Saturday 7-Up

This week 199,747 visitors visited 633,085 times viewing 973,581 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

Big hitters on BBC1 at 10:45 tonight. Worth tuning in…

First Look: Channel 4’s Brexit Drama

Channel 4 have released a teaser trailer for their upcoming Brexit drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Vote Leave supremo Dominic Cummings. The trailer doesn’t necessarily calm the suspicions that this is going to be more of a Cadwalladr-inspired techno-conspiracy than a serious political drama. Will they have to dramatically rewrite their script after the Information Commissioner blew apart Carole’s conspiracies today?

Runners & Riders: Sky Pol Ed

After four years at Sky as political editor, Faisal Islam is off to the BBC to become their economics editor. As ever Guido brings you likely runners & riders:

Beth Rigby – she wants it and many viewers think she’s already the pol ed. Must be in with a good chance.

Sophy Ridge – conflicting information as to if she really wants the job, which entails being on the road a lot, given a young child at home. Sky are a progressive employer so they would want to make it work for her. No doubt she could do it.

Chris Mason – if Sky wants to get one back from the BBC Mason would be an obvious choice. Mason might feel that Laura Kuenssberg is going to be in position for a long time and this is a chance for promotion and more money. Is rumoured to be interested in a move.

Nick Watt – again Sky could get their own back on the BBC by pinching Nick from Newsnight. Is he tired of the late nights?

Ross Hawkins – seems a bit frustrated on BBC radio. Could be interested.

Tom Newton-Dunn – a regular on Sky’s late night paper review, Tom’s enthusiasm for appearing on television is well known. Not sure if Sky’s executives share his enthusiasm…

Lewis Goodall – just too young, too Labour and too irritating?

Paul Brand – if Sky were to cast their net further afield – ITV’s political correspondent has had a few eye catching scoops lately.

Ed Conway – Impressive journalist and writes authoritatively about economics. During elections he has covered politics well. Guido’s outside bet.

Amol Rajanhas not publicly ruled himself out for the job.

Channel 4 News is a “Fake News Propaganda Channel” – Banks


Banks got positively Trumpian on his way out of the BBC after doing his Marr interview. Accusing Channel 4 News of being a “fake news propaganda channel”. Banks is clearly still sore from the bonkers accusations by the show that he tried to start an African coup with a couple of handguns bought for security guards at a mine in which he has a financial interest. The bizarre allegations amounted to nothing.

Channel 4 News is getting increasingly tetchy about being boycotted by government ministers and other Conservative politicians. The situation should hardly surprise them given that they are at times more of a campaigning organisation than a news organisation. Their anchorman reportedly wants to “f**k the Tories”. That’s fine if you are a newspaper or, dare Guido say, a website that does campaigning journalism. The standards are very different for a regulated news broadcaster. Channel 4 News doesn’t seem to even pretend to seek objectivity nowadays…

Saturday 7-Up

This week 177,035 visitors visited 581,781 times viewing 970,841 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

Was Hain Allowed to Use Parliamentary Privilege to Break Philip Green Injunction?

Peter Hain has heavily defended his use of Parliamentary Privilege to name Philip Green as the businessman behind the injunction against the Telegraph. But was he even allowed to do so?

Under a resolution on Parliamentary Privilege which the House of Lords adopted on 11 May 2000, Peers cannot use their Parliamentary Privilege to refer to any cases which are currently Sub judice – i.e. undergoing active legal proceedings – unless they have secured the approval of the Lords Speaker to do so at least 24 hours in advance. It also stipulates that “the exercise of the Speaker’s discretion may not be challenged in the House.” Did Hain seek formal approval from Lord Fowler in advance?

Additionally, the resolution sets out that the Lords Speaker should only grant permission for the Sub judice rule to be waived when, in their opinion, “a case concerns national importance such as the economy, public order or the essential services”. It may have covered the front pages but it is hard to argue that the Green case fell into any of these categories…

Who Is On Question Time Tonight?

An abundance of freedom-fighting heroes on the panel tonight in Clacton-on-Sea. Should be a good one…

Shadow Cabinet Minister’s Twitter Blocking Spree

Labour’s Shadow Secretary for International Development Kate Osamor has been busy blocking political journalists left right and centre on Twitter. The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar has found herself blocked despite never having interacted with Osamor online. Other victims include The Sun‘s Hugo Gye, PoliticsHome’s Kevin Schofield, the i’s Benjamin Butterworth, and Daily Mail journalists John Stevens and Tom Payne who broke the story about her son’s massive drug bust. Guido really can’t understand in what world Osamor considers this to be a smart or reputable political tactic…

Police Rubbish Remoaner Conspiracy

Remoaners have been working themselves up into a tizzy over the last few weeks over an Open Democracy report which claimed that the police weren’t investigating the Leave campaigns due to “political sensitivities”. Carole was all over it, David Lammy had a Twitter tantrum while 74 MPs, Peers and MEPs including Vince Cable, Chuka Umunna and Lammy signed Ben Bradshaw and Molly Scott Cato’s cranky letter to the Police. Damian Collins even had a stern-looking Observer photoshoot

The Met Police’s response has left the conspiracy brigade looking incredibly silly. Far from “stalling” the investigation, the police revealed that they had only received over 2,000 documents relating to the case from the Electoral Commission last month and were therefore still assessing the documents. No conspiracy, just another Electoral Commission cock-up…

They also issued a stern rebuke to Bradshaw and Scott Cato’s suggestion that they had “been approached by government representatives to suggest that you soft-pedal this investigation due to political sensitivities”, revealing that the only people who had been putting them under political pressure were them and their fellow Remoaners:

“The operational independence of the police is central to our policing system. There has been no contact from any government representative making enquiries into the status of the MPS enquiries. The only approach from any elected politician, political party, official or representative has been your correspondence, or similar correspondence from other seeking the MPS undertakes a wide ranging investigation into the EU referendum.”

The only ones trying to externally influence the police are the ones shouting loudest about “police independence”…

Small Victory for Guido’s Think Tank Transparency Campaign

Followers of Guido on Twitter will be aware of his long-running campaign against the BBC prefixing introductions that frame the think tank guest for the listener or viewer. It always seems to Guido that centrist think tanks are described as “respected” as in “the respected IFS”, right-of-centre think tanks are described as “right-wing” [boo, hiss], left-wing think tanks tend to get no framing.

So it was this morning as the news presenter on Radio 4 reported on a press release from the think tank run by Ed Miliband’s former policy adviser:

Then as if by magic in the next news bulletin;

 

Victory! They suffixed the Resolution Foundation as “left-leaning”.

The serious point is that this framing by the BBC is uneven. The BBC clearly thinks that viewers and listeners are too stupid to know where guests are coming from politically. Guido thinks they should let the audience judge for themselves and so long as there are guests from across the spectrum, balance will be maintained. If they won’t do that perhaps they should let guests self-identify…

Who Was the “Intimately Involved in the Case” Hain Leaker?

Following Friday’s revelations, Lord Hain claims that his breaching of the injunction was “in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case… Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords.” Guido understands Gordon Dadds were indeed furious with Hain…

What isn’t explained is how Hain could not know that the firm he advises was involved, given their name is on the front page of the widely circulated injunction to which he was referring. Is he going to claim to be incompetent again – as he did when he was forced to resign from the Cabinet?

The Telegraph’s Editor Emeritus Ian MacGregor tells Guido that, contrary to the rumour reported here on Saturday, “I did not discuss the Green case with Lord Hain. I have not spoken to him for around 5 years to the best of my recollection. I was on holiday last week and was unaware of the identity of the Claimants until revealed by Lord Hain in the House of Lords.” Guido is happy to accept his assurance.

So who did tell Hain? How independent was Hain’s “independent decision” exactly?  He said it was someone “intimately involved” in the case – it is unlikely to be a lawyer. Philip Green is livid of course, “As many people have said, Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgement made by three senior judges is outrageous.” Green takes a very dim view of Hain’s financial relationship with his enemy’s law firm.

A clue to the source is perhaps that when Hain named Philip Green in the House of Lords on Thursday at 14:43, The Telegraph were the first to report the naming an impressively few minutes later. Nobody else noticed…

Hammond on No Deal Impact

“If we leave with no deal we will be in a different set of circumstances and it would require a different approach.”

Hammond: I Believe in Universal Credit

Saturday 7-Up

This week 195,784 visitors visited 594,391 times viewing 904,767 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

Hain is Paid Adviser to Telegraph’s Lawyers

Great scoop from our friends at Legal Cheek, spotting that Peter Hain is a paid adviser to Gordon Dadds, the law firm who are representing The Telegraph in their fight to overturn Philip Green’s injunctions. Now whatever your view of super-injunctions – Guido is against them – it is not a good idea for lawyers or those working for lawyers to break them. It is also a bad idea for parliamentarians to act in the clear interests of people who pay them within parliament. In fact it is against the rules. Arguably Hain has helped the firm he advises circumvent the injunction and fatally undermined its efficacy.

Hain did say when he used privilege that he had been “in contact with someone intimately involved in the case”:

Sounds like that could be a lawyer working on the case. Judges do not take kindly to this kind of shenanigans and there could be repurcussions for the Gordon Dadds firm if they are found to have conspired with Hain to breach the injunction…

UPDATE: Lord Hain has responded in a statement claiming he was “completely unaware” Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph:

“I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House Of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case. Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords”

Well, he would say that…

Henry VIII vs Theresa May

When asked who would he rather have negotiating a Brexit deal, David Starkey was cutting. “I think the answer is a bit obvious”…

Political Drilling MP-Style

Channel 4 took some of the more violent language used by MPs and demonstrated that it would not be out of place in a drill rap. For the record Guido doesn’t really think there’s a serious issue with MPs engaging in the creative use of metaphor…

Will Watson Shift from Media Critic to Media Star?

When Guido bumped into Tom Watson at the Labour Party Conference he offered some weight loss advice. Media professionals say TV adds 20 pounds (10 kilos) to you, and Tom has lost much, much more than that. This has led to a persistent rumour: given Tom can see the writing on the wall that without a doubt the Corbynistas will eventually oust him as deputy leader, he will seek a media career rather than struggling on as backbencher in a far-left permanent-opposition party. Similar to how Nigel Farage has done…

By coincidence he is standing in tonight for Nigel on LBC. Lets see how he does. Don’t be surprised if Tom gets a caller from Waterford on line 1…

Moment Hain Names Philip Green as #MeToo Super-Injunction Businessman

Peter Hain has used his parliamentary privilege to name Topshop boss Sir Philip Green in the House of Lords as the businessman with a super-injunction out against a new #MeToo scandal being reported. For those who didn’t get the “gags to riches” clue in The Sun’s headline this morning…[…] Read the rest

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