Labour Select Arch-Remainer in Copeland

Labour have selected an arch-Remainer as their candidate in the Leave stronghold of Copeland. Gillian Troughton, who beat the Corbynista contender Rachel Holliday last night, campaigned strongly to Remain in the EU and publicly supports Gina Miller’s attempt to frustrate Article 50 through the courts. She has promoted social media posts calling for the referendum result to be “declared void”. The day after the referendum she wrote on Facebook that “Our children’s futures have been needlessly gambled and lost”.

Copeland voted 62% to Leave…

Corbyn said last night: “I am delighted that Gillian Troughton will be Labour’s candidate”. The feeling is not reciprocated. Troughton strongly supported Owen Smith in the Labour leadership election, writing in Facebook messages to friends that Smith was “easily the best candidate”, promoting tweets saying “it’s political madness to vote for Corbyn” and tweeting articles titled: “Corbyn’s past will destroy Labour’s future” and “Jeremy Corbyn literally makes no sense”. Bet he’s delighted indeed…

Nuttall’s Friends Tell Him to Stand in Stoke

Friends of Paul Nuttall are intimating that he is minded to stand in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election. He is certainly being told by senior Kippers, both those on his team and Farage supporters, that he must run. In the ‘pros’ column, Nuttall is said to see it as a chance to quickly seize the narrative, carve out a vision for UKIP under his leadership and keep the party relevant following Theresa May’s speech yesterday. In the ‘cons’ column, the seat will be tough to win – Labour are the bookies’ favourites and their by-election machine is formidable. He’ll inevitably have to deal with cries that he bottled it if he doesn’t run. The UKIP candidate is expected to be chosen by the NEC either tomorrow or on Friday. Official announcement Saturday 11am…

Corbyn: Labour Isn’t Out of Control

Corbyn says “I’m not expecting any other MPs to resign” but “if they come they come”, adding: “I haven’t lost control of the party. The party isn’t out of control.” If you have to say it…

Team Corbyn Face Tristram Backlash

Labour MPs are privately flipping out following Tristram Hunt’s resignation. Guido has got hold of an email sent by Core Group Negative MP Neil Coyle this lunchtime to his party’s campaign co-ordinator, the Corbyn ally Jon Trickett, giving him both barrels under the subject line “No clear plan. Poor leadership”:

From: COYLE, Neil
Sent: 13 January 2017 12:09
To: TRICKETT, Jon
Subject: No clear plan. Poor leadership.

Jon,

Just a quick question given your role as our campaign lead: how do you and the leadership team aim to turn around Labour’s woes given the terrible ‘relaunch’, general polling, local election losses (including the shocking result in Sunderland yesterday), as well as the further by-election we now face.

Your tweet below appears to be dangerously close to coming back to bite your backside – only this time you have a direct say over the lack of clear plan and poor leadership.

Neil

Say what you really think…

Tories: Corbyn “Collaborating With Russia”

The Tories are starting to go big on Corbyn’s call to decommission nuclear power plants, releasing this attack ad tonight. Meanwhile the MoD goes in hard after Corbyn’s spokesman criticises Nato for “escalations of tensions” with Russia. Armed forces minister Mike Penning says:

“the Labour Leader would rather collaborate with Russian aggression than mutually support Britain’s NATO allies”

Copeland by-election campaign under way…

New Momentum Chief on Copeland Selection Panel

The latest from Momentum: Jon Lansman has resigned as director of Momentum Campaign Services Ltd. He is certainly under pressure, last night he lost a vote on his purge of Trotskyists in his own local Momentum branch. Notable that he also dissolved New Hope for Labour Ltd, his data company, before Christmas. Labour sources doubt Lansman is taking a step back given he has waited 30 years to get to this position. His opponents claim he is freeing himself up to run for election to the new Momentum steering group. As one puts it, “About as meaningful as when Putin swapped the president’s role with the prime minister so he could stay in power.”

Lansman’s replacement as director of Momentum Campaign Services Ltd is his ally Christine Shawcroft, a mad lefty who was suspended by Labour for backing Lutfur Rahman and famously said British soldiers should invite ISIS round for cups of tea. Shawcroft is one of the four members of Labour’s selection panel for the Copeland by-election. The new head of Momentum will have a major say in their by-election candidate…

Jamie Reed Goes Nuclear

Jamie Reed, a two term MP best known for cracking bad jokes on Twitter, is resigning as an MP. He is off to work as a lobbyist for Sellafield. As a no holds barred anti-Corbynista he can see which way the wind is blowing politically. Aged only 43, he has chosen to make some money rather than battle in opposition for the rest of his working life…

He of course says  “This decision has got absolutely nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn. On a personal level I’ve got a very cordial relationship.” Yeah, right…

Given how poorly Labour are polling currently, Reed’s Copeland seat looks fairly marginal. The Tories were only 2,000 behind. Could UKIP steal votes from both Labour and the Tories? This will be Nuttall’s first test. If Labour lose the by-election Corbyn will be back under intense pressure…

Labour MP Jamie Reed Quits

Click image to enlarge

By-election! Majority just 2,000…

Labour Collapse in Sleaford

The Tories hold Sleaford, Labour fall from second in 2015 to fourth:

Caroline Johnson, Conservative – 17,570, 54% (-2.7%)

Victoria Ayling, UKIP – 4,426, 13.5% (-2.2%)

Ross Pepper, LibDem – 3,606, 11.0% (+5.3%)

Jim Clarke, Labour – 3,363 10.2% (-7%)

Labour are briefing that this was a “difficult” by-election because of Brexit. Reality check for Remainers after Richmond…

Full “Confidential” Bung Claims By Green Party Chair

This is the full 30 page report written by Kingston Green Party chair Ryan Coley alleging the party was offered a £250,000 bung to stand aside in Richmond. Coley has confirmed to Guido that he co-wrote the report. A lot of questions for the Greens to answer here…

UPDATE: At some point tonight the Green Party put in a copyright complaint to our previous host – this from the party that prides itself on transparency – so it is now hosted elsewhere and will be available by email to anyone who wants it (team@order-order.com) if we have any other problems. Bear in mind that they originally said they denied all knowledge of it – now they claim copyright.

Full PDF download here.

Green Party ‘Offered £250,000 Bung Not to Stand in Richmond’

green2

The Green Party was offered a £250,000 inducement not to stand a candidate against the LibDems in Richmond, according to the chairman of the local Greens. Ryan Coley, the Kingston Green Party chair, claims his members were pressured by party officials not to run a candidate because the party had been offered £250,000 conditional on standing aside for the LibDems. Guido has obtained an internal report written by the local chairman and members Clare Keogh and Kieron Merrett. They complain “party staff added pressure” on them, “telling us that there was an offer of a large donation to the party which was conditional on the party demonstrating its desire for a progressive alliance”. They allege the offer amounted to £250,000 and the order to stand aside came “on the instruction of the Chief Executive“.

green1

The report says the offer failed the party’s donation scrutiny procedures and the donation did not go through. After Guido put the allegations to the Green Party they confirmed they would investigate. A Green Party spokesman does not deny the offer of the bung:

“This is an unofficial report from a handful of members of Kingston Green Party and is not officially recognised by either the national Green Party or the local party in question. Many of the claims are disputed and this report has been referred to the Green Party Regional Council and will be looked into as soon as possible.” 

This is a bombshell allegation – not denied by the Greens – that a wealthy donor offered them cash to stand aside for the Remain cause. Local Greens are furious with Caroline Lucas and Jon Bartley over this…

UPDATE: The Greens have a carefully worded new line:

“The Green Party has not accepted any donations connected with the Richmond Park by-election and no donation offer was made on the basis that the Party choose not to field a candidate. Any donation accepted by the Green Party must meet strict ethical criteria and that includes the donation not being used to gain leverage over strategic decisions.”

Guido has asked them if an offer was made in relation to the ‘Progressive Alliance’, as the local chair claims, and why party officials told the local party such an offer existed. They have declined to answer…

Farron: Richmond Win is Rejection of Trump, Brexit and 2015 Election

Tim Farron is getting more than a little ahead of himself claiming Sarah Olney’s win is a rejection of Trump and the 2015 election too. Richmond Park was a 21% swing by a Remain constituency against its incumbent Leave MP. Food for thought for Labour Remainer MPs with pro-Leave constituencies…

LibDem Fake News in Richmond

fake

The LibDems have a reputation as some of the dirtiest campaigners around, and they are living up to it in Richmond Park. Local resident Paul Waugh, 50, had the above fake newspaper put through his door. It’s more convincing than the usual literature used by political parties, and even goes as far as including reports from “a senior Gazette reporter” who does not exist. All with the aim of hoodwinking voters. The most shameless fake news yet?

Bob Geldof Embarrasses LibDems

Instead of learning the lessons from his referendum flotilla humiliation, Bob Geldof has gone to canvas for the LibDems in Richmond today. He’s been chanting “Zac is crap” for the cameras like a poundshop Eddie Izzard. Sad.

UPDATE:

Well done to the LibDems. This has gone about as well as Miliband and Russell Brand.

LibDem Richmond Candidate Encounters Turbulence

olney

The LibDem by-election campaign in Richmond has two key messages: that their candidate Sarah Olney will vote against Article 50 and oppose Heathrow expansion even more so than Zac. How is that going?

First Olney was forced to delete her website after saying we should go ahead with Brexit:

“Britain is leaving the EU – OK, I accept that. I don’t think we should re-run the referendum. I think we should stick to the course that has been decided.”

Now it turns out her husband helped to build Heathrow Terminal 5. “Town planner” Ben Olney’s CV boasts that before his current job he was “working on the delivery of Terminal 5 at Heathrow”.

olney2

Sarah has plastered Ben’s face all over her leaflets and heavily involved him in her campaign. Richmond LibDems have an anti-Brexit candidate who wants Brexit to go ahead, an anti-Heathrow expansion candidate whose husband helped expand Heathrow… 

Tories Select Caroline Johnson for Sleaford and North Hykeham

torycandidate

Caroline Johnson, a consultant paediatrician, is the Tory candidate for Sleaford and North Hykeham following the resignation of Stephen Phillips.  The constituency is one of the most eurosceptic in the country. Thankfully Johnson voted Leave…

Lib Dem Logic Says 40% of Own MPs Should Go

libdemzac

Over the weekend the LibDem by-election candidate Sarah Olney suggested Brexit-backing Zac Goldsmith shouldn’t be Richmond Park’s MP because he “represents a constituency that voted 73% remain in the referendum.” On that logic Nick Clegg should step down in Sheffield, which voted 51% Leave, and Tom Brake should quit in Carshalton (where the wider Sutton area voted 54% Leave). So too should Norman Lamb, whose North Norfolk constituency voted almost 60% for Leave. Will Sarah support removing 40% of LibDems from the Commons as well?

LibDems Make It About Zac’s Wealth

tweet

Unknown LibDem Richmond candidate Sarah Olney has used her first national newspaper interview to launch a clumsy attack on Zac Goldsmith’s wealth. Speaking to the MoS, Olney went after Zac over the money he inherited from his dad, claiming he won’t understand what it means if the price of Marmite goes up. A strange class war attack line – leafy Richmond is hardly full of people who’ll be pushed below the breadline. Zac responded by taking the Michelle Obama approach last night:

Doesn’t exactly fit the LibDem narrative that Zac is nasty and they’re the cuddly ones…

Zac Has 27 Point Lead With Standard/BMG

zac

A BMG survey for the Evening Standard suggests Richmond Park isn’t as close as the bookies suggest…

‘Jihad Jenny’ Tonge Joins LibDem By-Election Campaign

The LibDem by-election campaign in Richmond is off to an ominous start, with the local party yesterday welcoming disgraced ex-MP Jenny Tonge back into the fold. Tonge is a former Richmond Park MP – despite losing the whip in the Lords she is still a LibDem member, the party has ignored her string of anti-Semitism scandals including one just last week.[…] Read the rest

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John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

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