“Rally Round the Flag, Boys!” Joan Collins For Brexit

round flag 2

Joan Collins has long called for Brexit:

Her more vocal role in the referendum was confirmed with a very emotive tweet for the cause. Famous for her roles in films with titles such as Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!The Moneychangers, and Dark Places, Collins was perhaps most famous for her role as Alexis Carrington in the classic TV soap opera DynastyStill, probably the least dramatic announcement this week…

Richard Drax’s Cockney Cabbie Impression

Brexit royalty Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax regaled the house with a tale about a conversation he had with a taxi driver over the EU referendum:

“And then he said, ‘Tell me, guv: what do you think about the EU?’

I said, ‘Listen, do you want to control the future of this country, or do you want to hand it across to unelected bureaucrats – a political elite that are completely out of touch with the electorate?’

And then he said ‘Guv! Do you know William Cash?’

And I said ‘Yeah I do, he’s a great friend of mine.’

‘He sat in here 25 years ago, he said the same thing then!’

That is an absolutely true story Mr Deputy Speaker, and what was so wonderful and far sighted of my honourable friend is he was right then, and he’s right now.”

Cor blimey, guv…

MEPs: Dave’s Deal Not Legally Binding

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Worth looking at what some of our friends in the European Parliament think about whether Dave’s deal is legally binding. Do they agree with Donald Tusk or Michael Gove?

Sylvie Goulard, a French MEP who sits with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, says it is not binding: 

“The settlement achieved is legally dubious and politically dangerous. Mr Cameron has won a Pyrrhic victory.”

While Gianni Pittella, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats, which is the second largest grouping in Brussels, is vowing to repeal the emergency break:

“Red lines must not be crossed… We will never accept any form of discrimination between European citizens… [the European Parliament will] debate and examine [the bill]”

Jean Arthuis, another French MEP, also says the deal is not binding and instead “opens the door to all sorts of claims and negotiations”. 

Add this to the Hungarian PM boasting that Cameron got nothing, and our European allies are laughing at us…

Boundary Review Puts Tory Outers Under Pressure

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Essex is the most Eurosceptic region of the country in terms of Tory MPs – according to Guido’s referendum list there are 12 Essex MPs who will be backing Brexit. Coincidentally, Essex is expected to be a major loser in the forthcoming boundary review. Analysis in today’s Times warns that Priti Patel, Whitto and Bernard Jenkin may have to fight over two seats.

Also heavily targeted in the boundary review is the South West, with seats in Cornwall and Devon expected to be merged. Again, this is one of the places you are most likely to find a Leave Tory MP. Declared Brexiteers here include Steve Double, George Eustice, Scott Mann, Sheryll Murray, Derek Thomas, Anne Marie Morris, Geoffrey Cox, and Sarah Wollaston.

Bully row Outer Lucy Allan could also come under pressure in Telford, with the West Midlands set to lose six seats from their current total of 59. Nadhim Zahawi, who sensationally switched from In to Out, is another West Midlands MP.

The greater-than-ever-before need to impress Eurosceptic selection panels will be playing on the minds of Tory MPs under threat…

Hungarian PM Boasts: We’ll Still Get Benefits Without Paying In

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, has told his parliament that Cameron got nothing and reassures them that Hungarians who have not paid contributions will still get UK benefits:

“the real debate was about there being benefits which workers do not pay for, but for which they are nonetheless eligible. The question was what should happen with benefits paid to third-country nationals, for which no contributions are paid in Britain. Here, too, we have succeeded in ensuring that these social benefits cannot be taken away… This means that we have even succeeded in protecting benefits which people working in the United Kingdom did not pay for in the form of contributions.”

Quite literally, Orban is boasting that Hungarians in Britain will get something for nothing…

Conservatives.IN Has 162 Supporters, 140 for Vote Leave

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Last night’s Conservatives.In launch drew out more Tory MPs loyal to the PM, 162 MPs back remaining in the EU versus 140 who want to Britain to Leave. 28 still indecisive or hiding from Downing Street and their local supporters…

Click here to view the spreadsheet everyone is talking about.

David Owen Backs Brexit

The SDP founder says in a statement he is backing Vote Leave:

“To remain in the EU is in my judgement a more dangerous option for British security in its deepest sense – economic, political, military and social – than is being admitted or even discussed in the wake of Cameron’s failed negotiations…

This UK referendum is, like all previous referendums, a once-in-a-generation opportunity. There are many positive aspects to leaving the EU. We will make our own laws again in our own parliament. We will rediscover the skills of blue-water diplomacy and rise to the challenge of global markets. It could be the spark we need to re-energise our nation. 

The pre-eminent need will be to become more productive and competitive, something driven by investing in research and training and through welcoming immigration from people from different countries who can contribute most to our economy and to our quality of life. These are changes that have a cost attached to them but they are necessary in or out of the EU. They have been largely ducked by political leaders in all parties in recent years. They cannot be ducked any longer if we decide to leave. That in a nutshell is the case for leaving: a challenge and an opportunity.”

Also handy for Vote Leave in terms of the designation stakes…

Conservatives.In Launch at ICA

Conservatives In EU referendum

Dave, no jacket and no tie, “Tonight I’ve ignored my mother’s advice”…

David Cameron ConservativesIN

Tory MPs: 153 for In, 140 for Out, 37 Undeclared

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The pressure is on the 37 undeclared…

Full list here.

Is Jesse a Burkean?

Burke Jesse 2

Jesse Norman, Tory MP and author of Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician, Prophet, Edmund Burke: The Visionary Who Invented Modern Politics, and Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, has announced on his blog that he will be ducking the EU question. Complaining that “I am very far from expert in this area, many aspects of which are mind-bogglingly complex”, Norman has decided that publicly backing one side over another would be bad form. He has instead said that he will “try to pose questions and provide facts” for his constituents.

A recent ComRes poll showed 74% of the public believe their MP should come out for their constituents’ views, with only 5% wanting their representatives to back the party leadership. Norman appears to pandering to this populist demand.

What would his hero, Edmund Burke, say about MPs avoiding making decisions? Famously Burke said “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” It seems Norman disagrees with his hero…

LISTEN: Gove Says Deal Not Legally Binding

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Michael Gove audibly wrestled with contradicting the PM during this interview with Laura K this morning, though he clearly felt the need to make the point that the renegotiation is not legally binding without treaty change. Also worth reading Sarah Vine’s column today for a personal account of Gove’s inner turmoil, and what happened during that dinner with Boris:

And so, last Tuesday, we had drinks in Boris and his wife Marina’s stylishly dishevelled drawing room.

Marina and I were broadly in agreement: whatever was most likely to keep the boys happy. Also there was the Russian media mogul Evgeny Lebedev, impeccably groomed and suited, a stark contrast to the two baggy-suited politicians sitting next to each other on the sofa.

Boris, meanwhile, was Boris: very agitated, genuinely tortured as to which way to go, although not for quite the same reasons as Michael.

It was already all a bit surreal. Then, just as dinner was being served, it got even more bizarre. A senior Cabinet minister, accompanied by a lawyer, came on speakerphone to discuss the complexities of law in relation to sovereignty. Michael and Boris leaned into the iPhone, Boris firing questions at it, Michael making listening noises.

I, too, listened dutifully for a few minutes, but it really was a very lawyerly conversation, and the aroma rising from the slow-roasted shoulder of lamb was getting to me. I tucked in.

Marina and Evgeny followed suit, and we spent the next 20 minutes attempting to make polite conversation in stage whispers, Boris shushing us every time we got too loud.

After that, Wednesday and Thursday passed in a flurry of phone calls and meetings. There was a good deal more sighing. As the hours wore on and the various participants in this bizarre saga got increasingly tired and tetchy, the pressure grew.

There were some mightily tricky exchanges. It was clear that No 10 were very keen indeed to swing Michael’s vote in their favour. But it was not to be.

Could’ve been one last scoop for the Indy!

Downing Street: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Taxpayer-funded civil servants have been authorised by David Cameron to use public resources to campaign for Remain. Will advisers and officials working for ministers who back Leave have the same freedom? They have tonight been issued a strict ban on their activities by the Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood.

Civil servants working in the departments of Grayling, Whitto, IDS etc have been barred from giving their ministers briefings supporting their position on the EU. They are banned from providing speech material, and will be denied access to government papers relating to the referendum. Special advisers working for Leave ministers are banned from supporting their boss’ position in office hours. They are also banned from using annual leave on campaign activity. Pro-Remain ministers are meanwhile allowed to use public resources to campaign.

Amusingly, Heywood writes that these restrictions mean:

“The principles of impartiality and the proper use of public resources continue to apply to all government communications activity, including activity related to the EU referendum.”

This is laughable – Downing Street civil servants like Chris Hopkins are authorised to use taxpayer-funded resources to campaign for Remain, yet civil servants and SpAds for Eurosceptic ministers who want to do the same thing for the Leave campaign are banned from doing so. This is the exact opposite of “the principles of impartiality and the proper use of public resources”. It’s “do as we say, not as we do…”

More Tory MPs Declare for In

EUREF

After an extensive ring round, cajoling and much browbeating the updated count for Tory MPs is now; 140 for Out, 146 for In. This is the first time that Guido’s list has shown the Remainians leading. 44 still in play…  

Click here to view the spreadsheet everyone is talking about.

Mak Backs ‘In’ After Telling Selectors He’d Back ‘Out’

2015 intake Tory MP Alan Mak told his Havant selection meeting that he was an Outer. Last year he provided local Conservative members with a detailed CV describing himself as a “Thatcherite and patriot”, telling them he was inspired to join the Tories by the Keep the Pound campaign and boldly claiming he was a “policy adviser to James Wharton MP, author of the EU referendum bill to give voters a say on Europe and win back UKIP votes”. Before the election, he wrote:

“Our current relationship with the EU doesn’t work for Britain. Things have got to change. We need to get tough with Europe… we shouldn’t be afraid to leave.”

His campaign literature claimed:

“Alan backs lower immigration, deportation of foreign criminals and terrorists, and stopping abuse of our NHS and welfare system. Enough is enough.”

Today, in a much-awaited statement, Mak has come out for… Remain.

“After conducting a hard-headed analysis of the detail of the Prime Minister’s re-negotiated settlement,” says Mak, “I will support the Prime Minister and vote to Remain”. After conducting a hard-headed analysis of his future career trajectory, more like. Alan, you’ve let Guido down, you’ve let yourself down and worst of all, you’ve let your country down.

Cameron Launching “Conservatives In” Tomorrow

Guido hears a new Tory Remain campaign is being launched by David Cameron tomorrow. Conservatives In will bring together Conservatives for Reform in Europe and other pro-Remain Tory groups. An invite has been sent to “known and trusted people” to join “senior Conservatives” at a secret location at 5pm. The Conservatives.In website is currently a holding page, though the domain is registered to Tim Barnes, the former chairman of the Tory Reform Group who helped run Ken Clarke’s leadership campaign. Barnes is already on the Tory candidates list, so expect to see this dripping wet in parliament in 2020…

Tory Split: Latest Referendum Declarations

There was some intense “clarification” from Tory MPs who previously leant towards the Out side yesterday, meaning there are still 56 undeclared MPs on our spreadsheet. Guido is texting around to coax them off the fence. It is worth keeping an eye on the 2015 intakers who have yet to make an announcement. Many of them told their selection meetings they were Outers, never expecting that the Tories would win a majority and actually deliver a referendum…

The BBC, Sky, ITV, the Times and ConHome have now all produced their own tallies of Tory declarations, though all have a considerably higher number of “don’t knows” – because ours is crowd and campaign-sourced, live-updated and better-informed. Accept no imitations and view our spreadsheet here

Grassroots Out Three Lions Parody

They say it is the work of an “enthusiastic supporter”…

No. 10 Loses Half its FTSE Support Since Dave’s Deal

Last Thursday, before the EU council meeting, the Telegraph had a briefing that “more than 80 FTSE 100 firms” were about to support Dave’s deal and back Remain:

Yesterday, after the deal, the FT reported that only 50 FTSE bosses were going to sign the letter supporting Remain:

As Guido revealed, the stunt had been drafted and orchestrated by Downing Street civil servants, and was lined up to appear in today’s Times. Sure enough, here it is in this morning’s paper:

Yet just 36 FTSE 100 bosses have signed…

Five days ago, journalists were being briefed that No.10 and Remain had 80 FTSE bosses backing them. Since the EU council meeting and the deal, more than half no longer fancied giving their support. Just 36 names for the letter backing Dave’s deal is positively paltry… 

H/T @suttonnick

Soubry V Farage

Anna Soubry and Nigel Farage got engaged in a rather lively debate on Channel 4 News tonight. And this is only the beginning of the campaign…

65% of Tory MEPs Want to Keep Their Jobs

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Daniel Hannan reckons “If you think about it, having even 5 for out is telling. How bad must the EU be to merit giving up such cushy jobs?”

You can see why so many True Blues vote UKIP in the Euro-elections…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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