Starmer: We Will Start Contempt Proceedings

“If they don’t produce [the Government’s Brexit deal legal advice in full] tomorrow then we will start contempt proceedings.”

Gareth Southgate’s Brexit Comments Slapped Down

England Manager Gareth Southgate has become the latest footballer to weigh in on Brexit. He told an ITV 4 documentary broadcast last night that he thought the “undertones of voting on Brexit were racial undertones.” On today’s Politics Live, ConservativeHome’s Mark Wallace delivered two key rebuttals to this tired Remainer refrain.

  1. “There is a huge difference between the idea that some people who voted leave were very concerned about immigration, or the right to control borders and choose your own immigration policy democratically, and ‘racial undertones.’ I think those are different things.”
  2. “The Prime Minister, if anything in this deal, she’s prioritised immigration above all other things, particularly above wider sovereignty and democracy in the UK, and leave voters don’t like it.”

Southgate is wrong and Wallace is right, voting Leave was about the fundamental question of who governs Britain, not solely the question of immigration…

Ashcroft Writing Biography of Jacob Rees-Mogg

Michael Ashcroft is writing a biography of the Moggster with the working title “Jacob’s Ladder” to be published by his publisher Biteback this summer. Which is likely to be too late to influence a Tory leadership election…

Lord Ashcroft thinks Rees-Mogg stands out among the current crop of politicians. This work will be on top of the book he is already writing – with regular collaborator Isabel Oakeshott – on the NHS. His biography of Cameron was seen as a revenge piece, the Moggster will be hoping for a kinder treatment…

Seumas Evasive Over TV Debates

Downing Street are very bullish on making a May v Corbyn TV debate happen. They have lined up the BBC, Labour say they prefer ITV’s format and earlier timing. The Tories think May’s concrete plan will contrast well with Corbyn’s evasiveness and ambiguity with viewers. They claim Seumas Milne knows that and is making excuses to avoid the head-to-head. We have put our chicken on standby for Seumas if he continues to try to wriggle out of the debate. Guido thinks it will be a laugh to watch May pretend she is enthusiastic about Brexit and Corbyn pretend he would prefer Britain to remain in the EU…

Daily Mail’s Financial Editor Organising Business Letter To Support May

The Daily Mail’s Ruth Sutherland is busy ringing round business leaders to sign a letter backing the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement. In 2017 the Tories internally banned the use of open letters during the election campaign, after the almost comical deluge of experts’ letters during the 2016 referendum…

This new letter, leaked to Guido, stresses that May’s deal is “not perfect” but that people and businesses should back it out of pragmatism.

Read it in full here, before it makes the Mail’s front page…

“The Prime Minister’s deal is not perfect but it is clear to business that politicians should back it as a pragmatic way forward.

The deal reduces short-term uncertainty, which has already had a chilling effect on investment, and clears the way for a future trade deals. The longer the possibility of a no deal exit remains, the greater the risks to investment and jobs.

We hope MPs will listen to the companies in their constituencies which provide jobs and incomes for the people who put them in Parliament. We urge them to get behind the Prime Minister’s deal so business can get on with its job of creating wealth for the country.”

The Internet Never Forgets…

Journalist Harriet Williamson has a large backlog of tweets slagging off one particular newspaper. In other news Guido would like to congratulate Harriet in her new freelancing role as Digital Features writer for… The Sun!

Quentin Letts Gone from Daily Mail

Technically Quentin Letts was a freelancer, so he has not really been fired or resigned. His sketches for the Daily Mail were famously and brilliantly poisonous. Quentin’s not a fan of Theresa May and is an ardent Brexiteer – so very much out of tune with the new editor Geordie Greig. Quentin has of late been doing pieces for the Sunday Telegraph and he started out on on The Telegraph. Guido understands that Michael Deacon can relax, we are more likely to be seeing Quentin writing for The Sun and The Times. A source inside Northcliffe House tells Guido “Dacre will rupture his spleen laughing so hard”. Quentin is one of the hardest working and highest paid hacks in the business…

UPDATE: Guido understands Quentin will be doing a fortnightly column for The Sun, sketching for The Times and theatre reviews for the Sunday Times. Guido was outbid for him…

UPDATE: News UK have put a press release out quoting Quentin saying

“’It is a privilege to write for any newspaper, doubly so when it is as central to British public life as The Times, The Sunday Times or The Sun. I have had 18 busy and happy years at the Mail but am now excited to be venturing forth – and particularly to be returning to The Times, having been its New York correspondent several moons ago.”

 

Daily Mail’s Own Poll Found Public Backs ‘No Deal’

This is the most extraordinary front page of the Daily Mail’s new era under Geordie Grieg. It claims voters want Tory MPs to “rally behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal” based on a Survation poll.

What the Daily Mail’s front page has done is ignore the key result that Survation found. When asked to choose between Theresa May’s withdrawal plan and leaving the EU with “No Deal”, voters opt for “No Deal” by 41% to 35%. Extraordinary from Geordie…

UPDATE: The Daily Mail has made strong representations that our previous headline “Daily Mail Twists Own Poll Results, Public Opposes May’s Deal, Frontpage Headline Says Opposite” was unfair and untrue. On further reflection we accept that we were quoting from two different polls commissioned by the Daily Mail two weeks apart. We have now changed the headline and the content of this story. We accept that their front page story reflects accurately and truthfully data from the second poll. We apologise in particular to Simon Walters.

Owen Jones Mass Deletes Thousands of Old Tweets

A handy feature of the ‘Deleted By MPs’ Twitter account is that it also notifies followers when a tweet retweeted by an MP disappears – meaning if someone who is regularly retweeted by MPs deletes a whole load of their old tweets, it’s easy to spot. This evening, it’s very easy to spot Owen Jones’ mass deleting spree. What is he trying to hide?

Rebirth ofThe Telegraph

It wasn’t so long ago that reports of axings of Telegraph hacks were almost daily as it transitioned from being the paper of Bill Deedes into a sort of moderately right-of-centre Buzzfeed/Huffington Post – complete with listicles and tawdry clickbait. It appeared to be in a death spiral…

Of late it seems to have found its feet again, stability has returned and the paper’s columnists are a strong line up. So much so that Guido has even bought an online subscription at £1-a-week to enjoy reading Juliet Samuel, Quentin Letts, Boris and Allister Heath – particularly enjoy him castigating Corbyn’s “proto-communism”. The Guardian’s columnists verge on parody and can only be read for laughs, with even their sensible columnists driven mad by Brexit. The Times has a strong line-up of commentators too, though Iain Martin seems to be the only regular Brexiter. Fink’s columns are always food for thought and Hugo Rifkind is both irritating and funny, Matthew Parris is still a good read despite his remainia. No idea what is going on at the Indy…

Guido hears that in the past few weeks Telegraph executives have noticed a sharp rise in the numbers of people taking new subscriptions to the paper. The not unsurprising theory is that many of these are former Daily Mail readers unhappy with the anti-Brexity direction the Mail has taken under new editor Geordie Greig. Torygraph marketing types are planning a sales push in areas of the country that voted Leave. Internally, the initiative has been labelled ‘Project Newcastle’ – because it is all thanks to Geordie…

Mr Blobby’s Verdict on Theresa May

Renowned political commentator Mr. Blobby has finally weighed in on the Prime Minister’s position. By the sounds of things he thinks she’s a gonner…

Saturday 7-Up

This week 239,632 visitors visited 834,392 times viewing 1,481,979 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Andrew Neil Burns Bercow

Andrew Neil had a sly dig at the Speaker after PMQs ended after only 43 minutes today, joking that Bercow only ended it early “probably because he knows that we come out of it now… so he won’t be on television himself”. Not before Bercow had taken the chance to use one of his many interruptions to lecture MPs about “respect and good behaviour” in Parliament. Without a hint of irony…

Osborne’s Brutal Front Page

George Osborne’s Evening Standard isn’t holding back, dropping this front page just in time for PMQs. George making another trip to the freezer…

What Did Andrew Neil Get Up To Last Night?

Andrew Neil revealed least night that he had received a surprising request to rap Nicki Minaj’s Starships at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. MC Neil is no stranger to musical performance, best known for his 2010 hit single Election Day.

This surprising revelation came during a night of heavy tweeting from Brillo, where he defended Jon Snow getting down wiv da yooth shouting ‘f**k the Tories’, lambasted the lack of balance in BBC comedy, and trolled the FBPE trolls. He also called Channel 4 News “the broadcasting arm of the Guardian”, Bobby Gillespie a “miserable jock”, and conspiracist Carole a “mad cat woman“. Was his twitter account hacked by a blue nun..?

Chris Mason: Replace Me With Mr Blobby

The BBC’s Chris Mason offered to stand down in favour of Mr. Blobby live on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, arguing the Noel’s House Party character could offer analysis as good as his own. Don’t do yourself down…”

UPDATE: Sky Pol Ed Runners & Riders

Last week’s Runners & Riders on the Sky political editor role’s availability, now that Faisal Islam is off to the BBC to become their economics editor, brought more than the usual complaints and lobbying from those jockeying for position and their friends. Proving once again that journalists don’t like to be on the receiving end of journalism…

One justified complaint was that Guido had made a glaring omission – Niall Paterson. Fans of Niall are right to say he must be in with a good chance. He stood in successfully for Sophy Ridge during her maternity leave and he knows his way round SW1 as a former political correspondent at Millbank. Currently co-presenting the weekday breakfast show he could easily switch to the pol ed job. Guido would give him short odds for the job…

Labour ‘Won’t Save the Government’ in Brexit Deal Vote

Emily Thornberry confirmed to Marr this morning that Labour is intent on voting down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in the hope of forcing a general election. The clock is ticking, and as things stand the UK will automatically leave the EU in 138 days.

Army “Ready To Help” In Event of No Deal

Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter revealed this morning that the Army has “not been asked to do anything specifically at this particular stage” by the Government in relation to Brexit contingency measures, but that if there isn’t a deal we stand ready to help in any way we can.”

Ellwood: Stop Speculating About May’s Brexit Deal

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