December Review: Partygate and Plan B

The ink was barely dry on the Sleazegate saga before another scandal hit Westminster. In the first week of the month, reports claimed Boris had broken lockdown rules by hosting – or attending – a series of parties in Downing Street last Christmas. After fierce denials from No. 10, including from Boris at the despatch box, the story blew up when ITV revealed footage of Allegra Stratton and Downing Street aides joking on-camera about the very parties Number 10 claimed never happened. Questions over whose head would roll for all this were quickly answered when Allegra Stratton resigned the very next day…

Details of more parties emerged, including a photo of Boris taking part in a Zoom quiz with multiple aides, and Shaun Bailey resigned after hosting a large gathering at CCHQ while London was in Tier 2. Guido’s footage of Jacob Rees-Mogg joking about the allegations soon went viral, racking up millions of views across several publications in just three days. Meanwhile the fallout from the sleaze row culminated in the staggering loss of North Shropshire to the LibDems with a 34% swing…

However, arguably the most damning moment came when Guido exclusively revealed that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – the man trusted to investigate all this – had himself known of at least one party hosted in his 70 Whitehall office last Christmas. The story got worldwide coverage from almost all major outlets, and Simon was taken off the case in favour of Whitehall bulldog Sue Gray. A woman much more feared by Whitehall’s partiers than Simon Case…

Covid returned to the headlines once again as Omicron cases surged across the UK. Although mounting evidence appeared to show that the new strain is less deadly than previous variants – albeit more transmissible – nerves fluttered in both Whitehall and the devolved administrations. Guido revealed that Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford was so keen to ruin Christmas that he privately called for a total lockdown between the 25th and the New Year. Ultimately, the four countries of the UK each opted for different approaches. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all saw the loathed restrictions return, while England soldiered on under ‘Plan B’, which introduced pointless vaccine passports and a mask mandate, although at least kept everything open. All it took was 102 Tory Covid rebels – Boris’s largest yet…

Meanwhile there was massive end-of-year churn in the media: Andrew Marr, Adam Boulton, and Jon Snow all left their respective shows, Laura Kuenssberg confirmed her departure as BBC PolEd in April, and Stephen Bush jumped from the New Statesman to FT. Darren Grimes also announced he is joining GB News.

It wasn’t all bad news on Covid, though. December saw Labour MP Zarah Sultana finally overcome her debilitating fear of maskless crowds when attending the glitzy MOBO Awards with thousands of fellow unmasked guests. It was an admirable turnaround for Zarah, who just weeks earlier had revealed how unmasked Tories made her “feel unsafe” in the Commons, and claimed the mask debate was “purely ideological“. Guido’s inclined to agree on that one.

Happy New Year, and here’s to 2022…

Honourable mentions:

Headline of the month: Voters Deservedly Punishing Tories

mdi-timer 2 January 2022 @ 20:14 2 Jan 2022 @ 20:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
November Review: Sleazegate, COP-out and Peppa Pig World

November was supposed to be the month defined by COP26, the world’s “last chance” to “keep 1.5 alive” and avert a climate catastrophe. Instead, most of the key players didn’t even show up, and Westminster soon found itself mired in scandals over sleaze, second jobs, and the merits of Peppa Pig World. Then to top it all off, just as COVID had finally receded from the daily news cycle, the Xi variant Omicron arrived…

After the Standards Commission recommended a 30-day suspension for MP Owen Paterson over a breach of lobbying rules, it looked like the worst was over for the government: Paterson would take the hit, tough out his punishment, and the story would eventually fade away without too much collateral damage. Instead, Boris’s bizarre decision to back Andrea Leadsom’s amendment – which would have delayed Paterson’s suspension and created a new Select Committee overseeing MPs’ disciplinary actions – ignited a furious row that dominated headlines for most of the month. At the time, it looked like the government’s biggest unforced error of the year – then came December…

The inevitable U-turn followed, although the damage was done. Paterson resigned, backbenchers were furious – not least at the Chief Whip – and the Tories’ polling numbers tanked. Debates over MPs’ second jobs raged on, with Guido pointing out the hourly rates of Ian Blackford, Ed Davey, and Sir Keir himself – all of whom trousered thousands last year with their lucrative side hustles. In November alone, Guido found that MPs had taken in a combined £274,109 alongside their salaries…

November was also the month Sir Keir managed a proper reshuffle, this time still managing to outrage Angela Rayner though without accidentally handing her more titles. Wes Streeting became Shadow Health Secretary, David Lammy replaced Lisa Nandy as Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Yvette Cooper was appointed Shadow Home Secretary. There was so much negative briefing and counter briefing by Rayner’s team Guido revealed her head of comms had mysteriously gone on leave a few days later…

COP26 came and went: a compromised coal deal was passed by a teary Alok Sharma; Greta Thunberg danced in the streets singing “you can shove your climate crisis up your arse”; and Joe Biden reflected the mood of the world when he fell asleep. The arrival of 25,000 delegates into Glasgow did at least spur the local economy, with Guido reporting on the number of hookers advertising their services tripling in the lead-up to the summit.

The month ended with Boris twice referring to his trip to Peppa Pig World in speeches to wonks and business leaders – to which Sir Keir responded by calling the place “dreadful” – and South African doctors discovering a new Covid variant spreading quickly throughout the country. Thankfully, the doctor to first uncover it stressed that the symptoms appeared mild and the UK shouldn’t panic. Nobody listened. 

Honourable mentions:

Headline of the month: An Apology to Alastair Campbell...

mdi-timer 2 January 2022 @ 17:57 2 Jan 2022 @ 17:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
September Review: Boris and GB News Reshuffle, Guido Versus Novara and Insulate Britain

It was all change over in No. 10 as weeks of speculation finally resulted in a long-awaited reshuffle – a rather large one at that, seeing off Gavin Williamson, Robert Buckland and Rob Jenrick as well as the demotions of Dominic Raab and Amanda Milling. Liz Truss got promoted to Foreign Secretary, providing a much-needed rival to heir apparent Rishi. Charles Walker and Anna Soubry’s Reshuffle bust-up on Newsnight was well worth a watch.

It wasn’t just the Cabinet facing big-name departures. Despite starting to get a consistent foot-hold on viewing figures and ironing out their technical glitches, Andrew Neil quit GB News – with Guido first to break the newsThe same month it was also announced Isabel Oakeshott would be joining the channel…

While Neil’s subsequent attacks on his old network may not have been cricket, he was still better behaved than the team over at Novara Media, who took umbrage with Guido’s exposé that they were paying staff less than their own desired national minimum wage policy of £15-per-hour. Ash Sarkar immediately reached for some personal insults in lieu of an actual defence…

Extinction Rebellion, and their new sister outlet Insulate Britain, continued to be a nuisance, though the country had clearly run out of tolerance for the eco-terrorists. Even Richard Madeley bagged a great moment on GMB as he labelled one of their protestors a fascist. The next week GMB played host to Insulate Britain’s own Piers Morgan impressionist, who marched offset after admitting he himself didn’t have an insulated home. Guido’s editor also took the fight to them outside the Home Office. They didn’t seem to have answers to his very basic policy questions…

Honourable mentions:

Headline of the month: Will Someone at ITV Stop Peston Tweeting?

mdi-timer 2 January 2022 @ 12:19 2 Jan 2022 @ 12:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Annual Seven-Up

Last year 6,051,321 visitors visited 30,402,692 times viewing 49,518,460 pages. The most read and shared stories in order of popularity were:

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

mdi-timer 1 January 2022 @ 17:47 1 Jan 2022 @ 17:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
August Review: XR’s Boobfest, Taliban and Gove Party

Recess has increasingly become synonymous with the annual reemergence of Extinction Rebellion. While usual nauseous, this year’s eco-commie disruption was more bearable thanks to the rise of activist Laura Amherst who successfully pushed two major issues onto Guido’s agenda. Laying bare the naked reality of climate change…

While Laura was broadly successful her rapid rise to prominence paled in comparison to the Taliban’s, who managed a blitzkrieg takeover of Afghanistan after Biden unilaterally withdrew US troops; pulling the rug out from under the feet of the existing regime and leaving the UK scrambling to get our boys and other citizens out. Oh, and those infernal pets of Pen Farthing

While Guido didn’t get too involved in foreign policy, his video compilation of the Taliban retaking gyms and amusement parks – with an appropriate backing track – proved popular. It seems the one person not despairing at the news out of the Middle East was Canada’s minister for equality, who Guido got on camera calling the Taliban “our brothers”. She subsequently lost her seat in the country’s general election later this year…

Oh, and how did the loony left respond to the takeover of Afghanistan? By calling on the west to pay the Taliban reparations…

On a lighter note, freedom day and the ability for politicos to return fully to the lash prompted some classic booze-based stories in August. Guido’s favourite was undoubtedly Manchester Met Tory Society‘s summer party, where, in black tie, the partying politicos chanted for Farage and ended with one member heading for hospital. Their classic young Tory antics were overshadowed only by Michael Gove who was filmed clubbing up in Scotland. Guido revealed his daughter Beatrice was less-than-impressed with his dance moves. While Gove murdered the dance floor his pals in government were busy trying to murder something else entirely: Geronimo the Alpaca

Honourable mentions:

Headline of the month: Harwood Promises to Kill Geronimo

mdi-timer 31 December 2021 @ 07:30 31 Dec 2021 @ 07:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
July Review: Webbe Versus Be’rus, BBC’s Brammar Blunder and the Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey

Soon after the Matt Hancock scandal came the cabinet marital news that almost everyone in SW1 had been speculating for months: the split of Michael Gove and Sarah Vine. At the time a friend of Gove’s told Guido the move wasn’t in advance of any news set to come out in the Sunday papers – a claim that, thankfully for Gove, held true. As Westminster hit the Summer social season a couple of weeks later, Gove joked about ‘those rumours’ at the Policy Exchange party…

Thankfully for Michael, the loony left did their utmost to overshadow any personal embarrassment of his with professional embarrassment on their part. Diane Abbott stumbled through a Friday night interview with hitherto unimaginable incoherence, slurring her words and failing for over a minute to form a coherent sentence. Claudia Webbe humiliated herself during a Foreign Select Committee Raab question session by asking whether the government planned legal action against “be’rus”. Dawn Butler got herself kicked out of the Commons in a brave display of political principle wanting masturbatory social media attention. A move that very nearly cost her £10,000

And yet, despite all of the above, the month was entirely overshadowed by one of the most ridiculous local government saga’s Guido can remember: that of Redbridge’s “Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey” – a naked, multicoloured simian bequeathed with an enormous pink penis – paid for with taxpayer’s money to persuade children to read. From a council that clearly couldn’t read the room…

Talking of poor decisions by taxpayer-funded bodies that should know better, in July it first emerged that the BBC was strongly considering Jess Brammar to head up BBC News, despite her long history of pushing a left-wing agenda over at Huffington Post and backing movements like Black Lives Matter. Brammar knew the political storm the news would create, attested by her deletion of 12-years-worth of tweets. As Mogg asked MPs in the Commons, would the BBC “make an appointment from the Guido Fawkes website, a similar news outlet, except a rather more accurate one, on the right rather than on the left?”.

Honourable mentions:

Headline of the month: Flora Gill Pitches “Porn for Children”

mdi-timer 30 December 2021 @ 17:42 30 Dec 2021 @ 17:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Previous Page Next Page