ComRes Indy/Mirror Euro Poll Puts UKIP 9% Ahead of Tories

BRITAINS-EURO-ELECTION-NEWS-SOURCE

The UK Independence Party is on course to win the largest share of the vote in the European Parliament elections in May, according to a ComRes opinion poll for The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror.

UKIP  30% (+3)
Lab  28% (+5)
Con  21% (0)
LD  8% (-10)
Green  6% (+2)
Other  7% (0)

This is the first poll to ask separate questions about the European elections for some time. The figures for European voting are based on the 38% who say they are “absolutely certain” to vote in those elections – roughly comparable to the 34% turnout in the last elections in 2009.

Labour React to Referendum Fudge

The more sensible Labour MPs don’t exactly sound delighted about having to explain Miliband’s yeah-but-no-but referendum position to voters.

Graham Stringer is most damning, telling Ed “I am very disappointed by this… shoddy compromise,” and that the fudge is “impossible to sell on the doorstep.”

Level-headed Kate Hoey adds “I think it’s meant to be a clever compromise, I don’t think it’s going to end up as one,” confirming that a referendum under a Labour government is now “almost impossible”.

John Mann wrote to Miliband just yesterday asking for an EU referendum so he was disappointed within hours. Mann says Labour’s announcement is “a significant move in the right direction but I would encourage him to go further than he’s gone today… Labour voters want to see their voice being heard. They want to be trusted.”

And Labour donor John Mills ain’t happy given he has campaigned for a referendum and now won’t be getting what he wanted for his money: “The growth of the EU’s influence over Britain warrants a referendum regardless of future events.”

Still at least Mandy’s happy. This all could have been avoided so easily…

Miliband Bottles EU Referendum

Back in 2011 Guido recommended that Miliband call for an in/out EU referendum. It would have helped him make an impact with ordinary, sensible voters, distanced himself from Brown and Blair and wounded “cast iron” Cameron over his failure to keep his own referendum promise. Today’s announcement confirms that an in/out referendum would be “unlikely” under a Labour government. Miliband is ruling out a vote unless “significant” treaty changes are proposed. The Labour leader had the chance to lead on this issue, to outflank the Tories and offer voters something clear and definitive. Instead he has given them a deliberately vague fudge. Miliband says this morning that “you can’t trust the Tories on Europe”. He is the man who doesn’t trust the people on Europe… 

MEPs Plot to Spike No.10's Choice for EU Commissioner

Despite Downing Street getting to choose the candidate for EU Commissioner, the European Parliament has to approve their pick. Guido understands Number 10 is preparing for the possibility that the PM’s first choice will be spiked by MEPs as revenge for the British vetoing the 2011 treaty. So Dave faces a dilemma. Does he put forward his first choice as normal and risk seeing them vetoed, or does he hold back who he actually wants at the risk of a decoy first nomination scraping through? Andrew Mitchell will be watching closely.

London Lobbyists Landed Millions in Filthy Ukrainian Lucre

Lobbyists and spinmeisters who coined it on the back of Viktor Yanukovych’s authoritarian Ukrainian regime are getting jumpy. Meet James Wilson, a leading light at city spin shop FIPRA (Finsbury International Policy & Regulatory Advisers) who looks after firm’s Ukrainian clients. Oddly enough Wilson’s work at FIPRA Ukraine is not declared on the EU Transparency register. That despite FIPRA’s own website confirming that he is in charge of spinning for the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, who are backed by Yanukovych ally Serhiy Kurchenko, one of only 18 Ukranian kleptocrats to be hit with an EU asset freeze and travel ban. Possibly to do with him defrauding the Ukraine’s coffers of more than $1 billion…

Wilson is listed as a representative of the innocuous sounding “EU Ukraine Business Council” set up to “promote trade, economic and business links between Ukraine and the EU and initiate projects that contribute to the development of Ukraine”. The Chamber, whose offices are located in Viktor Yanukovych’s powerbase of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, holds regular conferences in the European Parliament, where it euphemistically claims to “help to solve market access difficulties”. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink…

Also among Wilson’s clients is shady pharma firm Alcon, who have been embroiled in several bribery scandals, to top it all, he also spins for the State Administration of Sevastopol – who have just declared independence from Kiev, backed up by Russian troops. Presumably they’re going to start paying him in roubles… 

You Cannot Bee Serious

Another reason to want the EU to buzz off. New figures revealed this morning show that DEFRA and the EU have stung the taxpayer with a £1 million bill… for looking at bees. The £1,009,861 funding from the bumbling European Commission has gone to “projects relating to bees” such as the National Bee Unit, the Bee Health Inspectorate and BeeBase, an IT system which catalogues information about bees.  Are they pollen our leg?

UPDATE:

EU've Got to Be Kidding Botched Spin Job Lets Cat Out of Bag

Well done Bjorn Kjellstrom, Head of the UK Office of the European Parliament, for helping the Eurosceptic cause no end. While berating British journalists in a letter for not correctly reporting EU matters, the grumpy Swede has let the cat out the bag: “not all citizens are aware that possibly a majority of the laws that have an impact on their daily lives are decided on by MEPs in the European Parliament.” Something swivel-eyed Europhiles always try to deny…

Via @jonwalker121

EU Spends £2 Million on Trolling Online Eurosceptics

This week Guido reported GCHQ’s sophisticated plans to infiltrate social media and blogs, presumably with the aim of fomenting revolution overseas. Now the EU is plotting something even more sinister, spending £2 million on internet trolls to subvert online Eurosceptic debate. According to the leaked document:

“[European] Parliament’s institutional communicators must have the ability to monitor public conversation and sentiment on the ground and in real time, to understand ‘trending topics’ and have the capacity to react quickly, in a targeted and relevant manner, to join in and influence the conversation, for example, by providing facts and figures to deconstructing myths. Particular attention needs to be paid to the countries that have experienced a surge in Euroscepticism.”

So if readers ever come across a Europhile in the comments, beware they may be a taxpayer-funded astroturfing EU troll…

Nick v Nigel

Clegg has decided to martyr himself for the European cause, challenging Farage to a debate on the EU on LBC this morning. Ironic that the LibDems are actually showing some principle for once and are only going to be punished for it…

It’s a win win for Farage, but will also help Nick’s differentiation strategy. If the event is high-profile enough, it could also help Downing Street’s goal of a one on one debate with Miliband at some point… 

UPDATE: UKIP have responded. Farage is not agreeing to a debate yet…

Marr: Boy George and Barroso

Dobbs Bemoans Lack of Whip Action Over EU Bill

As Lord Dobbs prepares for the launch of Season Two of House of Cards on Friday, Guido can report a Machiavellian plot worthy of his characters. The progress of the EU Referendum Bill came to a grinding halt when the Lords voted against it. The vote turnout was a surprisingly low 310 out of a potential 800, on a subject that really brings old Tory lords to life. Some 90 Tory Lords were missing during the vote. Dobbs led in the Lords for the Tories and has privately voiced his dismay to friends at the lack of effort put in by the Tory whips in the Lords. Cynical old hands suspect that it suits Dave only to be seen to be pushing for a referendum bill with opponents voting it down.

It highlights to the public that it is the Tories and not UKIP which can bring about a referendum and unites Tory MPs under one banner in an endless war. You might say that actually passing the Bill would mean the PM would be closer to actually having to do something about the EU. Guido couldn’t possibly comment.

Quote of the Day

EU Commission vice president Viviane Reding speaking in London:

“The most powerful parliament in Europe is the European Parliament. Seventy per cent of laws in this country are co-decided there. There will be no repatriation of EU powers.”

The War of Jenkin's Dear

The Times Diary is tipping Andrew Lansley for our next EU Commissioner, with Andrew Mitchell still owed a favour, however Guido hears another name is in the frame for the job. Staunch Tory Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkins’s reputation took a big hit after he mistakenly claimed 95 Tory MPs had signed a letter to the PM demanding powers be clawed back from Europe only for the letter not to arrive and dozens of the alleged signatories deny they had even put their names to it. Now revenge is in the air. Bernard Jenkins has been heard to openly opine on Cameron’s lack of female ministers and the “unconscious slights to women”. The joke doing the rounds is that Jenkin’s wife Anne, the Tory Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, could be made a government minister. Or better still replace Cathy Ashton…

US Assistant Secretary of State: "F**k the EU"

According to Kyiv Post, this is a leaked recording of US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discussing a plan for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to help sort out the situation in the country:

Assistant Secretary of State Nuland: “That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and, you know, f**k the EU.”

Ambassador Pyatt: “Exactly.”

Always good to hear our transatlantic allies share our values…

Wharton Bill Dead

Labour and LibDem peers have voted 180-130 to adjourn the Wharton bill, effectively rendering the attempt to secure a referendum dead. So no law requiring a referendum in 2017, unless the Tories decided to invoke the Parliament Act. Incidentally, the Euro elections are in 111 days…

UPDATE:

Yet More EU Waste

The European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Division looks like a fun place to work…

Lords Kill EU Referendum Bill

Wrecking amendment after wrecking amendment laid down in the Lords today, with George “Fatty” Foulkes trying every trick in the book to stop the public from getting a say on Europe. The Tories are accusing Labour and the LibDems of organising an unofficial whipped vote against the Bill, with Bill Cash now saying it is dead. Tellingly, in a barely literate press release, Foulkes says of the filibuster amendments that he himself tabled:

“most amendments do not represtent Lord Foulkes’ [sic] opinions/wishes.”

The Tories blocking Lords reform doesn’t seem so clever now…

The ‘People’s Peer’ Who Doesn’t Want the People to Have a Say

Crossbencher Lord Hannay has been doing his best Peter Mandelson impression in the EU referendum debate this morning, moaning that the current question “isn’t on a level playing field”. For some reason this leading negotiator in Britain’s membership application of the then EEC, not to mention our Ambassador to the EU, doesn’t want to give the people a say on Europe. He has his name down on eight wrecking amendments trying to scupper the bill. Which is particularly ironic given he is a so-called ‘People’s Peer’, having applied for the grandly-titled role himself back in 2001…

WATCH: Taking the Fear Out of Brexit

A teaser for David Campbell Bannerman’s documentary investigating the myths surrounding Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Farage is Prime Time Greek Hero

Greece has taken over the EU presidency and Nigel Farage welcomed it in style. His speech attacking the Greek political classes got shown on prime time news in Greece. With hundreds of thousands of views the YouTube of his speech telling Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that his country is now under foreign control “run by Big Business, Big Banks and Big Bureaucrats” has gone viral in Greece…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Former public schoolboy Chuka Umunna told the  ‘Exit From Brexit Dinner’…

“Remainians, Remoaners, I don’t care what the label is, I’m proud. It’s fashionable to label everyone in this room as the liberal metropolitan elite . . . This caricature is promoted by a bunch of former public schoolboys!” 

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