LibDem Cash Crisis: HQ Slashing 25% of Staff

Lib Dem HQ staff have been told that because of a £700,000 hole in their budget they will need to make 20 people redundant by the end of November (out of a staff of 80). Every party staff member has been given the option of voluntary redundancy, though they will have to move to compulsory ones if needed.

The £700,000 shortfall is from membership renewal income – they were told that it was because of an error in projections. Guido’s source is incredulous, “if it is an error then it’s an absolutely enormous one and I don’t believe it’s possible to be that wrong. Could very well be that members are just not renewing at anything like the rate they used to.” So much for membership surging on the back of anti-Brexit campaigning…

According to the same source “The cherry on the s**it-cake is that Vince has flown to Scotland today, business class, to campaign, with the party footing the bill…” If only the low-energy Cable spent some of his time fundraising he might not be sacking so many campaign staff…

UPDATE: Senior party insiders are hanging the blame on CEO Nick Harvey. The former MP they say is fine on political strategy, not so good on operational management. Party income is now projected to be down by 10% overall – which would not justify 25% staffing cuts – the problem is the shortfall was not expected, quite the contrary. Staff numbers had been expanded on the back of over-optimistic projections. The party centrally is at it’s debt limit and overdrawn to the tune of £1 million. Even Keynesians like Cable know you can’t keep on borrowing for ever…

UPDATE II: The Lib Dems have strenuously denied the suggestion that Cable flew business class to Scotland this week.

LibDem’s New Slogan Ambiguous

From LibDemVoice Guido learns the party has a new slogan to be unveiled at the upcoming party conference. Is it just Guido who sees a problem with posters up and down the country with low-wattage leader Vince Cable on them next to the slogan “Demand Better”? LibDemVoice calls the slogan “aspirational”. Quite.

Vince Finally Lands Positive Interview… in Luxury Magazine For the Super-Rich

Well done to Vince Cable’s media team, who have finally managed to land him some positive coverage… in the Luxury London magazine for the super-rich. The LibDem leader sat down for an interview with the magazine which “connects premium brands with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals”. This month Luxury London readers, “the world’s most affluent consumers”, can read all about the latest statement sunglasses, poolside essentials, vintage swimwear, and three pages on how Vince plans to stop Brexit. The fawning dross concludes he is “a parliamentarian who seemingly puts the nation’s interests before his own”. Guido knew Remainers had the support of the elites, but this is something else…

Vince Loses Second Chief of Staff in 8 Months

Vince Cable has lost his second chief of staff in eight months after his most senior aide Fiona Cookson left last week. Cookson replaced Sarah Olney in the role at the end of last year – to be fair to Fiona, she lasted much longer than Lol-ney’s ill-fated six week tenure. Cookson was always supposed to leave after six months and she will be moving to a job nearer her young family. Sure applications will be flooding in… diary management a must…

UPDATE: Guido hears former LibDem MPs Simon Hughes and Dan Rogerson have confirmed they are throwing in the towel and will not be standing for parliament again.

Farron and Cable Blame Carmichael For Clusterf*ck

What is the point of the LibDems? Last night Vince Cable and Tim Farron missed the vote on the key Brexit amendment. Cable was at a “confidential meeting” elsewhere and Farron was giving a talk in Dorset about evangelism. If they’d bothered to turn up the government’s majority would have been just one. Vince is briefing out that his absence was “cleared by the party chief whip”, while Faz has told the Guardian “I was authorised to be absent”. Both rather cruelly dumping on Alistair Carmichael for the cock up rather than take responsibility for themselves. Carmichael says sorry:

“Last night I messed up. The government squeaked home by just 3 votes in a key amendment. It should have been 1. I was not expecting a close vote – up until 8pm Labour were planning to abstain which would have meant the vote would be lost by hundreds. In fact several Labour MPs voted with the government- which is why they won. By the time it became apparent that the vote was going to be close – it was too late to get two of our MPs back in time to vote. I’m taking responsibility and redoubling my efforts to stop Brexit.”

Is there any party in Westminster that isn’t a total shambles?

Crackers Brake: I Want to Stop Brexit

56% of his constituents in Carshalton voted to Leave…

LibDem Policy: It’s Transphobic to Call Ian Huntley Ian Huntley

It is now LibDem policy that calling Ian Huntley Ian Huntley is transphobic and that anyone who does so is guilty of a “moral failure”. The Soham killer has been telling fellow lags he now identifies as a woman and, according to various media reports, has asked them to call him “Lian”. Alisdair Calder McGregor, who sits on the LibDem Federal Policy Committee, says that “deadnaming” Huntley by calling him Ian is transphobic, “whoever they are and whatever they’ve done”. McGregor went on to say that it is LibDem policy that prisoners, “even those whose offences sicken us”, should be held in prisons which reflect their gender identity rather than their birth gender assignment. The LibDems seriously want Huntley in a women’s prison.

Good luck with that one on the doorstep.

LibDems Only Winners

After all the spin has been spun in the TV studios the only people who can really claim to have made progress, in terms of controlling councils, are the LibDems. In net terms they won control of four councils, Labour gained 77 seats, the Tories lost 33 seats and control of 2 councils. In the past opposition parties on the path to government have gained thousands of seats…

Momentum councillors in Haringey who replaced 3 moderate Labour councillors were all replaced by LibDems. The LibDems evidently stand to gain from left-of-centre voters worried about the hard-left. The Tories will be pleased that they suffered modest losses that still leave them well ahead of Labour near all time highs in terms of total council seats controlled:

Commentators are describing this as a stalemate. “Peak Corbyn” now follows “Peak May” into the pundit’s lexicon. Guido suspects that when the Tories change their leader, the public will shift decisively…

Vince Voting Tomorrow

Another classic show of competence from the LibDem press office, who have sent out this email informing journalists that Vince Cable will be voting on the 4 May. They get the date wrong twice.

Someone should probably tell him polling day is today.

Remain Peer: This Amendment Can Stop Brexit

There it is: Lord Bilimoria lets the cat out of the bag in the Lords and admits “It is parliament thanks to this amendment that will have the ability to stop the train crash that is Brexit”. 

Jenny Jones responds to the Remainiac Lords by telling them their bonkers speeches have put her off voting for their amendment:

Remain Lords not covering themselves in glory today.

Via via Hugh Bennett

LibDem Peer Compares May to Hitler

Latest from the Lords, where the disgraced moat-cleaner Douglas Hogg and friends are tabling an amendment to stop Brexit. LibDem peer Lord Roberts has just compared Theresa May to Hitler:

“My mind went back to Berlin in March 1933, when the Enabling Bill was passed in the Reichstag. That Enabling Bill transferred democratic rights of the parliament into the hands of one man, that was the Chancellor. His name was Adolf Hitler. Perhaps I’m seeing threats that do not exist, but they are there, they are possible. Who’d have said before the 1930s that Germany, this cultured country, would involve itself in such a terrible war.”

This is the standard of argument from Remain peers.

Vid via Darren Grimes.

Met Say Olney Committed Criminal Offence Over Spending Breach

The Metropolitan Police has has found “discrepancies” with the election spending return of former LibDem MP Sarah Olney, which it says amounts to a criminal offence. Olney has been interviewed by cops under caution. Yet, despite an offence being committed, the CPS has decided not to charge Olney because “it would not be in the public interest” as there is no evidence Olney has been deliberately dishonest. This looks to be an error on the part of the CPS. Olney declared on her expenses form that she became a candidate on 31 October, but she announced herself as the candidate on 26 October. By declaring a false start date, Olney was able to cut several days of spending out of her regulated period. How is that not dishonest?

The police are showing it’s one rule for politicians and another rule for everyone else – would they treat a benefits cheat with the same leniency? The Met and the CPS giving the LibDems the green light to break the law at will…

LibDem Candidates Pledge: ‘I Do Not Want to Be A Councillor’

An embarrassing email to the entire Vauxhall LibDem mailing list pleading for ‘paper candidates’ to stand in unwinnable wards at the local elections. The begging note went out to anyone who had once signed up their email address. A co-conspirator responded and was forwarded a paper candidate application form despite not even being a LibDem. The email reads:

“I offer myself as a paperless candidate for the coming Lambeth Borough Council elections. I do not want to be a Lambeth Councillor. If I am selected as a council candidate I will not campaign for my election in this ward. I will not campaign for any other candidates for the ward in which I am selected. I will not encourage the local party or any person to campaign in this ward.”

Not winning here…

Innovative LibDem Bar Chart

Everyone loves a LibDem bar chart. Usually they just misrepresent previous election results to talk up their chances of success this time round. On the face of it, this leaflet in Carholme, Lincoln is much the same, showing the LibDems in first place but in a battle with Labour. You have to squint to see the graph actually shows, hilariously, “the number of times the parties have been in touch”. The LibDems came last in the Carholme ward last time. Taking misleading LibDem bar charts to the next level…

Dodgy Green-LibDem Pact Back On As £250,000 Bung Remains Unexplained

One of the murkiest dodgy deals in recent electoral history is back on in Richmond. Readers will remember how the Green Party was offered a £250,000 inducement not to run against Zac Goldsmith in the 2016 by-election – a blatant bung that the Electoral Commission said would have been a criminal offence. In the 2017 election the Greens initially selected a candidate, Andree Frieze, and said she would run. That was until the LibDems stood down their candidate against Caroline Lucas in Brighton – and Frieze dropped out in Richmond to return the favour. Lucas farcically told the Daily Politics she couldn’t “remember the name” of the person who offered the £250,000 bung. They have never explained the inducement, essentially covering up a potential criminal offence…

Now a joint Green-LibDem leaflet has gone out in Richmond explaining the parties “have decided to work together and not compete with each other” and telling voters to vote for two LibDem candidates, Penny Frost and Gareth Richards, and one Green, Frieze, in May’s local elections. Here is the joint imprint:

There are serious questions here to which Richmond voters deserve to know the answers. Who offered the £250,000 bung? Why did Caroline Lucas claim she “can’t remember” the name of the person who offered it? Why did she never disclose the name as she promised Andrew Neil she would? Why did the LibDems claim there was no deal in 2017 despite the Greens admitting there was? What deal has been made this time round that they are keeping from Richmond voters? Remarkable they’ve got away with refusing to come clean on all this…

Sutton LibDem Campaign Brake Down

LibDem co-conspirators in Sutton tell Guido the party mass produced a glossy leaflet designed for mail drops before the local election spending period. Having stockpiled the expensive leaflets, the LibDems only started to deliver them once the controlled spending period had started. Doh!

To make matters worse, official council email addresses appeared on the leaflets, rather than political ones. They have had to suspend their council email accounts and thousands of the flyers face being pulped…

The brains behind the campaign? It’s being run out of Tom Brake’s office. This morning Brake tweeted “check out Sutton LibDems. I just joined” – before deleting it. A hat-trick of campaign cock ups enhances Brake’s reputation for competence once again…

Lol-ney Out at LibDem HQ

Guido hears Sarah Olney is leaving her plum job as head of “special projects” at LibDem HQ. It is the third job change in nine months for Olney after she lost her seat last year, then lost her job as Vince Cable’s chief of staff after just six weeks in the role. The “special projects” gig was a four-day week yet paid several times more than other LibDem HQ staff, something which, well, did not help morale. It’s fair to say Olney did not succeed in turning around the dire state of affairs at HQ. She was also forced to reimburse the taxpayer £2,000 after breaking expenses rules. Olney had leaving drinks at the Two Chairman last week, a source says: “About five people went, fortunately she forgot to book and she got crowded out by Formby. Probably the worst staff member HQ has ever employed and that’s not a high bar”. Heads up Richmond residents: word is she is threatening to spend more time back in your constituency…

Ex-LibDem Colleagues Raise Doubts Over “Walter Mitty” Observer Whistleblower

Former LibDem colleagues of the Observer’s data harvesting whistleblower have some interesting stories to tell. The party will not comment on staffing matters but a LibDem source says Chris Wylie was employed on a fixed-term contract which was not renewed. It is fair to say they were unimpressed with his work. One former colleague recalls: “We did not renew his contract because he is a compulsive bullsh*tter and doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. The Observer reported that their man was “working inside government with the LibDems as a political strategist”. Yet Sean Kemp, who really did work inside government with Nick Clegg, recalls:

Former LibDem spinner Ben Rathe offers this verdict:

Kemp and Rathe are two of the most trusted and respected former spinners in Westminster.

This afternoon Guido revealed how Wylie had personally offered to harvest data for Vote Leave, despite now describing the practice as “grossly unethical”. Did Carole Cadwalladr and the Observer not think to check any of this?

Cable Embarrassed as EU Leaders Deny Signing LibDem 2nd Referendum Statement

Oh dear. This morning the LibDems press released that eight EU prime ministers had agreed to back Vince Cable’s call for a second referendum:

Except they hadn’t:


The LibDems need some new hires quick.

Fake LibDem Newspaper Lies to Richmond and Twickenham Voters

Guido has previously reported on how the LibDems produce fake newspapers to hookwink voters – well, this is the most egregious example yet. Residents in Richmond and Twickenham have had a copy of the “Richmond & Twickenham Gazette” through their doors today.[…] Read the rest

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