CCHQ Phone-a-Friend

Some say CCHQ are having trouble getting Tory activists to do Euro-canvassing, not true, look that at chap on the right having fun at a CCHQ phone canvassing session cajoling people to vote for his wife. CCHQ has summoned all staff to a meeting this evening. Expect them to be pressured to toil for Tory votes in the Euro elections. Good luck with that…

It’s not just CCHQ, West Midlands Tories are so desperate for volunteers that Regional Chairman Jim Cooper has sent everyone on the local Westminster Candidates list an “URGENT” email begging them to help out their Euro counterparts. Cooper complains that the “response so far has been less than we had hoped” before giving the candidates a veiled threat motivational thought to take away:

“Our views on these Elections are irrelevant – this is about loyalty to the Conservative Party. As a member of the Party’s Candidates Committee I know how much loyalty is valued.”

How many Tory candidates will even be voting Tory this time round?

Cash Strapped Tories Advertising for New Members

Donations to the Tories have been drying up, with both big Remain and Leave donors unhappy with the party’s leadership. Now CCHQ has started a new mainstream media ad blitz to recruit more members. If the comments section of MailOnline is anything to go by they might be wasting their remaining money…

Tories Finally Increase Membership, CCHQ Officials Complain About It

After years of decline, The Sun is reporting that Tory membership is finally on the up again, with 30,000 new members joining in the last twelve months to push the numbers to a seven-year high of 150,000. Labour are still estimated to have over half a million…

Naturally, senior Tory officials are stoking fears of ‘entryism’ rather than celebrating the fact that the Tories finally have slightly more than a quarter of Labour’s membership numbers. One panicked CCHQ insider told The Sun: “We’re not going to be able to stop people joining up just to vote for a new leader now… the danger is it will become a free for all.” How will CCHQ deal with the horror of taking £25 each from people who support Tory Party policy?

There has been no evidence that a ‘Purple Momentum’ actually exists, in fact Tory Remainers have been just as overt at trying to encourage entryism among their own supporters – who don’t even support Tory policy. Where deselection bids have occurred they have been led by longtime disgruntled Tory members, not new arrivals…

As Prof Tim Bale notes, “leadership contests make brilliant recruiting sergeants”. Over 13 million people voted for the Tories in the last election. Why are paranoid CCHQ officials so sure that the relatively tiny number of 30,000 joiners aren’t simply natural Tories who allowed their memberships to lapse in the past but are determined to have a say over who the next leader is now? Particularly after how disastrous the current one has turned out to be…

UPDATE: One Tory source tells Guido: “Not only are CCHQ annoyed there’s so many people joining, they seem keen to see the back of members as well”. Existing members are reportedly just being unceremoniously dumped off mailing lists when they write in to say they’re considering quitting, rather than being persuaded to stay as would have happened when membership was managed locally in the past. How not to run a voluntary party 101…

Grieve Loses Local Support After Breaking His Word

Dominic Grieve, Beaconsfield’s current Tory MP, lost a local constituency association confidence motion by 182 to 131 against him. The Beaconsfield Conservative Association chairman says that, “He remains our Conservative MP but I will be speaking as soon as possible to my fellow officers and the Executive Council.” A vote of no confidence is not a deselection.

Grieve is a decent man, we all agree, courageous even. To ignore your supporters and act against their wishes has consequences in a democracy. Deselections are always unpleasant, without them or at least the threat of them, MPs would be completely untethered from their supporters. MPs of all parties often arrogantly detest their activist members, who generally tend to be politically further away from the mainstream and their own ordinary voters. This tension is always there, sometimes the link snaps. This is such a time.

Grieve’s arrogance was that he thought he could shift from promising his members – in writing – that he would respect the outcome of the referendum, to leading the efforts to thwart Brexit, without cost. Breaking your word to voters, particularly the ones who get out the vote for you, is risky.

George Osborne tweeted this morning that Dominic Grieve had been “deselected”, going on to say “The Tory leadership can stop any deselection if it wants – we frequently did. CCHQ should suspend the local party. Otherwise we are heading for a huge, historic split in the Tory Party.” As a matter of fact Osborne has got it wrong, Grieve has not been deselected – yet. It is a bit rich Osborne, who has been campaigning to get rid of the leader of the Conservative Party since 2017, now calling for party unity. It is also more than galling when a Tory grandee says the little people who deliver leaflets, raise funds, vote for the party should be ignored and steam-rollered. Assuming of course that Osborne is still even a Conservative Party member…

UPDATE: Some groups like Leave.EU have been trying to claim the credit for Grieve’s deselection – local members strongly dispute the idea that they had anything to do with it, although Guido understands that the grassroots Campaign for Conservative Democracy was involved. A local Tory source tells Guido:

“Last night was a case of local members, most of whom have been members for years, finally getting organised and rising up. It has nothing to do with so-called “blue wave entryism” which isn’t even a thing. We’ve seen no real rise in membership numbers at all to suggest it could have any sort of impact.

“The principal reason Beaconsfield members voted against Grieve was that they felt he had been dishonest with them; promising at his last re-selection meeting to honour the referendum result, and then doing everything he could to thwart it. It’s his duplicity which has led to this motion passing.”

Tory Women on Social Media

Tory women have put this video out to call out abuse on social media ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow. It’s all a bit hetero-normative though…

Brandon Lewis Writes to All Senior Tory Party Activists Following Suspensions

Following the suspension of 14 Tory members yesterday over Islamophobic and racist remarks, Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis has written to the party’s most senior activists to “re-affirm my commitment that discrimination, intimidating behaviour or abuse of any kind has absolutely no place in our organisation”. The letter has gone to everyone at the most senior level of the voluntary party – Regional Chairmen, Area Chairmen, Association Chairman and Conservative Group Leaders. Swift action from the Tories…

Tories Open Candidate Selections in Key Marginals

The Tories have opened up candidate selections in seven new seats, including several key target seats. Prospective candidates have been asked to put their CVs in by March 24th for:

  • Ashfield – Gloria de Piero clung on in 2017 with a majority of just 441
  • Bolsover – The Tories managed a 16% surge in 2017, Dennis Skinner’s majority was cut in half from almost 12,000 down to 5,288
  • Colne Valley – Held by the Tories from 2010-2017, Labour secured a very slender majority of 915 in 2017
  • Leeds North West – Safe Labour
  • Portsmouth South – The Tories won it from the Lib Dems in 2015 before Labour snuck in with a 1,554 majority in 2017
  • Sefton Central – Safe Labour
  • Wrexham – Ian C Lucas has scraped through with majorities smaller than 2,000 in both the last two elections

Tories ramping up for the next election…

SpAd Moves: Amy Fisher Quits CCHQ

Amy Fisher is leaving CCHQ, where she is director of external affairs, outreach and special projects. Amy was most recently SpAd to Amber Rudd at the Home Office and before that ran the Tory press office. She’s off to spin for lobbyists MHP Public Affairs…

Let Guido know any updates

Staffers Kicked Out of CCHQ After Valentine’s Fracas

Two Tory staffers were last night ejected from CCHQ after drunkenly shouting, stealing wine, and being abusive to staff. The staffers, who both work for John Hayes MP, allegedly stole wine, were shouting, and abusive to staff. Someone present at the event  told Guido that they “went to top floor where the managers were and shouted about.” CCHQ is expected to ban the staffers from future events. Guido doesn’t think they’ll be quaking in their boots at the prospect of not being allowed to telephone canvass…

Read what the main Conservative staffer WhatsApp chat said about it here:

You know things are getting sassy when the Rosindell gifs are brought out…

Perhaps this was to be expected. The previous day various staffer groups dropped some hints…

The Tory female staffers WhatsApp group was touchingly optimistic about the potential for romance before the event:

Wishing you better luck tonight ladies…

CCHQ Appoint Youth Vice-Chairman Who is Closer to Retiring than Graduating

Strange appointment of a Tory Vice-Chairman for Youth, Nigel Huddleston, who is 48 years-old and therefore closer to retirement age than his graduation. Usually the appointment goes to a younger MP, even stranger is that he is a divisive factional figure. He is on the wet side of the party, a patron of the TRG and an anti-Brexit campaigner. The youth wing of the party is very keen on Brexit and most young members would lean towards the free market rather than the Blairite end of the spectrum. An altogether bemusing throw-back appointment when right-of-centre millenials are attracted to the exciting and dynamic politics of the future…

Election Alert: Tories Open Candidate Selections in Swathes of Unwinnable Seats

Tonight the Tories have opened up three tranches of candidate selections for the least-winnable seats across the country. The ones that you’d only normally select right before a general election…

Although this decision was taken before the result of the confidence vote, this shows the Tories are firmly getting on an election footing. The seats are all set to have fast-track selections with CCHQ aiming to have a candidate in place in every seat by the end of the month. Whether people want to become candidates for unwinnable seats with no guarantee of an upcoming election is another matter…

Read the full list below. Deep breath…

Continue reading

CCHQ Hosting Christmas Party At Time Of Vote

CCHQ’s Christmas bash begins at 6pm, the same time Conservative MPs are due to start voting in the confidence vote. Great timing…

h/t Mark Wallace

Tory Candidate Trickery

CCHQ have been ramping up candidate selections in recent months, readying themselves for any possibility following the meaningful vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on 11th December. Labour are adamant that they will force a vote of no confidence, and remainiac Tories like Sarah Wollaston have been cheering them on. Nothing can be taken for granted…

Guido has been hearing whispers that in the last couple of weeks, people on the candidates list who have been openly critical of the Prime Minister’s deal on social media have been blocked from facing selection panels. It wouldn’t be the first time CCHQ have punished potential candidates for not being loyal enough on EU policy. At a time they’re trying to win over Eurosceptics is this such a good idea?

Brandon Emails National Convention About Backstop

Party chairman Brandon Lewis has sent this email to members of the National Convention.

Trying to convince the backbone of the party of the merits of the deal…

Batten Gets Gregg-on-Face

UKIP’s astute new leader has fallen for joke twitter account called “GuardianMemeWin“. The account describes itself as “the most insufferable newspaper parody account ever” in its twitter bio. Batten’s analysis was retweeted by the official UKIP twitter account…

Beleaguered Batten is not the only one to have fallen foul of a fake account. Yesterday evening CCHQ retweeted a fake, unverified Philip Hammond account. It even spelled his first name incorrectly…

After making that mistake too many times Guido tends to block parody accounts…

Tory App R.I.P.

This afternoon an error message popped up on the screens of many delegates who downloaded the Tory conference app to their phones.

After the data leak many will say “goodbye and good riddance”…

Security Blunder Leaks Conference Delegates Data

The Tory Conference app has been hacked and people have got hold of Boris Johnson’s mobile number, prank called the Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson, changed Michael Gove’s profile pic to Rupert Murdoch… well you get the idea.  When Guido says “hacked” he actually means you just had to enter Boris’s email address and you were logged in as him. Which is exactly what Guardian columnist Dawn Foster did when she logged on as Boris Johnson. She then – illegally in a breach of data protection laws – tweeted out the exploit to all and sundry leading to a massive data breach being opened for almost an hour before CCHQ managed to shut down all the personalisation functions. The app store says the app was heavily downloaded today…

Guido is a bit late to reporting this because for the last 3 hours he has being trying to discover what personal data of his is out in the public domain. Under the GDPR law it is an obligation for organisations to inform individuals without undue delay. They must also

  • ensure you have robust breach detection, investigation and internal reporting procedures in place. This will facilitate decision-making about whether or not you need to notify the relevant supervisory authority and the affected individuals.
  • keep a record of any personal data breaches, regardless of whether you are required to notify.

Guido contacted the CCHQ press office trying to find out what was going on after he saw his conference pass photo was out there on the internet and he got a prank text message. At the time of going to pixel attendees have not even been informed of the data breach unless they logged in before the personalisation functionality was removed. If like Guido you had no idea about the existence of the app never mind that your data was on it, you will not have been informed. Journalists, MPs, ministers, diplomats and regular delegates who have been compromised will not know unless they are told by CCHQ – as required by law. So that warning needs to go out, now.

Only 15,316 Tories in London

A somewhat indiscreet press release from CCHQ has revealed that there are just 15,316 Tory members in London who were eligible to vote in the Mayoral candidate selection.  That isn’t even enough to fill QPR’s Loftus Road Stadium…

A total of just 7,321 voted in the mayoral primary, which CCHQ revealed was a turnout of 47.8%. All Tory members in London who joined the party more than three months ago were eligible to vote. Tories have some work to do if Shaun is going to seriously challenge Sadiq…

Tories Introduce Equality & Diversity ‘Re-Education’ Programme


Tory Party Chairman Brandon Lewis has emailed local party associations to promote new ‘equality and diversity training’ provided by the party. The service is open to all association chairmen, officers, and members. It has been immediately dubbed a “re-education programme”.

Whilst the programme is voluntary, the promotional email encourages members to take part, stating that “I hope you will find this service useful.” Guido can remember when Conservatives were opposed to equality*…

*More specifically, egalitarianism.

CCHQ Encouraging Associations to Reject New Membership Applications

In a confidential memo from Natalie Crosby-Jones, head of membership, circulated by CCHQ to local Tory organisers, they are encouraged to refuse membership to people joining “whose declared opinions or conduct shall, in their judgement, be inconsistent with the objects or financial well-being of the Association, or likely to bring the party into disrepute.”

A nervous CCHQ appears to be encouraging scepticism from associations towards new members.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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