No. 10 Accidentally Reveal CCHQ Writing Gov Top Lines

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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?

Herr Llewellyn “Creates Bonds and Friendships” With Germany

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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…

Wilkommen Herr Llewellyn: Cam Chief ‘Holding Out For Berlin’

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…

Llewellyn Tells PM He Wants Out of No.10

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…

Labour’s Letter to Heywood Demanding Dre Smear Investigation

Tough one to explain…

Craig Oliver Faces “Smear” Misconduct Hearing

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…

If the Tories Lose in 2015, Blame Cooper Not Farage

andrew-cooper

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…

Oliver Dowden Finally Finds a Seat

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.

Dacre Takes The Telegraph

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…

TORY WARS: May / Oliver Airwaves Briefing Spat

As you read in last week’s Sun on Sunday or this morning’s Times, Theresa May is on the war path with the Number 10 operation, again. Rachel Sylvester reports:

‘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.

Saltire is Dead

You had one job.

UPDATE: And in GIF form:

Beyond Saltire

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…

TORY WARS: Home Office Threat Level Raised to Severe

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. Eye rolls all round. “Craig did a great job briefing the counter terrorism statement,” says a Home Office source.

Gravy Train Stops at No. 10 for Transport Super SalaryNo. 10's Head of News Heads to Siberia

Three weeks ago Guido reported:

“DfT are offering a budget-busting £770-a-day to their new Director of Communications, which, if he or she works 240 days a year, puts the successful applicant on £184,800. Making them considerably better paid than the Secretary of State. Talk about jumping on the high-speed gravy train…”

Well all aboard for Scot Marchbank, one time Deputy Spokesman to the PM and latterly N0. 10’s Head of News. It’s one heck of a promotion in cash terms and into the Whitehall wilderness in terms of power. Guido is suspicious of the timing. Jumped, or pushed? You choo-choose.

Scowling Dave Arrives Back at Downing Street

Someone does not look too pleased about being back at work unexpectedly.

You would never have thought someone just enjoyed ten days in sunny Portugal…

Tories Tipped That Ruffley Row Was About to Go Very PublicConservative Staff Threatened With Sack if They Joined Protest

It has been briefed that it was a ‘pincer movement’ from the Chief Whip and the Party Chairman that sealed the deal for Ruffley yesterday. They were kicked into action, finally, by the leak of this letter from the Dean of Bury St Edmunds, and tens of thousands of people signing an online petition. Crucially the Tories were also made aware yesterday morning of a letter planned for Wednesday’s Times from dozens of women affiliated with the Conservative Party. “Women problem” is an understatement.

Guido has obtained a copy:

We are writing to share our concerns about the behaviour of David Ruffley MP.

We consider it unacceptable that a man who has accepted a caution for assaulting his partner should continue in his position.

This Conservative-led government has a proud record of acting to prevent domestic violence.  On 2 July 2014 the Prime Minister asserted the importance of  Clare’s Law in relation to abusive partners, and on 8 March 2014 the Home Secretary said: “I am determined to see a society where violence against women and girls is not tolerated, where people speak out.” It is disappointing, therefore, that despite the Government’s strong moral stance on this issue, our own party has been slow to take any action against one of their own Members, who has accepted a police caution for assault of his partner, one of the crimes we are trying to prevent.

When Andrew Pelling MP was arrested under suspicion of assaulting his wife in 2007, the whip was immediately withdrawn, pending an investigation by the party’s ethics committee. We are pleased that the new Chief Whip, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP decided last week to launch an investigation into this matter, however, given the serious nature of the offence for which Mr Ruffley has accepted a caution, which is an admission of guilt, we feel that the Conservative whip should be immediately withdrawn.

The public has the right to be served by representatives who abide by the legislation that they pass through Parliament.

We are proud to be members of the party who first gave women the vote, produced the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons, as well electing the first female party Leader who went on to be the first female Prime Minister. For generations, the Conservative Party has lead the way in advancing equality of opportunity and equality under the rule of law.  Two people die every week at the hands of an abusive partner, and our party must demonstrate that no matter who you are, domestic violence is unacceptable

It was about to blow up, and blow up very publicly.

To those MPs who emotionally blackmailed and even threatened their female staff with disciplinary measures to stop them signing the above letter – and then grassed the plot to CCHQ – Guido says this. I know who you are, and you know what you have done. What I have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you…

Tory Women Problem: Kevin Hollinrake Selected in Thirsk

estate

The selection to replace Anne McIntosh took place last night in Thirsk and Malton. Former Corby by-election candidate Christine Emmett was lined up by the Tories as the newspaper-friendly female successor. In an act of defiance towards Cameron’s desire to stop people saying the party has a woman problem, Thirsk and Malton Tories instead chose a man, Kevin Hollinrake. He’s a local estage agent. Which will do plenty to restore trust in politics.

There were three rounds of balloting and Hollinrake won in the final round so it was close all the way, though this was a local party which was never going to be told what to do. Voluntary party 1, Dave nil.

UPDATE: Sharon Hodgson has sobered up enough to approve this quote from Labour HQ:

“This sorry episode speaks volumes about the Tories under David Cameron – their sole woman MP in Yorkshire has been deselected amid suggestions of sexism and replaced by a man. For all his claims to be different, David Cameron has done nothing while his party has kicked out one of his most senior MPs. No wonder people think the Tories have a problem with women.”

Grumbles at the Dave’s BBQ

“No10 summer barbecue last night – cross between a wake (sacked and overlooked) and a stag party (or hen party!) for newly promoted” tweeted Mark Pritchard this morning. While Dave has enjoyed a spectacular turn around in party unity over the last year, there are some jolly bruised members either still on the backbenches, or unwillingly back there. How was the PM’s small talk, Guido asked a few Tory MPs. “Sheepish” says one. “Haughty” said another. Happy holidays!

Crosby Keeps in Running With No 10

Lynton Crosby had a hand in telling several ministers to jog on in last week’s reshuffle, and it seems he certainly knows how to keep in the running with the party leadership. Guido hears the fifty-something campaign guru has, in an effort to be fighting fit for the election, taken on the same personal trainer employed by the Camerons. This one could run and run…

PM’s Aide Royally Embarrassed By Fashion Faux Pas

Guido will spare his blushes by not naming the PM’s key aide who turned up at a Buckingham Palace dinner straight from the office. He immediately realised he’d failed to read the invitation as he joined the other guests who were dressed for dinner in black-tie.[…] 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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