Two New Top Government Hires

Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policy chief Mike Hatchett has defected to the government’s Department for Exiting the European Union. Yep, a senior Corbyn aide has just joined the Tory government apparatus…

Corbyn signed up Hatchett less than a year ago, now he will work for David Davis. A former Treasury mandarin, Hatchett brought a modicum of respectability and considerable experience to Corbyn’s team. Politico report:

“Asked about Hatchett’s departure, a spokesman for the Labour leader declined to comment. However Corbyn’s allies, speaking on condition of anonymity, rejected the accusation that Hatchett had become disillusioned.”

Meanwhile Number 10 has hired Mike Crowhurst as their new Education adviser. Crowhurst was formerly a history teacher in Birmingham and recently a director of Downing Street’s chief of staff Nick Timothy’s old organisation the New Schools Newtork, May tightening her control on new Number 10 hires…

Number 10 Blaming Number 11, Number 11 Blaming Number 10

Treasury sources tell Newsnight’s Nick Watt that “Number 10 just wants to spend money” and that “some of the senior political advisers around the Prime Minister have anti-Tory ideas about raising taxes”. They say Hammond had to fight against May and claim she wanted to raise Capital Gains Tax and NICs for higher-rate taxpayers. Meanwhile there is pushback from Number 10 in the Times, which quotes a source saying of Team Hammond: “They just forgot the manifesto”. Trouble…

James Slack New PM’s Spokesman

Daily Mail political editor James Slack has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson. You read it here first… 

Theresa May’s Number 10 SpAds Profiled

Excellent updated Daily Politics film on the Number 10 SpAds who run the country behind the scenes…

All Change in Number 10 Spin Team

Number 10 is dealing with wholesale departures from its civil service spin team. Last month it was revealed Theresa May’s highly-respected official spokesman Helen Bower is leaving to run comms for Boris at FCO. Today it emerges the deputy PMOS, the popular Greg Swift, is off to spin for David Davis at the Brexit department. There is fevered speculation tonight that Daily Mail political editor James Slack is being tapped up for the PMOS role, though there is nothing in the way of an official announcement yet. Sure the No. 10 comms team has been a joy to work in over the last couple of weeks…

Article 50 Party at Downing Street Next Week

The tabling of the Article 50 Bill was an historic moment that Eurosceptics have waited decades to witness, and Downing Street will be throwing a party next week for Tory MPs to celebrate. On Tuesday the Commons is sitting until midnight for the Bill’s second reading. Thirsty MPs in need of refreshments can decamp to Number 9 Downing Street from 7pm where chief whip Gavin Williamson and party chairman Patrick McLoughlin will be hosting colleagues at a bash “to mark this significant event”. As invites to Downing Street drinkies go, this will be one of the best-received in years…

Cable’s Ex-SpAd Giles Wilkes Heading to Downing Street

Usually reliable sources tell Guido that Giles Wilkes, the ex-SpAd to Vince Cable who is currently writing the Lex column and FT leaders, is joining Downing Street in the New Year. He will be covering the corporate governance and industrial strategy policy brief. His appointment shows how far the government has moved on from the free market neo-liberalism of the last three decades…

Nice guy. Big Remainer and Lib Dem obviously. Giles is vehemently opposed to Brexit and tightening up on immigration – so his policy differences with the PM are only on the core goals of Downing Street. As an ex-wonk from CentreForum he can be too clever by half, he was one of the few LibDems who thought tuition fees were the right thing to do, so he has the required classic political awareness and sensitivity of an autistic wonk. Obviously being an “expert economist” and former bookmaker he managed to publicly lose a bet to Guido on the direction of inflation…

His appointment will infuriate the right of the Conservative Party. Wilkes once described tax cuts as “gambling with taxpayers money”. Giles seems not to understand that it is their money in the first place. Mind you he did apologise for calling Guido “innumerate” after he lost that bet to him.

Guido was unable to confirm the appointment at the time of going to pixel despite reaching out to Wilkes.

N.B. SpAds wondering what he will be like to work with can watch him pontificating about SpAds here.

Boris Aide Joins Edelman After Team May Force Him Out

Boris Johnson’s respected former adviser Will Walden has joined lobbying firm Edelman after being forced out of government by Theresa May’s increasingly paranoid aides. Boris wanted Walden, his long-serving, well-liked director of communications, to join him at the Foreign Office. Number 10’s control freakery saw them refuse to sign off on the appointment, so Walden has moved to the private sector to earn a decent salary as Edelman’s MD. A talented public servant lost to the dark side thanks to more silliness from Downing Street…

PM’s Aides Turn Anger on CCHQ

Eagle-eyed tweeters will have noticed that the CCHQ Twitter account has not posted anything for six days. Nothing at all, in fact, since their ill-fated tweets directly targeting Labour MPs who abstained on the Article 50 vote. The attack misfired after it emerged some of the Labour MPs were away on international trips with Tory colleagues who also didn’t vote, a fact Labour took great delight in publicising. Theresa May’s famously relaxed and easy going Downing Street aides are said to have taken particular exception to the line of attack. Or as one Tory insider puts it:

“No. 10 went f*cking apesh*t, like bone throwing mad.”

Nicky Morgan got off lightly…

Leadsom First Out of Blocks With 25 Year Brexit Plan

leadsom

Super-keen Andrea Leadsom is the first Cabinet minister to deliver a departmental plan for Brexit to Downing Street. While some lethargic ministers are just beginning to get started, Number 10 were pleasantly surprised to receive a 25-year proposal from Andrea for how Brexit Britain should approach the environment. Worth reading this report by Leadsom’s Fresh Start group if you’re interested in the details, it includes policies such as refusing to abide by future renewables targets. Andrea of course said she would trigger Article 50 on day one if she had become PM, she’s a Brexit Cabinet minister who wants to get on with Brexit. Colleagues amused by her speediness should take a leaf out of her book!

Downing Street Brexit Notes Transcribed

paper

Veteran Downing Street photographer Steve Back has done it again – he’s snapped these notes being carried out of a meeting with Mark Field in Downing Street this afternoon. Someone at the meeting appears to have said we are “loathe” to do a transitional deal, we are “unlikely” to stay in the single market and that our position is to “have cake and eat it“. Here is an attempted transcription:

Won’t provide more detail. We think… be offered single market. Our criteria are clear – more open the better.

Manufacturing relatively straightforward
Services harder – because French hoping for business.
biggest interest is internal market

ECJ & control of borders won’t fit.

Transitional – loathe to do it. Whitehall will hold onto it. We need to bring an end to the negotiation.

Headlines won’t change from now until March though

Why no Norway – TWO elements – no ECJ intervention… beyond our trade with Europe. Unlikely to do internal market

Trade with EU through DexU not DIT.

What is the model? Have cake & eat it.
Very French negotiating team.
Need fair process guaranteed…
Canada Plus – more on services
Europe gets a good deal
BEA model not good

So has someone in Downing Street at last revealed the government’s Brexit plan?

Transcription via Chris Jones

May’s Five U-Turns in Three Months

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Theresa May has not yet been Prime Minister for three months and she has already u-turned on five significant policy issues:

  • EU citizens’ right to remain: During her leadership campaign May refused to guarantee the status of EU nationals living in the UK, now the government says they are “100% sure” they’ll be allowed to stay.
  • Hinkley Point: May announced a welcome pause on the new power plant, before approving the same deal proposed by Osborne.
  • Northern Powerhouse: Reports suggested May had decided to ditch Osborne’s pet project, she’s now said she’s fully behind it.
  • Foreign doctors: Jeremy Hunt suggested foreign doctors wouldn’t be able to stay in the country if they could be replaced by British recruits. May then failed three times in an interview to say the policy would go ahead.
  • Foreign staff lists: Amber Rudd’s plan to force companies to publish how many foreign staff they employ has now been abandoned.

During the Coalition years Guido put together a comprehensive rolling list of that government’s many, many u-turns. Some things don’t change…

May Orders Ministers to Link Every Policy to Meritocracy

Theresa May’s grammar schools speech was as much about defining her premiership as anything else. If eagle-eyed photographer Steve Back hadn’t snapped those secret government papers outlining the return of grammars, today’s speech would not have been made until conference. Senior Tories watching noted one key line:

“It will mean recalibrating how we approach policy development to ensure that everything we do as government helps to give a fair chance to those who are just getting by”

This is tanks-on-Labour’s-lawn rhetoric, but the PM is deadly serious about revamping how policy is formulated across Whitehall. Over the last few weeks ministers and civil servants have grown frustrated at Downing Street’s insistence that every single policy must have a “making the country work for everyone” angle. Policies and announcements that have nothing to do with May’s theme of meritocracy are being delayed or shunned until ministers can think of a way to make a link. In some departments, announcements and updates on old projects where the money has already been spent are being held back. As with Brexit, the government is actually getting work done, they just aren’t telling the public about it…

Theresa’s Copy and Paste Job

may

Theresa May tells us that “obviously over the summer – over the last few weeks – quite a lot of work has been done”. Which is good to know. So does the new government have any further detail on their plan for Brexit or their legislative agenda? Compare and contrast these quotes from the PM from today with her words over the last few weeks…

Today: “Brexit means Brexit, we’re going to make a success of it”

11 July: “Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it”

Today: “there’s no second referendum; no attempts to sort of stay in the EU by the back door”

11 July: “no attempts to remain inside the EU, with no second referendum or attempts to rejoin it by the backdoor”

Today: “We want to be a government and a country that works for everyone”

13 July: “a mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone”

Today: “I want it to be a society where it’s the talent that you have and how hard you’re prepared to work that determines how you get on”

13 July: “We will do everything to help you go as far as your talents can take you.”

Today: “we can get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business”

11 July: “get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business”

Today: “forge a new positive role for the UK in the world”

11 July: “forge a new role for ourselves in the World”

That “quite a lot of work” done over the summer appears to be copying and pasting her old speeches…

May Imposes Authority on Whitehall

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Much has been made of Theresa May’s formidable joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill rigorously vetting new SpAd appointments. This isn’t really that out of the ordinary, Ed Llewellyn would do likewise during the Cameron era. What has changed under the new regime is the level of control exerted over everyday life on Whitehall. Over the couple of weeks Downing Street has imposed its authority on government departments, insisting that everything from minor campaign launches to bog standard press releases go through Number 10 first. Departments were used to a far higher degree of autonomy, now everything has to be signed off. To some it has felt like a slightly suffocating centralisation of power. Sensible for the first few weeks perhaps, but ministers are hoping the PM loosens her grip once she is settled in…

SpAd List: New Appointments

SPADS

Downing Street sources indicate the final SpAd List will not be released for some weeks, so Guido’s spreadsheet is the only place to stay up to date. Since our last update Osborne’s widely-respected former SpAd Neil O’Brien has been kept on to do industrial strategy in Number 10. Damian Green has retained Flora Rose at DWP and signed up Matt Hancock’s old SpAd Lottie Dexter. Vote Leave spinner Rob Oxley teams up once again with Priti Patel at DfID. Another Vote Leave alumnus, their broadcast chief Lee Cain, is expected to join Leadsom at Defra. Rachel Wolf is reportedly leaving No.10 despite initially being kept on.

The Times says May will be purging SpAds to cut costs after the numbers rocketed under Dave, apparently a limit of two per Cabinet minister. That will go down like a cup of cold sick with the likes of Boris, Davis and Fox. Appointments are being vetted by May’s chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. Good luck – they are going to be ruthless… 

SpAd List Taking Shape

SPADS

Theresa May’s Downing Street team is slowly taking shape – her former SpAd and Vote Leave alumnus Stephen Parkinson is to be given a role. All of David Cameron’s SpAds were told to clear their desks and just two have been brought back into the fold, Rachel Wolf and super-SpAd Sheridan Westlake. New Secretaries of State are taking their time appointing advisers, meetings have been taking place over the last few days and names should start to trickle out next week:

If you know of any appointments Guido doesn’t have on his list, get in touch

Downing Street Boozing Kiboshed

may

Philip Hammond has joined Theresa May in cancelling a get-to-know-you drinks party for journalists. Last week the new PM, who is famously not a gossip and is keen to end the spinning / briefing culture of the old regime, called off her planned drinks bash with the Lobby. To be fair she was a little busy – it was at that point that Leadsom had just pulled out. Now this evening’s planned drinkies with the Chancellor at the Treasury are off as well, though hacks have been assured they’re only postponed until the autumn. Shame, it was a nice day for it. Pub?

SpAd List: May Names New Team

A new government means a new SpAd list and Guido’s handy resource of political appointments is beginning to take shape. Theresa May has appointed her former SpAds Fiona Hill (formerly Cunningham) and Nick Timothy as her Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her former spin doctor and PR guru Katie Perrior becomes Director of Communications. Mail on Sunday journalist turned media spokeswoman Liz Sanderson is Head of Features. Vote Leave alumnus and ex-IDS aide Lizzie Loudon will be Press Secretary. John Godfrey is the new Number 10 Director of Policy.

Ministers who survived the reshuffle are likely to keep hold of their bag-carriers so Guido has included them on the list for the time being. The high turnover of ministers means there are a lot of talented SpAds spending their evenings in Westminster pubs plotting their next move. New departments mean there are more places to fill. Help us fill in the gaps as and when appointments are made by emailing team@order-order.com

Sophy Ridge C-Bombs Jeremy Hunt

Boulton, pro that it he is, barely reacts, watch the eyes…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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