence that Remain campaigns colluded in producing adverts with a ‘common plan’, and in doing so avoided the cost of the project being included in Britain Stronger in Europe’s spending.

The Electoral Commission say they are considering the evidence. It would be a joke if they do not investigate this clear evidence of spending coordination…

Grayling Tells Verhofstadt: Be Very Tough and Uncompromising With UK

At a meeting in Brussels, Remoaner-in-chief AC Grayling tells Guy Verhofstadt:

“What would help the Remain movement in the UK: if the EU is very, very tough and uncompromising on a deal.”

… As LibDem MEP Catherine Bearder watches on. These Remainers want the UK to be punished for exercising democracy…

EU Deletes Footage of Juncker Insulting Italians and Denies He Said It

The European Commission attempted to delete footage of Jean-Claude Juncker insulting Italians from its video service and his spokesman has tried to deny he called the country workshy and corrupt. Speaking at a Q&A yesterday, Juncker said:

“Italians must take care of the poor regions of Italy, which means more work, less corruption, seriousness. We will help them as we have always done, but do not face the game of discharging responsibility with the EU: a country is a country, a nation is a nation, countries first, Europe second.”

He also called for an end to “Russia-bashing”. When the Guardian reported Juncker’s words, his spokesman lied: “I do not understand that the president has used those words on Italy”, claiming they had been taken “out of context”. Full context here. The video of Juncker speaking was then removed from the European Commission audiovisual services website. It was later restored and Juncker’s comments were condemned as “unacceptable” by the Italian president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. 

This comes a day after German MEP Markus Ferber sparked outcry after threatening that the Troika could “march into Rome and take over the finance ministry”.

Which in turn came a day after the EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger was forced to apologise after suggesting that the financial markets would show Italians they cannot vote for 5Star and League.

You can see why Remainers have been so quiet about how the EU has been behaving towards Italy over the last few days…

Bercow’s New Anti-Brexit Car Sticker: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted Remain”

Back in March, Guido revealed John Bercow had a Bollocks to Brexit sticker in his car window – not a very impartial message for the Speaker to be promoting. This morning Bercow has new sticker on his car. This photo was sent in by a co-conspirator, it says: “Don’t blame me, I voted Remain”. 

Click to enlarge

Sally doubling down?

“Professional Coach” to Train Anti-Brexit Flash Mob at EU Summit

A lame anti-Brexit flash mob will ‘perform’ at the EU summit in Brussels next month. Bulgarian liberal MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk is plotting the protest. He is trying to recruit participants via email, in the process revealing that the anti-democracy protesters will undertake “training” with a “professional coach” for the next four weeks:

“Do you want to support the EU and help fight Brexit? Here is the chance to do that. We need energetic pro-Europeans ready to perform a flash mob dance at lunchtime on 28 June around Schuman and willing to spend a few hours practising. We also need volunteers to help with logistics, hold banners and distribute leaflets. Let’s put a bit of fun, rhythm and imagination into fighting Brexit and support the campaign for a People’s Vote on the Deal.

“What do you need to do?… Train with our professional coach for three or four once-weekly evening sessions in June. We’ll let you know the details of times and places for training when these are finalised.”

Sad.

UPDATE: Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman said:

“Collusion between the EU and Remoaner groups is a serious matter, but this shows it is getting plain silly. A flash mob to support a Second Referendum is a good metaphor: like Soros’s campaign, it will be a lot of coordinated excitement & noise for a few minutes, then completely disappear.” 

Corbynista Dexeu Mandarin Out

Guido hears senior Dexeu mandarin Mike Hatchett is out. Hatchett joined a year ago in an eye-raising hire from Jeremy Corbyn’s office, where he was Jezza’s economics policy chief before apparently becoming “disillusioned”. He has now been placed on gardening leave at Dexeu. Insiders say he did not exactly wow colleagues with his expertise. A Dexeu spokesman says:

“Mike Hatchett works for DExEU as a middle-ranking civil servant. In line with policy, he has informed us that he wishes to take up a new role outside of Government. Under the Government Business Appointment rules we have reached an agreement with Mr Hatchett and placed a series of conditions regarding this appointment, which he and his future employer are aware of, as per the usual protocols of this policy.”

Hatchett previously worked at the Treasury and enjoyed a similar cushy taxpayer-funded departure there as well. Nice short-term work if you can get it…

UPDATE: Hatchett has gone back to Labour to run policy under Andrew Fisher.

Priti Demands New Probe Into Remain Spending and Questions Electoral Commission Impartiality

Following fresh revelations today about the Remain campaign overspend during the referendum, Priti Patel has written to the Electoral Commission calling for an investigation. Readers will remember the Electoral Commission refused to investigate previous evidence of Remain overspending, despite investigating Vote Leave for the same thing. Priti warns the Commission there are questions over their impartiality – Guido has the letter:

I am writing, further to our correspondence earlier this year, and in light of the revelations in the Sunday Telegraph about new evidence of services being shared among the various Remain campaigns in the 2016 EU referendum.

I am sure you share my deep concerns that Britain Stronger in Europe seems to have been provided with services by other Remain campaigns without declaring the expenditure in the appropriate way. There is evidence that many campaigns appear to have acted as a mere continuity of the official Remain campaign as it approached its spending limit, the most egregious example of this being the regrettably named ‘Don’t f*ck my future’ campaign, which many different Remain organisations appear to have involved themselves in.

As you will be well aware, the findings in the Sunday Telegraph are just the latest example of concerns being raised about how the Remain campaign conducted itself during the referendum. There have been numerous ‘warning signals’ over the last few months, including several media reports that have strongly suggested that Britain Stronger in Europe tried to circumvent the Electoral Commission’s rules during the EU referendum. As a reminder, these include:

  • Admissions by senior figures within Britain Stronger in Europe that they were coordinating messaging and campaign activity with other Remain campaigns including Labour In, Conservatives In and the Liberal Democrats.
  • The fact that a number of Remain campaigns were set up in the month leading up to the referendum, which received hundreds of thousands of pounds from donors who had previously made payments to Britain Stronger in Europe and other pro-EU campaigns.
  • Reports that Britain Stronger in Europe were delegating ground campaign activity to the Labour Party, potentially sharing campaign material such as leaflets and canvassing data.

When I wrote to you earlier this year to highlight some of these concerning pieces of evidence you decided to take no action – claiming there were no ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that these activities were ‘part of a common plan or other arrangement’. We are now faced with a situation where others are instead having to undertake the sort of investigation that the Commission should have taken months ago. It is all the more concerning, as a significant proportion of the evidence cited in the Sunday Telegraph report appears to have come from the Electoral Commission’s own records.

This raises serious questions about the impartiality of the Electoral Commission. The material uncovered in the Sunday Telegraph, coupled with the evidence made public earlier this year, suggests that the Commission has decided to hold Leave campaigns to one standard, and Remain campaigners to another, much lower standard.

In November last year, you decided to open a third investigation into the official Vote Leave campaign, even though you admitted in your assessment that there was no new evidence to justify the reopening of this investigation. Despite the absence of any suggestion that the official Leave campaign indulged in the apparent collusion described above, you have nonetheless continued your investigation.

In reopening the case, you set a very low threshold for triggering an investigation into a campaign. And yet, despite setting this low threshold, you have since refused to open any sort of investigation into the Remain campaign – despite the ever-growing volume of evidence that these campaigners were breaking the Commission’s rules.

I am not unsympathetic to the challenges that the Electoral Commission faces. I understand the reasons behind your suggestion to Parliament that the rules on coordination need to be reviewed. But while I accept the argument that the law should be improved – and that this is beyond your control – what is undeniably in your control is the power to treat campaigns equally.

I believe that the Electoral Commission has an important role to play in our democracy, but that role comes with an important responsibility – to be politically neutral at all times. If you want to restore confidence in the Commission, you should either start a formal investigation into Britain Stronger in Europe, or show equity and end the investigation in Vote Leave. The public – and Parliament – want to see the Commission acting with political balance.

I look forward to hearing from you .

Yours sincerely

The Rt. Hon. Priti Patel

The threshold for investigation is low, the Electoral Commission is already investigating Vote Leave for lesser alleged offences… It would tell you all you need to know about the Remainer-stuffed Electoral Commission if they refuse to look into this…

Mogg: May is Most Impressive PM Ever, “I Don’t Wish to be PM”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who as leader of the ERG is being privately criticised by Brexiters for not being tough enough with Theresa May, calls her “the most impressive and dutiful leader that this country has had”. Mogg says “it’s not my job to tell her to do this or do that”, doesn’t rule out accepting a government job and declares: “I’m going to back her”.

Some Brexiter MPs who don’t realise they are frogs being boiled will have only themselves to blame if it all goes wrong…

Anti-Brexit ‘Renew’ Party Gives Up After Three Months

Sad news: anti-Brexit ‘party’ Renew is in trouble after its founder resigned just three months after the party launched. Referendum result denying Renew – which compares itself to Macron’s En Marche – was set up to great fanfare among less reality-based Remainers in February. Despite having a handful of supporters it called itself a ‘movement’ and announced ambitious plans to field hundreds of anti-Brexit candidates at the next election. Now its main man has walked…

Founder Chris Coghlan hinted at acrimonious divisions:

“Over the past weeks and months, it has become clear to me that other senior members of the party do not share the same values as I do. These are the values of opportunity, responsibility, integrity and decomcracy; the belief that in every political party members should have the final say.

“It has become increasingly clear that the vision for the party I founded could not be delivered through the existing senior team, and that that team will resist any attempt to change the current structure through democratic means. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I am leaving the party… Renew may not any longer offer this new hope but I’m hopeful that something will soon as Britain deserves better than what it’s currently being offered by those in charge.”

Splitters…

Robbins Hits Back at Brussels Briefing

May’s chief civil service Brexit adviser Olly Robbins has joined Twitter with a passive aggressive dig at the Brussels official who briefed the press yesterday that the UK was “chasing fantasy”. The implication of Robbins’ tweet very much that Brussels has not been calm and professional. Robbins’ Twitter mentions when Leave.EU and co find his account will be quite something…

Hungary Tells Barnier to End Galileo Brinkmanship

Last week Guido said Michel Barnier was lost in space over Galileo, and that his attempts to push the UK out of the satellite project would send costs spiralling for the EU-27 and delay the project even further due to their lack of expertise. Hungary is the first EU country to protest to Brussels – their foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has done a broadcast round today telling the EU to pack it in:

Losing or not taking advantage of the capacity of what the UK can contribute to the Galileo project, I think it’s rather irresponsible and I don’t really see that that would be in the interests of the EU…

Q: Would you like to see the UK staying in the Galileo programme?

Yes, of course. We understand the UK covers 12 per cent of the costs of the budget of the Galileo programme and I really do think that the security risks that are ahead of the European Union demand a very strong cooperation between the UK and the European Union. I think that giving up the cooperation with the UK on the field of intelligence or any other security aspects would be very irresponsible on the part of the European Union.

That’s Michel told…

Cummings Calls Collins’ Bluff

As grandstanding Remoaner and DCMS select committee chair Damian Collins fires off another grandiose letter to Dom Cummings threatening to send the men in tights round, the Vote Leave chief responds:

If you had wanted my evidence you would have cooperated over dates. 

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Jean-Claude Juncker speaking to the Irish Dáil on his preference for drunkeness…

“I have difficulty walking. I am not drunk. I have sciatica. I would prefer to be drunk.”

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