Cambridge Analytica’s poundshop Bond villain and bullsh*tter extraordinaire Alexander Nix says he is considering resigning after he was filmed telling an undercover reporter he could entrap politicians with Ukrainian prostitutes. Nix tells the Times: “If that is going to help the company that is the right thing to happen”. It seems he was making all this up to land a client and his comical exaggerations could see him having to quit over something he hasn’t actually done. Not as clever as he thinks he is.
IDS: We want to take back control, and that includes taking back control of our fishing waters pic.twitter.com/4QRH9v7CjY
— Leave Means Leave (@LeaveMnsLeave) March 19, 2018
They’ve had time to mullet over and the verdict from Tory MPs on the fishing section of the transition deal is in: cod do better. The rebellion is already on a significant scale – Number 10 will be reeling from these quotes (via David Scullion):
Douglas Ross MP: “The UK Government has delivered far less than I hoped and expected… it would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than to try to sell this as a success.”
Ross Thomson MP: “Be clear that UK national ﬁsheries resources are not negotiable and that we will therefore be setting our own ﬁsheries policy from 29 March 2019. We cannot remain party to the OFF during the proposed implementation period.”
Ruth Davidson: “Having spoken to fishing leaders today, I know they’re deeply frustrated with this outcome. There is no ignoring the fact that this falls short of what they had hoped for in the short-term.”
Iain Duncan Smith: “There does seem to be a real concern… it appears that at least through the implementation period nothing will change, and I think that will be a concern and the government clearly has to deal with that because a lot of MPs are very uneasy about that right now.”
Richard Tice, Leave Means Leave: “Under the current plans, we will not be taking back control of our fisheries when we leave the EU – something which the Government had previously promised. Ruth Davidson is absolutely right on this – our fishermen must have absolute control of our waters and fish from the end of March 2019 and anything less is totally unacceptable.”
Fishing for Leave: “[David Davis] should stay in Brussels as his allegiance is obviously to the EU ring of stars not Her Majesty the Queen or the British people.”
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation: “It’s far short of an acceptable deal – we leave the OFF and hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later.”
Meanwhile Open Europe’s Henry Newman is reporting that Whitehall officials are advocating that the UK should give up fishing rights and that Hammond is not interested in defending the fishing industry. Hyped up rows over the transition have traditionally been a bit of a red herring. But this is not going swimmingly.
UPDATE: Scottish Tory MPs have been called in to see chief whip Julian Smith over the rebellion.
UPDATE II: Worth remembering that this row is largely over what will happen during one year of the transition. The annual catch is decided in December of each year, so in December 2018 the UK will be involved as we are now in determining catch and distribution for 2019 – year one of the transition. It’s year two of the transition, 2020, that is causing concern. The upside is that, even though the UK will only be “consulted“, Brussels has agreed the catch size will be exactly the same so at least we do not lose out, even if we are not taking back control that year. By 2021 the UK will be negotiating fishing rights as an independent coastal state and fully taking back control of our waters. The end state sounds acceptable, Number 10 will be hoping MPs can live with that one year of compromise in the meantime…
Former Kremlin adviser and all-round nutjob Alexander Nekrassov tells Good Morning Britain “Jeremy Corbyn was right”. He even says there is no evidence the Skripals were even attacked. As if further proof were needed that Jezza and Seumas are Russia’s not-very useful idiots…
“We can’t see a record of that person attending that event, but we are looking into it”.@BrandonLewis comments on @GuidoFawkes report of the Russian official that attended an exclusive summer party with top Conservatives #Peston pic.twitter.com/8fg3PxAow7
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) March 18, 2018
Pesto asked Brandon Lewis about the Spectator story of the Russian spy at the summer party. Brandon says the spy wasn’t on the guest list. He was there however…
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) March 18, 2018
McDonnell says he agrees with Theresa May that Putin is responsible. More differentiation between the Shadow Chancellor and Labour leader. Has he seen the polling?
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson explains why he said it was “overwhelmingly likely” Vladimir Putin ordered the nerve agent attack in Salisbury #Marr https://t.co/UjqlRZwAx6 pic.twitter.com/4bWm4x3Z39
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 18, 2018
“We actually have evidence, within the last ten years, that not only has Russia been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok itself.”
The major news from Boris this morning…
Porton Down could be the source of the nerve agent used in the attack in Salisbury, suggests Vladimir Chizhov
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) March 18, 2018
Russia’s ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov suggests Porton Down could have been behind the nerve agent used in the attack on the Skripals, noting it is only 8 miles from Salisbury. Boris hits back: “This is not the response of a country that believes itself to be innocent”.
“This is not the response of a country that believes itself to be innocent”@BorisJohnson says Vladimir Chizhov’s suggestion that the UK research laboratory Porton Down is the source of the nerve agent is “satirical” #marr pic.twitter.com/jMQeoLjUlw
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) March 18, 2018
Russia going the full Craig Murray…
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 16, 2018
“We think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK.”
Over to you Seumas…
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) 15 March 2018
Keir Starmer is the most senior Shadow Cabinet minister so far to publicly abandon Jeremy Corbyn over his position on Russia. On Question Time last night Starmer said the attack should be “condemned by all of us without reservation” and that Russia was responsible – “no ifs, no buts”. Starmer strongly backed the government and Theresa May…
Starmer’s intervention followed the publication of an article in the Guardian last night by Jezza in which he doubled down on his previous statements to the Commons. In the piece he again directly refused to blame Russia for the attack. Instead he suggested the government had taken a “McCarthyite” stance. Jezza wrote:
“This horrific event demands first of all the most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation, conducted by our police and security services. To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.”
The article came as a Sky Data poll found just 18% of people thought Corbyn was doing a good job over the Russia crisis. Will this damaging week move the polls?
The Prime Minister had her most successful walkabout ever in Salisbury this morning. She even knew how to do a fistbump…
Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith was at odds with her leader over his response to Russia’s suspected poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Griffiths told BBC Radio 4:
“We very much accept that what the prime minister said – this is a very sophisticated nerve agent and Russia is responsible for this attack and therefore we’re fully supporting the measures which the government is taking, including the expulsion of 23 diplomats.”
That’s much tougher than Corbyn’s words in the Commons yesterday. Griffith also said of Seumas: “I cannot speak for Seumas Milne. He has to speak for himself.” Griffith and Team Corbyn have a long history of falling out, particularly over NATO and nukes…
Her line and overnight pressure following Milne’s briefing has bounced Corbyn’s office politburo into revising their position. They now say:
“The Government has laid out two alternatives: that Russia is either directly responsible or culpable because it lost control of this nerve agent. Yesterday, we agreed that the evidence overwhelmingly points to those two alternatives. The Russian authorities must be held to account on the basis of the evidence and our response must be both decisive and proportionate.”
Too late, the damage is done…
Theresa May slammed Jeremy Corbyn for his lack of support over the Russian spy poisoning crisis. The Prime Minister told Jezza:
“There is a consensus across the backbenches of this House. I am only sorry that this consesnsus does not go as far as the Right Honourable Gentleman, who could have taken the opportunity as the UK government has done to condemn the cuplability of the Russian state.”
This will lead all the news bulletins tonight, the press will crucify Corbyn tomorrow, his own Labour MPs have disowned him and sided with the PM.
In this type situation Guido would normally expect the leader of the oppostion’s spin doctor to back pedal in the Lobby briefing huddle that follows, he would “clarify” and nuance the wording. Emphasise the more conventional parts of the argument to soften the inevitably hostile headlines coming tomorrow. When that spin-doctor is Seumas Milne however it seems there was to be no compromising on Putin’s line. Under intense questioning he refused to say that the Labour Party’s leader accepted the Russian state was at fault:
“The government has access to information and intelligence on this matter which others don‘t. However, also there is a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly. So, I think the right approach is to seek the evidence to follow international treaties, particularly in relation to prohibitive chemical weapons.”
When Lobby hacks pressed Milne as to if Corbyn believed Russia was responsible for the attack, Milne said the PM continued to leave open the possibility that Russia had lost control of the nerve agent. Milne prefers to doubt MI6 and give the benefit of the doubt to the FSB….
“I won’t be producing a Red Book today, Mr Speaker, but of course I can’t speak for the Rt Hon Gentleman opposite” @PhilipHammondUK
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) 13 March 2018
This one-liner from Hammo at McDonnell’s expense was a cracker, but thankfully not as many jokes as last time round. So far…
BBC: You made a comment about all the white faces in front of you. But the fact is you said people who voted for Brexit, an awful lot of them were white.
Cable: That is the case, and that it was a nostalgia for that world, and I think there’s a couple of bits of evidence which support that. I mean, first of all, some of the most effective propaganda at the time, you may remember Farage’s advertisement where queues of dark faced people and that was how the arguments about immigration was presented. The – you know – I spent a lot of the referendum campaign going round, you know, mostly in sort of prosperous country areas, they weren’t deprived areas of the North and the overwhelming reason people were giving for voting the way they were, and they were predominantly older groups, were about immigration and when people thought about immigration they weren’t predominantly thinking about people from Eastern Europe.
Vince Cable unapologetic about his attempt over the weekend to suggest the 52% are a load of old racists…
“Russia is a threat to our country and we should respond robustly”: @Jacob_Rees_Mogg comments on the Russian bots linked to his Twitter account and the action government should take over the Salisbury incident #Peston pic.twitter.com/7WGKEjHQVa
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) March 11, 2018
Peston made a curious attempt to suggest Rees-Mogg is backed by Russian bots – even though the whole Russian bots thing has been comprehensively debunked. The Mogg was having none of it…
Marr: “Is it worth it?”
Hammond: “Yes. Financial services is a very important part of our economy…”
Marr: “Not the financial services negotiation – is Brexit worth it?”
Hammond: “Oh the whole thing?”
Marr: “Yeah, the whole thing.”
Hammond: “Look, the British people have decided that we are leaving the European Union and that’s what we’re doing.”
Asked if Brexit is worth it, Hammond misunderstands the question and replies: “Yes”. Then quickly corrects himself…
John McDonnell says he won’t be appearing on Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today again, describing the channel’s coverage as going “beyond objective journalism” at times #marr pic.twitter.com/no0EjSnThz
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 11, 2018
McDonnell orders Labour MPs to stop going on Russia Today.[…] Read the rest