Jolyon’s Failed Vanity Cases Cost Crowdfunders £350,000

Britain’s most insufferable lawyer Jolyon Maugham is taking a break from Twitter today and going to court in his latest attempt to stop Brexit. Maugham will petition for a judicial review against the Electoral Commission, arguing the regulator failed to investigate Vote Leave-BeLeave campaign donations. The Electoral Commission has already investigated the donations twice…

Speaking of donations, rather than putting his stupendous QC’s income where his mouth is – and, indeed, despite being a lawyer himself – Jolyon is using other people’s cash to fund the legal bid. He’s crowdfunded nearly £50,000. What can his donors expect for their cash?

Not much, if his form is anything to go by. In May 2017, Maugham went to the High Court of Ireland in an attempt to reverse the Brexit vote after Article 50 was triggered. The case was opposed by the Irish government and was struck out by Mr Justice Peter Kelly. More than £70,000 was crowdfunded…

Then, in February 2018, Maugham was involved in a similar case in the Scottish courts. Lord Doherty of the Scottish Court of Session ruled:

“I am mindful that demonstrating a real prospect of success is a low hurdle for an applicant to overcome. However, I am satisfied that that hurdle has not been surmounted. Indeed, in my opinion the application’s prospect of success falls very far short of being a real prospect…” 

A gentle judical admonishing of Jolyon’s grasp on reality. Crowdfunding for this failed case raised over £60,000…

As Guido reported, Maugham also tried to judical review David Davis over the Brexit sector analysis papers. Mr Justice Supperstone rejected permission, finding a simple (and free) FoI request was a suitable alternative. That failed judicial review was also crowdfunded: £59,275. When he loses, do people get their money back? “Any surplus funds will be held for the costs of other litigation”…

Jolyon, a specialist tax barrister, sued Uber to demand a 56p VAT receipt. When Guido says he sued we mean he suckered £107,650 from crowdfunders and cabbies to back this case. Vaingloriously making the claim in his own name he suspended the action when he realised that if he lost the case – a very real possibility given his less than stunning record – Uber would seek to recover their costs from him personally. Unwilling to put his own money where his suckers crowdfunders did, he pathetically said he was looking for an alternative claimant who didn’t have any material assets to take the risk. Not exactly brave leadership…Hapless Jolyon Maugham has therefore spent over a third of a million pounds (£350,000) of other people’s money vainly pursuing his agenda, entirely without success. All he has got for the money is gout. The crowd that backs him can afford to take the pain…



I am here today to set out my vision for the future economic partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

There have been many different voices and views in the debate on what our new relationship with the EU should look like. I have listened carefully to them all.

But as we chart our way forward with the EU, I want to take a moment to look back.

Eighteen months ago I stood on Downing Street and addressed the nation for my first time as Prime Minister.

I made this pledge then, to the people that I serve:

I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.

We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.

When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.

When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.

When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few.

We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

That pledge, to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.

And for me that means five things:

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Blue Peter Lexiteer Loves Jez and Brexit

Not sure how the BBC square Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya giving his view that Corbyn has shown “real leadership” and defending him calling Hezbollah “friends, with their strict impartiality guidelines that presenters aren’t allowed to give political opinions.

All is forgiven though, it turns out Radzi also wants to get on with leaving the single market and customs union. Is the Blue Peter man a millennial Lexiteer in the mould of Aaron Bastani?

Heywood and Robbins Blamed For “Drift” at Cabinet

After the Chequers summit the story was one of unity and consensus, with the agreement reached by the Brexit sub-committee last week holding until today’s Cabinet meeting. Yet during today’s talks senior Brexiters say there was some “drift” away from the language of the Chequers agreement, with a few “tweaks” that appear to be trying to reset the government’s approach towards convergence with the EU. The James Forsyth App reports that an idea was proposed to make a “binding agreement” to align with EU rules and regulations in certain sectors. David Davis, for the second time in a week, was “the hero of the hour” in fighting back against the suggestion. Where did this new alignment idea come from? Those in the room detect the hand of Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins, May’s troublesome civil servants, trying to move the Cabinet away from the agreed position. A Cabinet source says: “It seems to be incessant tinkering and manipulation by the Cabinet Secretary and his minions when everything should be focussed on what the Cabinet agreed at Chequers”. We will see when May speaks tomorrow whether Heywood and Robbins were successful…

May: No UK PM Could Accept EU Draft Text on Northern Ireland

Try again, Michel…

May: Conceding Control of Laws, Borders and Money Would Be a “Betrayal”

Leavers will be filing this clip away for the future… very difficult for May to backslide now she’s said doing so would be a “betrayal”…

How Did Major’s Previous Brexit Interventions Work Out?

Ahead of John Major’s definitely-not-coordinated Remain whinge this afternoon, it’s worth taking a look at how his interventions during the referendum campaign turned out. Major claimed for example that “If we left there must be a high probability that Scotland will have another referendum and leave the UK”. In fact Nicola Sturgeon has since withdrawn her plan for a second independence vote. Then Major warned a Leave vote would lead to a “shrunken economy”. In fact the economy has grown in every quarter since we voted to leave. Major even argued Brexit would harm our relationship with the US, asking: “Would we remain such a pre-eminent ally of the United States if we no longer had influence in the EU?” On the contrary we are at the front of the queue…

Will Major say anything positive about Brexit today? Guido hopes he remembers his words during the Remain campaign: “For the UK to have to obey rules and regulations without any influence over them would be an absurd and undignified position for a nation like Britain”. That means leaving the single market, customs union and ECJ jurisdiction…

Major is speaking at the Creative Industries Federation ostensibly to talk about the tech sector. Will he mention all this good tech news since the referendum?

  • SoftBank acquires UK’s Arm Holdings for £24.3bn

  • Adobe announces plans to build a new sales and marketing office to cover Europe, the Middle East and Asia in London, doubling the size of the current one

  • Facebook pledges to create 500 more jobs in the UK

  • IBM build four more data centres in the UK

  • Google announces new headquarters in the UK, creating up to 3,000 news jobs and totalling an estimated £1bn in extra investment

  • Snap establishes its non-US office in London

  • London attracted record levels of investment in the tech industry in the first half of 2017. Figures from London & Partners revealed that since the referendum the capital’s tech sector has attracted more venture capital investment than any other European city

  • Silicon Valley investors have more than doubled funding for UK technology companies in 2017. British start-ups received £884.8m in the first nine months of this year, compared to £342m in the whole of 2016, according to London & Partners

  • Deliveroo announces it is creating 250 new tech jobs in London

  • Investment into UK FinTech companies grew by 150% in 2017 to £1.3 billion

Plenty for him to talk about…

Chequers Security Lapse

Smart watches were banned from Cabinet meetings years ago for fears the Russians could hack them and listen in. In 2016 the Telegraph reported: “Under Theresa May ministers have been barred from wearing them amid concerns that they could be used by hackers as listening devices. One source said: ‘The Russians are trying to hack everything'”. Not sure Vlad will have learned much about the end state…

Australian High Commissioner Warns Against Contracting Out Trade Policy to EU

The Australian High Commissioner to the UK has warned of the trade consequences of Britain remaining in a customs union after leaving the EU. Speaking on last night’s Westminster Hour, Alexander Downer said:

“It’s up to you… but I’ll tell you this: Australia would never contract out its trade policy or the regulations for the management of its internal economy to a group of other countries, we wouldn’t do it.”

The policy of the Labour Party and Tory Remainer rebels is baffling to countries outside the EU…

Red on Red: Field vs Creasy Brexit Bunfight

Check out this rather entertaining red-on-red on the Sunday Politics where Labour leaver Frank Field tells metropolitan remainer Stella Creasy what he thinks of the party’s shift on the customs union. Frank said:

“Are you going to rat on the people’s decision to leave? You come out Stella with all these things, we’ll stay in a customs union, we’ll stay in a single market – the decision was quite clear to leave… in the North Labour voters voted very, very clearly… which bus are you on?”

Labour’s bus well on the road to betraying its core vote…

Starmer: Labour Wants A Customs Union and Could Join Tory Rebels

Keir Starmer confirms Labour remainers have secured a policy shift to staying in a customs union with the EU. The Labour leadership has been gradually unravelling its previously guarded position on the issue over the past week. Starmer hinted Labour could join Tory rebels and throw its weight behind cross-party amendments, saying:

“We haven’t made a final decision on that but they are so close to our amendments … but whether it’s our amendments or cross-bench amendments.”

All eyes will be on Jeremy Corbyn’s set piece speech on the issue tomorrow to see the detail on how far the Shadow Cabinet remainers have pushed Jezza. Liam Fox warned Tory rebels:

“I hope that they will have an open mind and listen to what the Prime Minister says because I think that what the Prime Minister will set out will deal with a lot of the reservations that they have.”

May has little option but to make this a confidence vote and challenge remain rebels to back her or sack her…

Cabinet Brexiters Happy After Chequers Agreement on Divergence

Cabinet Brexiters are happy following today’s Chequers summit, with one senior Brexiter telling Guido: “Divergence has won”. A Cabinet source says there was an agreement on mutual recognition on good standards. There will be a declaration that the UK is going to maintain standards. The room agreed there will be equal dispute settlement arrangements and, crucially, the right to diverge in that framework. A second Cabinet source says: “Brexiteers have won a crucial argument tonight. It was agreed that we would take back control of our laws. Divergence won the day.” We shall see, but this sounds like good news and Cabinet Brexiters are pleased with the outcome tonight…

50 Times Theresa May Set Out Her Brexit Red Lines on Laws, Money, Borders and Trade

Guido has long been of the view that Theresa May is committed to delivering Brexit – she has been given that instruction by the British people and she knows if she backslides on her Lancaster House speech her party and the country will not stand for it. Yet over the last few weeks Remainers in the Cabinet, Treasury and civil service have been attempting to bounce the PM into breaking her Brexit promises. Remainers are trying to keep us in a customs union, stopping us from signing comprehensive trade deals, remaining under the jurisdiction of the ECJ in some areas, and aligning with EU laws over which we would have no say. As new research by Change Britain shows this morning, May could not have been clearer that these proposals are totally unacceptable. They have found 50 statements in which May has committed unequivocally to taking back control of laws, money, border and trade. She has pledged to take back control of laws 18 times, said we will decide our own immigration policy 17 times, and said we would have control over trade policy 15 times. May has been clear what government policy is on all of this – officials and ministers should get behind the PM rather than working to undermine the promises she has made to deliver Brexit. See those 50 times May has set out her red lines below…

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Who’s Really Divisive? Top Remainers’ Unhinged Boris Abuse

Boris gives a speech reaching out to Remainers. How do some Remainers respond? With a torrent of personal abuse and conspiracy theories, refusing to engage with anything in the speech having already made up their minds beforehand, and calling him “mendacious” and “evil”, among other pleasantries:

Boris had a point about some Remainers suffering from “Brexchosis”. Who are really the divisive ones?

Optimistic Boris on Brexit’s Opportunities

“Brexit need not be nationalist but can be internationalist, not an economic threat but a considerable opportunity, not un-British but a manifestation of this country’s historic national genius.”

A Cabinet minister actually gives an optimistic vision of the opportunities of Brexit, rather than glumly talking about how to make the best of it. Why hasn’t this been the message from the government over the last 19 months?

Boris Brexit Speech

Brexit Babe’s New Smash Hit

The latest number from Guido’s favourite Brexiteer songstress Mandy Boylett, who brought you the unforgettable Brex-pop classics “Britain’s Coming Home” and “Get the Party Started”. Her new release is titled No Divorce Bill. Bit late for that unfortunately but top marks for effort…

Quintuple #DespiteBrexit Special

A special quintuple whammy of #DespiteBrexit good news to brighten up a chilly Monday. Over the weekend US bank Citigroup announced a massive investment in London, its first since the referendum result. They plan to establish an innovation centre with 60 high quality jobs and room for expansion. James Cowles, the bank’s EMEA CEO, told the FT:

“Regardless of Brexit, the UK remains one of the world’s largest pools of diverse talent when it comes to hiring advanced technologists with a strong business background.”

Meanwhile, Bob Dudley of global energy powerhouse BP says Brexit has “not diminished” Britain’s standing on the world stage and is bullish on trade deals. He told The Times:

“There are a lot of countries around the world that would like trade deals with Britain bilaterally down the road, I hear that a lot. I don’t think British influence is diminished. BP works all over the world and I see the importance of Britain in what we do and how they view BP.”

In manufacturing, British engine makers are experiencing an unprecedented boom and production is at an all-time high. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders:

  • British engine manufacturing rose 6.9% to all-time high of 2.7 million units in 2017;
  • Home demand is up 9.7%, while global demand rose to almost 1.5 million units;

UK engine manufacturing is now worth £8.5 billion, supporting 8,000 British jobs. Brexit an engine for British growth…

Remember when Project Fear said Brexit would threaten Britain’s reputation as an outward-looking, welcoming nation? Remainers suggested international visitors to the UK, students, for instance, would be put-off. In fact, a record number of foreign students now want to study at British universities. According to UCAS figures:

  • International student applications are up 11% to 58,450;
  • Applications from China rose by 20%;
  • Applications from India rose by 36%;
  • Applications from Mexico surged by 52%.

And the value of UK food and drink exports has soared to record levels, up 10% to reach £22 billion in 2017 – more than double what they were worth ten years ago. British food and drink producers now sell to 217 countries. Sales of milk and cream increased by 61%, salmon by 23% and pork by 14%. And, as Liz Truss famously predicted, we’ve sold cheese to the French (£85 million), chocolate to the Belgians (£21 million) and tea to the Chinese (£2 million). Five new pieces of good news, #DespiteBrexit…

Now Leadsom Gets Brexit Death Threat

Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom tweets that she is the latest pro-Brexit politician to receive a death threat signed “THE REAL 48 PER CENT”. The chilling note reads:

“You have taken lives on our side. Now we will take lives on yours. We are coming for you.”

Multiple Leave donors received the threats last week, now Brexit-backing MPs are getting them too. And to think Remainers claimed the letters were fake… 

Penny Calls For Brexit Vision and “Meat on the Bone”

More than slightly worrying that Cabinet ministers are having to call on Number 10 to give its vision for Brexit 19 months after the referendum…[…] Read the rest


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Quote of the Day

Chuka Umunna on Seumas Milne re Russia:

“Have read the comments of the Leader of the Opposition’s spokesperson. Mr Milne’s comments do not represent the views of the majority of our voters, members or MPs. We’ll get abuse for saying so but where British lives have been put at risk it is important to be clear about this.”


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