Steve Brine Told to “F**k Off” Over Boris Coup Attempts

Ministers are on resignation watch. On Friday The Telegraph reported serving pensions minister Guy Opperman had been added to a list of 64 rebels set to be hit with a post-Jubilee charm offensive. It’s also thought Penny Mordaunt could be a resignation threat given her continued showboating against various government policies – she has just sent a tweet which pointedly ignores the matter at hand. Word reaches Guido that a “bunch of malcontent remoaner ex-ministers” are calling ministers pleading with them not to support Boris, with Steve Brine accused of leading the charge. Apparently he’s sending WhatsApps to remind everyone it’s a “#SecretBallot”…

The rallying call isn’t landing with all his colleagues, however. One minister tells Guido:

“If he messages me he can f**k right off, the only reason he’s still an MP is Boris brought him back after losing the whip and now he’s trying to shaft him.”

Brine briefly lost the whip in 2019 after supporting the Benn Act. In the general election a few months later, his majority plummeted from 9,999 to 985. Another hardcore remainer with a score to settle…

mdi-timer 6 June 2022 @ 09:47 6 Jun 2022 @ 09:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sajid: I Don’t Know if There’ll Be a Vote of No Confidence

Since Grant Shapps yesterday said “there won’t be a confidence vote”, we now appear to have hit a new line of ‘don’t know’, with Sajid Javid this morning saying the PM will fight to win and do just that. The questioning came among major rumours this morning that Tory rebels truly believe the threshold has been breached, and Times Radio’s Lucy Fisher saying Brady will make a statement at 8 am.

This morning former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman has tweeted out his letter to Sir Graham. Strap in…

mdi-timer 6 June 2022 @ 07:42 6 Jun 2022 @ 07:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
What’s the Plan?

As Tory MPs vent their anger and put their letters into Graham Brady, it is clear that if a week is a long time in politics, 3 months is like an epoch. Nevertheless, as Tory MPs reflect on their electoral futures and Labour’s 10 point lead in the polls, it is worth bearing in mind that only 3 months ago the party was jubilant and 10 points ahead of Labour. The electorate is livid to the point of hurting at the thought that, whilst they were locked down, the people making the rules were partying behind closed doors. That wound is about to be cauterised by Sue Gray.

Boris is the most successful campaigner in a generation; he won the Tories their biggest majority in decades. Given post-pandemic politics is particularly volatile, perhaps a sense of perspective is necessary. Mid-term blues are not a new phenomenon. In 1981 inflation had risen to 10%, and a Gallup poll for the Daily Telegraph had 70% disapproval of Margaret Thatcher – the lowest point reached by any Prime Minister since modern polling methods had begun. The poll also said 50.5% of voters intended to support the Social Democrats and Liberals. She went on to win two more elections…

If Tory MPs get rid of Boris during a mid-term lull, when they are 10 points behind, what is the plan? None of the front runners for the leadership even wants the job right now. Polling shows that none of the leading rival candidates for PM would save some 100 plus seats that would be lost if a general election were held tomorrow. If the Tories switch Prime Ministers without a general election, the calls for a general election mandate will mount. Be careful what you wish for… 

Cheered on by the BBC, the Mirror and Guardian, Tory MPs are venting their anger and the genuine anger of their constituents with Downing Street via Graham Brady. Turfing out a Prime Minister over twentysomethings in Downing Street guzzling cheese and wine is not really on a level with Suez, are they sure this is a well judged course of action? Politics is volatile, that 10 point lead Labour has today could switch back in 3 months again. Boris could turn it around like Thatcher. Who of the other current contenders has the strength of personality and ability to connect with voters?

mdi-timer 19 January 2022 @ 09:49 19 Jan 2022 @ 09:49 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rumours Swirl by Day in Parliament and at Night in the Carlton Club

Westminster is a funny place where time moves at different paces; yesterday we were hearing pressure had cooled off on the PM, tonight we could be hours away from Brady declaring a confidence vote. Lobby hacks have, this afternoon, given breathless reports of discontented MPs pushing it close to hitting the letter threshold for a leadership contest. Much of this evening’s speculation was sparked by a tweet from Laura Kuenssberg:

The MP for Melton being Alicia Kearns, a leading 2019 MP often touted for a future ministerial career. Guido’s since heard a good 30-or-so MPs attended the so-called ‘Melton coup’ meeting, however it wasn’t the first and Kearns isn’t a key organiser, her office merely hosted today’s meeting. A meeting also took place last night, apparently hosted by Dorset MP Chris Loder who recently wrote “I’m embarrassed by Downing Street party revelations”. Funnily enough he’s managed to avoid similar briefings against him…

Several MPs have reckon the initial briefing to Kuenssberg of coming from the Whips’ office. One MP accused Mark Spencer himself of being the source of the briefing, in an attempt to dissuade further 2019 backbenchers from joining the rebellion. One MP told Guido the whips are a ####### disgrace…

As well as the briefings against Kearns, Guido hears another 2019er involved in the talks has this evening been approached by a paper claiming No. 10 has since pointed the finger of blame at them. Newsnight’s Nic Watt claims 2019ers are under siege from whips…

In other news, one MP informed Guido that multiple PPSs met with Dan Rosenfield in PCH this afternoon, where at one meeting of six they told him point-blank that there needed to be mass sackings from No. 10, and that this is the worst administration they’d seen in recent political memory.

Over at the Carlton Club tonight Will Wragg was holding court tonight with a small number of the 109 Group of MPs.

This confused many on Twitter who thought a mob of 109 MPs had gathered with pitchforks in St James. Matters got more confusing when Telegraph legend Chris Hope tweeted:

Nadine Dorries was characteristically blunt “Chris, this is just hysterical unsubstantiated nonsense. Journalists need to calm down. Neither the PM or Conor Burns were anywhere near the Carlton Club tonight. However, I was, as the guest speaker at a dinner accompanied by a SPAD. Seriously, go and lie down.” Too much cheese and wine?

Where this all leads, that’s for tomorrow to decide…

mdi-timer 18 January 2022 @ 22:30 18 Jan 2022 @ 22:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Which Cabinet Ministers are Backing the PM?

Any missed ministers’ statement of support (or otherwise), SpAds know how to get in touch…

Honourable mentions:

mdi-timer 12 January 2022 @ 16:26 12 Jan 2022 @ 16:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Team Hunt’s Quiet Leadership Threat

Despite yesterday’s tax-raising budget, Rishi’s “next PM” odds saw a huge boost, from 21% chance to 29% in the space of a few hours. Another point of note is that Jeremy Hunt is in third place on 8% after Keir Starmer, ahead of every other member of the government. Could Hunt’s chances of a successful second run be being underplayed however?

While Rishi’s slick comms operation is now under constant scrutiny, Hunt’s also had a ‘good pandemic’ thanks in no small part to two key former SpAds who have taken to working for Hunt even now he’s outside of government:

  • Christina Robinson now runs the Health Committee chair’s comms in a private capacity (thus doesn’t appear on his official staffing register) after SpAding for him between 2012 to 2019, and helping run his 2019 leadership campaign.
  • Fellow former SpAd Adam Smith – who was resigned in 2012 following the BskyB scandal – is also hired as his Chief of Staff.
  • Hunt’s even got his own health advisor – Dr Raf Kochaj – to advise on Covid.

Guido can think of a few cabinet ministers with less organised advisor set-ups…

Hunt made slashing corporation tax to just 12.5% his big post-Brexit pitch to Tory members last time around, to mach Ireland’s competitiveness. A well organised, tax cutting opponent should give Rishi pause for thought after he yesterday became the first chancellor – of any party – to raise corporation tax since 1974…

mdi-timer 4 March 2021 @ 11:15 4 Mar 2021 @ 11:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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