This is where the potential Tory leadership contenders stand this morning:
- Boris Johnson – Will announce he’s running within days. Jesse Norman, Nadhim Zahawi and Ben Wallace are phoning round MPs canvassing for support. Faces a battle to get on the ballot from Cameron’s allies, Remain MPs and a number of Leavers too. The story of the next few weeks is whether anyone can ‘Stop Boris’.
- Theresa May – Definitely a goer, the leading ‘Anyone But Boris’ candidate. Her aides did a ring around yesterday and a group of 20+ Remain MPs met on Friday where her name came up. MPs believe only she can beat Boris with the members. Several Leavers would back her. But would Cameron and Osborne?
Michael Gove– Many Leave MPs wanted him to run but he has always had reservations. Sunday Times says he is backing Boris. Out of the running.
- Stephen Crabb – Sets out his stall in two Sunday papers. Has the personal story but MPs say he isn’t PM material. Could be the Cameron/Osborne choice. Faces fight to the death with May to be the Remain candidate.
- Andrea Leadsom – Name has been doing the rounds for months. Leader of the Fresh Start group which will be a player in the next few years. Potential Chancellor?
- Liam Fox – Intends to stand. Has significant backing from the south-west contingent of MPs. Will he make a deal for a Cabinet post? Whoever squares him off will get a boost.
George Freeman– Who? He’s the Life Sciences minister and the Sunday Times says he’s running with the backing of 30 MPs from the 2010 and 2015 intakes. He has tweeted that he is “discussing how best to get a bold Programme of OneNation reforms centre stage. #” UPDATE: Tells Crick he’s not running.
- Nicky Morgan – Arch-Europhile. “Friends” unsubtly briefed Sky that she was “taking soundings“, which was treated with as much derision as when she put herself forward at conference last year.
- Jeremy Hunt – Tipped by the Mail on Sunday today, and previously by Toby Young and Peter Oborne. Could Cameron and Osborne back him? His SpAd Ed Jones has cryptically posted on Facebook that he is “losing his job”.
Dominic Raab– David Davis’ old chief of staff is something of a hipster choice for Tories who fancy a flutter. Name was in the mix pre-referendum and he had a good war. An outside right-wing choice, seems a long shot. UPDATE: Told Question Time tonight “I can tell you now I won’t be running.” Priti Patel– Has ruled herself out.
- George Osborne – Missing, loathed by Leavers over his scorched earth campaign and punishment budget. Isabel Oakeshott says he spent yesterday canvassing support. Has longer odds than Priti, and she’s not even in the running.
- Sajid Javid – Eurosceptic who went with Osborne and will forever live to regret it.
- David Davis – Said to want another go.
- Graham Brady – Chairman of the 1922 so has influence, said to fancy himself.
- Adam Afriyie – Genuinely not ruling himself out. LOL.
- Alan Duncan – hard for anyone he tells to keep a straight face. Attention seeking behaviour.
- Jeremy Hunt – well you have to dream. Will need a personality change.
So, who are you backing?
For the second time, Downing Street have summoned the press for a supposedly “significant” statement that has bombed:
Is that it? The “significant statement” is that Dave backs Remain?
Today brought the memorial service for Cecil Parkinson, the former Thatcher confidant and Party Chairman who was possibly one of the best Prime Ministers we never had. It was noted by many attendees that the PM did not show his face – it was held in St Margarets, Westminster Abbey, a 2 minute walk from Downing Street. He did turn up last month for the service for Geoffrey Howe and was expected today. Apparently Lord Feldman and Baroness Stowell represented the PM in his place. Was the PM too busy wasting his time at the Savoy or was it because Cecil was a Eurosceptic?
ITV’s scoop-getting political editor Robert Peston is annoying Tory spinners in more ways than one. When the other broadcasters film short interviews in Downing Street, they usually bring one camera with them to film the interviewee. Peston however insists on bringing two cameras, one to film the minister, the other to film himself. Apparently Pesto wants a camera on himself at all times so plenty of shots of him looking inquisitive can be edited into the package. This means double the number of camera crew, causing a headache for press officers. A senior government source reveals “he turns up with a f**king movie set”. Don’t disturb the creative process…
Pundits and political producers have complained since the election that Downing Street is refusing to put up ministers on television. Craig Oliver has an iron grip on broadcast appearances, implementing a “one minister a day” policy where a single, reliable minister reads out the lines to take on whatever issue. Our Minister Media Monitor charts ministerial broadcast appearances throughout the day, everyday.
From the Today programme to Newsnight, we monitor which ministers appeared answering questions in interviews. Note this will not include doorsteps, only scheduled appearances. Our league table ranks ministers by their number of appearances, showing who is the flavour of the month in No.10, and who has been kept away from the cameras. This resource empirically illustrates No.10’s strict broadcast grid, their reticence at sending ministers out to be held to account, and how this is being challenged by the referendum. Here is the spreadsheet with the data from February and here is the league table…
The referendum sees three Leave ministers make the top ten, with Chris Grayling by some way the most vocal. Philip Hammond is No.10’s flavour of the month to give the government’s line, followed by the ever-reliable Matt Hancock. Jeremy Hunt was under the spotlight over junior doctors and government spinners obviously think it is important to get as many women on screen as possible – Greening, Rudd and Soubry are high up the list. It is notable that there were just 53 ministerial broadcast appearances in February, and a considerable number of these by off-the-grid Outers not authorised by Craig Oliver. George Osborne is keeping away from the cameras, the submarine Chancellor appeared just twice in 29 days…
Taxpayer-funded civil servants have been authorised by David Cameron to use public resources to campaign for Remain. Will advisers and officials working for ministers who back Leave have the same freedom? They have tonight been issued a strict ban on their activities by the Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood.[…] Read the rest
Last Thursday, before the EU council meeting, the Telegraph had a briefing that “more than 80 FTSE 100 firms” were about to support Dave’s deal and back Remain:
Yesterday, after the deal, the FT reported that only 50 FTSE bosses were going to sign the letter supporting Remain:
Guido has got hold of a draft letter sent to FTSE 100 bosses by Downing Street business adviser Chris Hopkins yesterday, soliciting support for Dave’s deal. It was due to appear in tomorrow’s Times, but you can read it on Guido today:
[…] Read the rest
From: Chris Hopkins
Sent: 21 February 2016
We run businesses representing every sector and region of the United Kingdom.
8:00pm: No.10 briefing to Lobby: “I would say the going is tough, this could be a long night. Some real outstanding issues to resolve, it’s not clear how we’re going to do that.”
8:20pm: BBC reports No.10 source: “impasse… we thought there might be talk of bridges but still big gaps”, “talks pushed back”
[…] Read the rest
5:29am: Times reports No.10 downbeat: “problems across the board”
7:50am: No.10 briefing to Lobby: “It’s hard going.
The PM brought back up to his summer bash for Peroni-guzzling Lobby hacks last night, but it was the weather that rained on his parade – literally. As damp Tory leadership contenders worked the thinning lawn of the Downing Street rose garden, a relaxed Dave stood side by side with Theresa May doling out titbits to a ‘doughnut’ of senior correspondents, while Saj put in a good innings.[…] Read the rest
Minister for Europe David Lidington has written to Tory MPs to tell them they are still planning on stitching up the EU Referendum, but it’s ok because they they will ‘work with them’ to do so:
[…] Read the rest
16th June 2015
EU REFERENDUM BILL
I am writing ahead of the Committee Stages of the Bill to address some of the key concerns raised by colleagues during the Second Reading debate last week and to set out the Government’s approach.