Tory Brain Drain as Labour Beef Up Attack

The cynics amongst you might think it’s an interesting time for CCHQ stalwart Nick Park to jump to the private sector.

The Tory head of research and attack crafter is off to energy giants Centrica.

The loss of the best part of decade’s experience is a blow for the Tories.

Meanwhile Labour are beefing up their attack team for the coming digital battle. Obama’s rapid rebuttal unit “backroom Brit” Matt McGregor:

“McGregor was responsible for the digital rapid response unit that attacked Mitt Romney relentlessly, ensuring that any statement by the Republican was picked over and rebutted, often within minutes or hours.”

Could get bloody…

Tories Bring in Twitter Experts to Train MPs Leaked Email Proves There Is 'Lines to Take' Tweet Spin List

Both Labour and the Tories have previously denied coordinating their MPs and activists use of Twitter and other forms of social media. Guido has long suspected they were bluffing; not least because Peter Hain doesn’t even bother to change the ‘Line to Take’ tweets before putting them out, and many Tories have been caught out sending  mysteriously similar and very on message tweets before. Now Guido has seen an email sent via the Government Whips to Tory MPs from the Digital Team at CCHQ that lets the cat out of the bag.

The email, sent less than an hour ago, coughs:

“At CCHQ we run an internal email list to notify people when tweets have gone out from @david_cameron or if anything high priority has gone out from @conservatives, so that they are aware of our comms and can retweet to share with their followers if they wish. Please let us know if you would like to be added to this list and what email address you would like these notifications to be sent to.”

Further to that, CCHQ are still trying to get the basics across to their less technologically able MPs with Twitter training from the company itself. It also looks like their more unruly and outspoken members are being brought in for a sinister sounding session on “compliance”:

“Twitter will be running two training sessions for MPs in the next couple of months (dates tbc) at the House of Commons as part of the series we are holding commencing with one on Compliance next Monday. There will be two different sessions, designed for different levels of experience – ‘beginner setup’ and ‘improving existing accounts’. More details will follow, however please do let us know if you’d like to register an interest in one of these sessions.”

They are coming for you Mike Fabricant!

UPDATE: Phew! Fabricant says far from being silenced he is in fact organising the sessions:

He didn’t deny the coordination of MPs tweets though…

Roses are Red, Boris is Blue He's Not Got a Date, So It Could Be You

Guido noted yesterday that the Tories clearly don’t have much hope of their staff getting dates tonight and are throwing a collective bash for parliamentary researchers and secretaries, but now it seems their most high-profile ladies man is also fancy free tonight. Instead of roses and candles, tonight Boris will be leading a tele-canvassing session for the Eastleigh by-election from CCHQ. Girls in pearls have been warned via a party email to get there early “to ensure you don’t miss the great man.”

Form a queue…

Exclusive: Tory Online Campaign in Marginal Constituencies Highlights “Hardworking Families v People Who Won’t Work”

Have Your SayEd Miliband’s key political strategy adviser Greg Beales told the last National Executive Committee meeting that their private polling showed that the biggest doubts the public has about the Labour Party were over immigration, spending too much and being soft on benefit cheats. This chimes with George Osborne’s strategic dividing line on welfare reform, where Ed Miliband and Ed Balls appear to be happy to be on the opposing side of the argument to the public. The Tories are going to relentlessly exploit this strategic weakness.

On Wednesday at PMQs Miliband went on the attack on welfare and then LabourList revealed on Thursday that the Labour Party was planning an online campaign in 60 key marginal seats. CCHQ was alerted and Grant Shapps ordered a rapid pre-buttal campaign in the same 60 marginal seats. Within 24 hours local newspapers in places like Watford, Thurrock and Blackpool North were flooded with hundreds of thousands of online adverts. Labour candidates looking at the news on their local newspaper websites this morning will be horrified to see CCHQ spending money to support incumbent Tory MPs two years ahead of the general election. It is going to be a long campaign…

Home Office Using Labour Lines on Snooping Law

Tomorrow two parliamentary inquiries are published into Theresa May’s internet snooping plans and are expected to be grim reading for the Home Office. One of the main criticisms set to be levelled by both the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill and the Joint Intelligence Committee, is that the evidence provided by the Home Office has been “fanciful” and “misleading.” Too add insult to injury, Guido can this afternoon reveal leaked CCHQ documents that show how before the election the Tories were not quite as enthusiastic about the plans, refusing to legislate before an evidence-based review of current powers and data was undertaken and calling Labour’s argument that it was all about “maintaining capabilities” ostentatious:

Conservative Campaign Guide, 2010.

Collection of Personal Details.
In April 2009 the Government announced that it had dropped proposals for a central database to collect details of email, phone and internet communications. However it published a consultation on plans to collect details about all our personal communications ostensibly on the grounds of maintaining existing police and security service capabilities to counter serious crime and terrorism.

Threat to privacy.
Instead of a central database, the Home Office now proposes requiring each service provider to collect and store information on calls, texts, emails and website visits so that the security service and other public authorities can access it when needed. The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages (Home Office, Protecting the public in a changing communications environment, 27 April 2009). The Information Commissioner responded by saying that ‘this proposal represents a step change in the relationship between the citizen and the state’. He also criticised the Government for not providing sufficient detail of its proposals (Information Commissioner’s response to Protecting the Public in a Changing Communication Environment – A consultation by the Home Office, 15 July 2009)

Communications Data Retention Reviewed.
A Conservative government would conduct an evidence-based review of the retention of communications data. It would look at how useful existing powers are to law enforcement and intelligence authorities before suggesting that even more communications data should be collected. If there is a capability gap a Conservative government would investigate how much data should be collected and for how long, and look at the rules that should govern its exploitation.

No such review took place, and exactly the same argument of “maintaining capability” has been used by the Home Office for this Bill. Sir Humphrey the spook is alive and well…

Guido’s Column in the Daily Star Sunday

Also how Denis MacShane’s “red herring” proved what a slippery fish he was, Luciana Berger’s back-firing question, George Galloway’s support for Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad. 

Just 90p…

Full BBC Savile Cover-Up Email to Grant Shapps

The entire “gag” email sent to Grant Shapps by the BBC spin team two weeks ago has been leaked:

The incorrect “editorial reasons line” was still being pushed then.

Via Mail Online

CCHQ Tell Tory MPs: Don’t Mention Mitchell

This was sent around by CCHQ yesterday to Tory MPs

From: Park, Nick

Sent: 10 October 2012 11:28

To: Park, Nick

Subject: Andrew Mitchell

There is a journalist ring round under way asking MPs for their opinions on Andrew Mitchell. Please do not respond to these surveys – they are very unhelpful.

The line to take remains that Andrew Mitchell has apologised and that apology has been accepted by the Police and the Prime Minister; Andrew Mitchell is getting on with his job.

Nick

The PM will have to make up his mind before Monday. Surprising how many MPs and even Cabinet Ministers are openly sceptical he can survive…

Via: Jon Craig

Shapps Launches Poster Attack on Ed Miliband & Ed Balls

Shapps’ CCHQ goes negative. Expect two more years of this…

How To Lunch Discreetly

Leaked Tory Memo: Cable "Roasted" and "Damaged Lib Dems"

As the fallout from Clegg’s singing dominates Westminster, Vince Cable’s own positioning on the mea culpa has been forgotten. One line of CCHQ’s internal press summary for last night really sticks out. The internal blue verdict on Vince’s Newsnight appearance is stinging:

“Cable was serious [sic] roasted and further damaged the Lib Dems in an attempt to cover himself.” 

No sympathy there it seems…

Grant Shapps' How to Guide for CCHQ Team Reshuffles

Have you ever landed a fancy new job and then got stuck wondering just how you are going to reshuffle the team below you? Well fear not, internet guru Grant Shapps has just the solution for you. Watch with amazement as the new Tory top dog announces his beefed up team:

Deputy Chairman:

  • Sarah Newton MP

Vice Chairmen:

  • Alok Sharma MP – BME Communities
  • Richard Harrington MP – Campaign Finance
  • Bob Neill MP – Local Government
  • Michael Fabricant MP – Parliamentary Campaigning
  • Nicola Blackwood MP –  Social Action
  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP – International Affairs
  • Alan Lewis – Business
  • Andrew Stephenson MP – Youth

With rebellious LibDem getting promoted, note Blackwood and Clifton-Brown keep their jobs despite voting against the whips on Lords reform. No such luck for Conor Burns and Angie Bray…

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

If Grant Shapps’ first press release is anything to go by, not much has changed in the Party Chairman’s office over at CCHQ. Tory spinners are keen to point out that he has been kicking some arse in his first few days. Unhappy with the thumb-twiddling Corby campaign that he has inherited, the new Chairman has been sending out overly optimistic memos to all approved candidates compelling them to come and meet him on the front-line this weekend. “He’s not giving them much of a choice, it’s a clear sign of a new regime at CCHQ.” Same old lines being pumped out though…

Shapps Tie Was No Lie

Guido called BS on Grant Shapps’ claim yesterday on the Daily Politics that his tie cost £4, but low and behold the new Tory Chairman has published the receipt:

This sartorial butchery shows just how much the party has changed.

Where’s Warsi? Not in CCHQ for Much Longer…

Not too late to call for The Miner

CCHQ Warsi Spin Fun

This morning on ConservativeHome Alistair Thompson reported that beleaguered Tory chairman Baroness Warsi was both “on holiday” and “destined for demotion“. A few hours later CCHQ went out of their way to deny one of those claims:

In the comments Thompson says CCHQ emailed ConHome to refute that Warsi was currently on a summer break, but gave no such rebuttal that she is facing the chop in the Autumn reshuffle. Telling…

CCHQ Begin Corby Candidate Contest Badly

Wannabe Tories on the party’s approved candidates list were left unimpressed last night when this hit their inboxes:

From: Chairman of Candidates
Date: 6 August 2012 17:58
Subject: Corby and East Northamptonshire
To: Candidates

The Party now has a pending Parliamentary by-election in Corby and East Northamptonshire and we are asking every candidate on the Approved List to rise to the challenge. Our call centre in CCHQ Midlands, based in Coleshill will be open from 10.00am until 8.00pm on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or you can make evening calls from CCHQ.

To take part please contact xxxx@conservatives.com with the dates you are available to help.

If there are reasons why you cannot give your support at this time, please let Gareth know by emailing xxxx@conservatives.com  or Davina on xxxx@conservatives.com

Carlyn Chisholm
Chairman of Candidates

Before asking people to sacrifice their time and effort in the name of a by-election, would it not have been more sensible to tell the hopefuls the process, if one exists, by which one of them could become the candidate? Or is this by-election selection, as widely speculated, going to be another back-room stitch up? The A-list parachuting operation went so well last time…

Warsi Cleared on Expenses Mystery

According to Joe Murphy of the Standard, Warsi has got away it over her expenses mystery:

Refresh your memory of the allegations and fall out here.

UPDATE: CCHQ confirm:

Presumably she was able to prove that she paid the cash to someone, given that her landlord at the time claimed he received no money.

UPDATE II:

Cameron has said that “I am pleased that these allegations have been dismissed by the Lords Commissioner.” He mentions that Warsi as Co-Chairman will be leading the Tory Police commisioner elections “big summer of campaigning”. Moved in the autumn then…

Tory Rebels Keep Jobs

With Conor Burns quitting and Angie Bray being sacked for refusing to walk the line on Lords reform, eyebrows have been raised about other job-holding Tories who rebelled, but have somehow managed to stay in their party posts, nominally in the gift of the party leader.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown is head of the International Office at CCHQ. His former deputy there was Mark Pritchard, who made a big fuss about resigning a while back specifically so that he could vote against the leadership. Precedent has been set…

Nicola Blackwood is a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Social Action. Not for long though surely?

Charlotte Leslie is Cameron’s Big Society Ambassador. A job that her local paper claims makes her a “lynch pin” in the project. How will it cope?

Will they face the high jump or will the Whips turn a blind eye?

UPDATE: It’s a no comment from CCHQ.

Dave Preparing Conference EU Blitz

The latest briefing to Tory MPs gives an interesting clue as to Cameron’s next move re-Europe:

From: CCHQ
Date: 2 July 2012
To: MPs Lines To Take
Subject: Political Topline: 2 July 2012

Good afternoon. Please see below the political top line:

The Prime Minister is clear that an in-out referendum is not the answer right now.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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