With whom did the Prime Minister have a “general discussion” early last year?
And who did he meet two months later?
Wonder what they could have discussed…
Asked by the Loose Women whether she would humbly put her name forward if her country was to call upon her, Esther McVey said yes:
JSP: “Do you want to be Prime Minister?”
EM: “To be honest, it is not as simple as that.”
JSP: “Yes or no?”
EM: “If I had to do a yes or no, I’d be honest, I’d say yes.”
To rapturous applause…
Senior LibDem Don Foster, MP for Bath for the past 23 years, clearly thinks he can do the job in his sleep. The chain-smoking chief whip has been struggling to stay awake even during Cabinet meetings. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Tory ministers have been unable to hide their giggles as the 67-year-old dozes off, out of sight from his leader Nick Clegg but in full view of the Prime Minister. Gambling coalition cabinet colleagues have opened a book, taking bets on how long into the Tuesday morning meeting the old dear’s eyelids will start to droop. Sounds like a dream job.
At last some government good news:
“Hospitals and fire services will be run “outside the public sector” as the Conservatives dramatically shrink the state and cut costs, a senior minister has disclosed. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, told The Telegraph that services could be handed over to mutual companies owned by employers and other non-state bodies. Mr Maude, who is drawing up plans for £20 billion of Whitehall savings by 2020, said that with the exception of defence and policing, every function of the state could potentially be done outside the public sector.”
The Tories are hoping the voters will swallow their “Long Term Economic Plan” slogan, though one adviser is literally stuffing it down throats. Last week saw Downing Street staff recreate the Great British Bake Off, with civil service boss Sir Jeremy Heywood playing the role of Mary Berry and judging the contest.
Raising money for Magic Breakfast – who provide 8,500 brekkies to school children every day – SpAd Daniel Korski’s entry was a cake emblazoned with the slogan, though that lost out to the elaborate gingerbread reconstruction of No 10 Deputy Head of Press Alan Sendorek.
Insiders blame rigid civil service impartiality for the the decision – Sir Jeremy’s loyalty must always be to the office and institution rather than the party in power. “I was robbed” says a source close to Korski.
Not a great start for the new No. 10 Head of News Nicola Hudson. In her first week in the job she has just sent this morning’s government toplines for the day out to all of Whitehall’s taxpayer-funded spinners. However, she forgot to remove the Conservative Party’s email signature from whichever top Tory strategist crafted the lines before forwarding them. CCHQ writing government lines… whodathunk?
Earlier this week a well versed government source whispered to Guido that Ed Llewellyn is holding out to secure the Ambassadorship to Berlin. Well, the latest No. 10 SpAd hospitality declarations suggest Herr Llewellyn has been busy making plans for the job. In only one of two publicly declared engagements, Dave’s Chief of Staff attended the Königswinter Conference, an annual meeting that has taken place since the Second World War “with the aim of improving the troubled relationship between Germany and Great Britain”. It sees “around 80 German and British politicians, diplomats, business managers, academics and journalists for a profound exchange of ideas”, promising to “create bonds and friendships”, and presumably future careers. For you, Eddie, ze coalition is almost over…
Guido’s revelation that Cameron’s Europhile Chief of Staff wants out of Downing Street, has not been denied.
Forget the rumours of Rome, now a well versed government source whispers that Ed Llewellyn is holding out to secure the Ambassadorship to Berlin before jumping ship.
Well Kim Philby ended up in Moscow…
David Cameron’s Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn has signalled that he wants out. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday the exact timings are yet to be decided, though Llewellyn is holding out for a top ambassadorship with Dave reportedly promising his Old Etonian chum the plum job in Rome or Washington. A Downing Street source claims the PM is “indifferent” about Llewellyn going, telling Guido: “Like everyone, he hears the whispers about Evil Eddie.”
Meanwhile, Guido is told Dave’s hopes of poaching Osborne’s Chief of Staff Rupert Harrison to replace Llewellyn were short-lived. So far it appears Osborne’s “brain” is not keen on sticking around either and is also hoping to leave before the next election.
Will the last Chief of Staff to leave Downing Street please turn off the lights…
Tough one to explain…
Craig Oliver is facing a misconduct hearing as smears return to the heart of Downing Street. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Labour have reported him to the Cabinet Office for breaking the Special Advisers Code of Conduct after he accused Peter Oborne of being “tired and emotional” on Newsnight. The rules prohibit any adviser from the “preparation or dissemination of inappropriate material or personal attacks.” Labour MP Sheila Gilmore has written to Jeremy Heywood calling for an investigation:
“It is disgraceful that such a senior adviser to David Cameron has behaved in this way. This shows Craig Oliver to be as nasty as the rest of the Tory party. Jeremy Heywood should treat this incident with the utmost seriousness. The taxpayer should not be paying the wages of someone so unprofessional.”
When the spokesperson needs a spokesperson…
Matthew D’Ancona once quoted a “Cameron ally” dismissing the long-term threat posed by UKIP. D’Ancona’s soothsaying source predicted Farage’s party “should reach its peak in the European elections on May 22”, leading the Telegraph columnist to urge Dave to “forget UKIP”, warn “too much time is still devoted to soothing those who might jump ship” and profess “UKIP will not be Cameron’s biggest problem”.
The ill-fated “peak UKIP” analysis adopted by Downing Street up until recently was based on the fatally flawed insight of Cameron’s über-modernising gay-marriage architect and pollster Andrew Cooper, who told the Prime Minister two years ago that UKIP would just be a “flash in the pan”. He once argued via Powerpoint slides in a presentation to Tory MPs that UKIP’s rise was down to “mid-term grumbles” rather than anything more serious. Since then UKIP have stubbornly maintained their position in the polls, two Tory MPs have defected, thousands of true blue activists have joined the purple army and they have just taken a formerly safe Tory seat in a by-election. If the Tories lose in 2015, Cooper is the man most to blame – he may well go down in British political history as the worst adviser/pollster of the modern era…
Congratulations to No. 10 Deputy Chief of Staff Oliver Dowden who has, after many years of trying, finally found a seat. Hertsmere has a majority of 17,605, which should be UKIP-proof for even the ultimate political class lobbyist turned government spinner. Croydon South’s loss is Hertsmere gain.
Spotted at No.10 today:
Eagle-eyed snapper Steve Back got the scoop: the Daily Mail editor takes Her Majesty’s Telegraph.
Don’t tell Tony Gallagher…
‘Theresa May got into an argument with No 10 over the timing of a policy announcement. She wanted to reveal the government’s plans in the House of Commons, observing parliamentary propriety, but the prime minister’s office pressed her to give an interview to Radio 4’s Today programme instead. If she did not do so, she was told: “We will lose the next three hours.’
Now which expert spinner could that have been?
As Guido reported ten days ago, “tension boiled over recently with Oliver going shouty-crackers and demanding the Home Secretary show him some respect.” It seems May’s idea of showing him some respect was briefing Rachel Sylvester.
You had one job.
UPDATE: And in GIF form:
No. 10 has announced that the Saltire will be raised above Downing Street this afternoon until “the end of the referendum period”.
Picture the scene on September 19, as the flag of Free Caledonia has to be slowly pulled down from atop the home of the English Prime Minister…
The Tory threat level has been raised to ‘severe’ as the rumbling conflict between the Home Office and Downing Street goes nuclear. Theresa May is struggling to disguise her contempt for the Craig Oliver and, as revealed in yesterday’s Sun, it boiled over recently with the Super Spinner doing himself no favours by going shouty crackers and demanding the Home Secretary show him some respect.[…] Read the rest