Government Borrowing Falls to Lowest Level Since 2001

The public finances continue to be in better and better shape despite Brexit approaching, with the latest ONS figures showing borrowing in the financial year-to-date at its lowest level since 2001. This puts the Government on track to come in under its OBR target of £25.5 billion net borrowing for the year. This is a step in the right direction but it is still £25.5 billion added to the national debt of almost £1.8 trillion – there is no excuse for any government to turn its back on fiscal responsibility…

Excluding state-owned banks, public net borrowing actually recorded a January surplus of £14.9 billion, the largest since records began in 1993. It was fuelled by record high tax takings, with self-assessed Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax January receipts both at their highest levels since records began. Record tax takings is hardly what you’d expect from a party that has genuinely been “taken over by the right” as Anna Soubry likes to claim…

Heidi Allen Doesn’t Want You To Watch This Video

In fact all of the Tory TIGgers promised to respect the result of the referendum as they campaigned in 2017. You can encourage them to do the decent thing and call by-elections by signing this petition

Soubry Accuses May of Having “Personal” Problem With Immigration

Anna Soubry has not held back with her personal criticisms of Theresa May since quitting the Tories and launched into another attack against May on Newsnight last night, accusing her of having a “problem with immigration”. Soubry insisted that it went beyond policy and was “personal”, and even claimed it was the only reason May hadn’t backed the UK staying in the single market. “She just has a thing about immigration”…

While it’s true that May has generally been holding out within Government against more flexible immigration policies favoured by many of her ministers, particularly on students, it’s a bit glib for Soubry to say “I don’t know where the hell it’s come from”. Has she already forgotten about the referendum three years ago?

Soubry’s old comrade-in-arms Dominic Grieve was also on Newsnight, confirming that he would “have to leave” the Tories if they were heading for a no-deal Brexit, although he is clearly not as enthusiastic about the prospect as the three defectors. Between Soubry’s personal attacks on May and Heidi Allen’s comments that there hopefully “won’t be a Tory Party to go back to”, wavering Tories will already be getting cold feet about whether they really want to throw their lot in with them…

Derek Hatton Suspended By Labour After Just Two Days

The Liverpool Echo is reporting that hard left firebrand Derek Hatton has been suspended from the Labour Party again – just two days after he was readmitted to the party after being banned for 34 years. The whole Hatton affair has been an absolute farce from start to finish – what on earth are Labour playing at?

Tory Defections: Then and Now

The defection of the three Tory MPs to The Independents Group today has seen an outpouring of comments ranging from sadness to… sadness from their former Tory colleagues. Theresa May is “saddened”, David Cameron is “sad”, Claire Perry is “extremely sad”. All get thanks for their “dedicated service”, with the door being left open for them to return if they change their mind…

So presumably it was the same outpouring of thanks, hugs and condolences all round when Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless left for UKIP in 2014? Don’t be silly…

David Cameron branded Reckless’s decision “senseless and counter-productive” and accused Carswell of helping Labour. Carswell was accused of “betrayal”, “petulance” and “political vanity” by Tory MPs while Reckless was even sued by his former local party. All topped off with Claire “Brexit Jihadis” Perry’s ever classy “Don’t let the door hit your fat arse as you leave”…

Heidi Allen’s Desperate ‘We Haven’t Changed’ Fib To Avoid By-Elections

Earlier today, trying to wriggle out of holding people’s votes of their own constituents, Tory TIGger Heidi Allen said “We haven’t changed. What we stood on, our values, our own leaflets, our own campaigning when we stood in 2017, none of that has changed.” Except that doesn’t ring true with her campaigning in 2017…

  • Allen’s own leaflet said “we must respect the democratic outcome of the referendum and work positively together to ensure we make Brexit a success.” Even on the day of the election, Allen tweeted “I was a remainer, but the EU ref result is final and cannot be rerun.”
  • Her Tory TIGger colleague Anna Soubry also campaigned in 2017 saying she “will continue to honour the EU Referendum result. We are leaving the EU and must now get a good deal.”
  • The other Tory TIGger, Sarah Wollaston told one of her constituents in 2017 that “overall constituency voted leave 54%. I promised to respect the outcome.” Her own website informed her constituents that “Theresa May has confirmed that the Government will not seek to be in the single market. She has also been clear that no deal is better than a bad deal”

Day one and they’re already in full hypocrisy mode. Fibbing through their teeth all to avoid facing the people…

UPDATE: Guido brings you Sarah Wollaston’s 2017 election hustings highlights. This is what she told her leave voting constituents when they returned her to Parliament…

And here’s Honest Heidi…

Adam Boulton Accuses All Tory Brexiteers of Being “Far Right”

Sky‘s Adam Boulton has made the extraordinary assertion that Tories who support Brexit (i.e. the vast majority of the Tory Party) are “far right.” Staggering…

UPDATE: Boulton doubles down…

Hapless Labour Mayoral Candidate Can’t Explain His Brexit Position At All

Today Labour selected Momentum-backed Jamie Driscoll as their candidate for the new devolution deal post of North of Tyne MayorITV’s Joe Pike has struggled to ascertain whether he wants Brexit to happen or not, or whether he wants a second referendum or not. Comedy gold…

Timid Tiggers Hop Away From Interviews

Kay Burley revealed that both Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry have pulled out of interviews on Sky News this afternoon. Why are the Tory TIGgers so scared of Kay..?

UPDATE: They refused to put anyone forward for Politics Live today too…

David Cameron ‘Disagrees’ With Tory Defectors

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has emerged from hibernation in his shed put out a statement responding to the three Tory defections today, saying he respects their decision but disagrees with them. Pointedly he notes how the Conservative Party “has long been able to contain different views on Europe”. It always has, but now the pro-EU faction isn’t getting its own way for the first time in years they are calling it “entryism” and throwing their toys out of the pram…

No, There Isn’t a ‘Purple Momentum’

The Tory TIGs, Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston, and Anna Soubry, have claimed as a key reason for their defections was a “Purple Momentum” that is “subsuming the Conservative Party”. But is there any evidence of this or is it just an after-the event rationalisation?

Brandon Lewis today told the Conservative MPs WhatsApp group that a grand total of zero local associations have initiated deselections. The only association that comes close is Grantham and Stamford, who as far as Guido can make out are simply asking Nick Boles if he wishes to stand as a Conservative at the next election – as he has equivocated on that question in recent months. It’s not a deselection attempt if they’re actively asking you to stay on as a Conservative…

In March 2018 it was revealed that membership of the Conservative Party stands at 124,000 people. There is no evidence that this has changed significantly, despite a big membership drive from CCHQ itself. ConservativeHome did register a tiny bump in membership after Chequers was announced, of about ten new members per association. The 400,000 new Momentum flavoured members who have joined the Labour party it ain’t…

At the TIG press conference today, Sarah Wollaston referenced a “very aggressive and well funded social media campaign that is being waged against many of us, describing us as traitors, all sorts of language. The trouble is that that language has consequences, the deluge of really threatening calls that our staff have to deal with. It’s really horrible.”

No MP should receive threatening phone calls, nonetheless loopy phone calls do not amount to a ‘Purple Momentum’ deselection attempt. Sadly, all MPs receive threatening phone calls no matter what party they are in. There is no actual evidence that an infiltration has taken place beyond an entirely underwhelming Arron Banks social media campaign that was always more about self promotion than changing the Conservative Party.

The first iteration of Banks’ attempted ‘Blue Wave’ movement to infiltrate the Conservative Party has not been active since November. Now Leave.EU are trying it themselves, but to little success. Guido hears that the clickthrough rate from Leave.EU links to purchase Conservative Party membership are laughably low…

Don’t believe the ‘Purple Momentum’ bogeyman that these three Remain MPs have convinced themsleves exists. Don’t believe that Theresa May’s ‘Austerity is over’, high taxing, fiscal discipline abandoning, pro-tariff, ban-happy Conservative Party has somehow lurched to the right. It’s a convenient figment of their imaginations, all to justify their increasingly desperate quest to stop Brexit.

New £200 Million Port to be Built on the Thames at Tilbury

Brexit Britain is getting another boost with Chris Grayling giving the green light to Tilbury Port today to build a new £200 million port terminal in Thurrock on the Thames Estuary alongside the existing port. The new port will be privately funded and will be the UK’s largest unaccompanied ferry port and biggest construction processing hub when it opens in Spring 2020. It will be fully streamlined to use all the latest border technologies that Remainers like to pretend don’t exist, like AEO-trusted trader schemes…

Tilbury Port is projected to double the volume of cargo and increase the number of people it directly employs from 3,500 to 12,000 over the next decade or so as part of a £1 billion total investment – another vote of confidence in Brexit Britain as it prepares to turn outwards to the wider world. If May’s deal ever allows it…

Cambridgeshire Metro-Mayor Slams Heidi Allen’s Defection

The Conservative Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, has released a statement slamming the “foolish decision” of South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen to defect to The Independent Group. The Mayor has called on the pro-second referendum, formerly Conservative MP to call a by-election.

“It’s regrettable that Heidi Allen has felt it necessary to resign from the Conservative Party and join the new Independent Group of MPs.

I believe this to have been a foolish decision. The Conservative Party is a broad church and its right and proper that if the Conservative Party wants to remain the Party of Government this remains the case. It needs to be a Party where a range of different opinions are held and where healthy debate is encouraged…

I expect that Heidi believes she can get elected as an Independent Group MP, I therefore encourage her to put this to the test and to trigger a by election…

I hope Heidi enjoys her day in the limelight. In the meantime, South Cambridgeshire Conservatives need to unite and focus on ensuring that the next MP for South Cambridgeshire is a Conservative MP. I am one hundred per cent with them in this endeavour.”

Strong stuff…

Nick Boles: I’m Not Ready To Leave Conservatives… “Yet”

Former Skills Minister Nick Boles has announced that he is “not ready to give up on [The Consrvative Party] yet” in a tweet that does little to settle nerves within the Party. He said that he agrees “with so much of what my good friends [in The Independent Group] say”…

The phrasing of Boles’ tweet will not reassure members of his constituency association, most of whom will remember their Member before Boles, Quentin Davies, having defected from the Conservative Party to join Labour in 2007. Boles is a respected MP and if he were to take the drastic decision to defect it would be a sad day for the Conservative Party…

Tory Defectors Cross the Floor

The Tory defectors have crossed the floor to sit on the opposition benches with The Independent Group, following in the footsteps of Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler who crossed the floor to join the SDP in 1981. Auspicious…

Interestingly, the Independent Group’s press release claimed the trio had formally joined, while their own resignation letter only said they would sit “alongside” TIG and would still back the Tories in certain votes. Surely splits can’t be emerging already…

Defection PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab)
Q2 Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) (Con)
Q3 Eleanor Smith (Wolverhampton South West) (Lab)
Q4 Matthew Pennycook (Greenwich and Woolwich) (Lab)
Q5 Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) (Lab)
Q6 Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD)
Q7 Leo Docherty (Aldershot) (Con)
Q8 Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) (Lab)
Q9 Rosie Duffield (Canterbury) (Lab)
Q10 Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green)
Q11 David Linden (Glasgow East) (SNP)
Q12 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab)

No TIGers listed on the surprisingly short Order Paper but Bercow may well give them a question. Where will the Tory defectors decide to sit?

Parliament Blocks The Independent Group Website

Not going down well in their SW1 liberal elite core vote constituency..?

Theresa May “Saddened” by Tory Trio Breakaway

Theresa May has put out a statement in response to Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston choosing to quit the Tory Party, saying she is “saddened” by their decision. Many Tory MPs – including Brexiteers – share the same sentiments…

Tory Trio’s Resignation Letter to Theresa May

Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston Quit

They have joined The Independent Group. Developing…

“We no longer feel we can remain in the Party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP.”

They decided that they wouldn’t stay to reform the organisation from within, and opted to Leave…

Read their joint resignation letter here…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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Ken Livingstone deployed a corker on TalkRadio this afternoon…
“I joined the Labour Party 50 years ago this month and in all that time I have never heard a single anti-semitic comment.”

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