Miriam Clegg, who is being used increasingly by TV producers as an ‘expert’ pro-Remain talking head, made some revealing comments on Gibraltar on Mair this morning. She reckons there are “two sides” to the dispute and defended Spain’s apparently “conciliatory tone”. Brave tactic for the wife of Britain’s chief zombie Remainer. The only “two sides” are the right one and the wrong one…
Curious that Nick Clegg has pledged to “hold the government to account over their Brexit contract with the British public”, including making sure that immigration is “dramatically reduced”. Huh? Clegg has been a vociferous supporter of free movement for years. He’s said, for example: “I want to be unequivocal: freedom of movement between EU member states is a good thing”. Just a few months ago he wrote a paper arguing it would be impossible for “control to be re-established” over immigration and for the UK economy to survive. Now he says he wants to hold the government to account on immigration being “dramatically reduced”? Did Clegg actually read that sign before he stood next to it? Wouldn’t be the first time…
Tory MPs in LibDem marginals are meeting with officials from CCHQ today to discuss the yellow peril. The feeling among backbenchers is that, as things stand, the LibDems would likely unseat a handful of Tory MPs in the event of an election. Those particularly under threat are obviously Tory MPs who won their seats off LibDems in the West Country and now have small majorities, and vocal Leave MPs in heavily Remain areas who could succumb to the Zac Goldsmith / Sarah Olney effect.
As part of our series of briefings on campaigning in seats previously held by the Liberal Democrats, I have arranged for CCHQ to provide some materials that may be of use. A CCHQ representative will be present for our discussion and I hope you can join us.
The session will now take place on Tuesday 28th March in XXX from 1300-1400.
Deputy Chief Whip
If Sarah Olney can make it to parliament…
UPDATE: A LibDem source responds:
“They saw what we did to Zac Goldsmith. The Tories know the only seats at risk are ones that are being targeted by the Liberal Democrats.”
Sent at pub closing time to 700 followers. One of them, Greg Mulholland, the LibDem MP for Leeds North West responded:
Married with three kids Mulholland says “It definitely wasn’t me, honest!” and protests he would never use an Americanism like “wanna”. Guido believes him though not the official explanation that the account was “compromised”. “Compromised” as in someone drunkenly confused their Twitter and Tinder apps….
The LibDems are loving Brexit – every day Tim Farron delights in launching stinging attacks on Jeremy Corbyn as he seeks to clean up the Labour Remain vote with his unashamed Remoaning. UKIP meanwhile slip into fourth place for the first time in years, Britain Elects reports it is the first time they have been in single figures with YouGov since early 2013. Fight back starting? Or Brexit happening…
Here’s Lord Taverne explaining that honouring the referendum result is basically Hitler. And that he’s a democrat. pic.twitter.com/LpPDC5Gm7b
— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) March 13, 2017
LibDem peer Lord Taverne with the maddest contribution to the Brexit bill debate last night:
“It is a very dangerous step towards the doctrine that the people’s will must always prevail. My Lords, this is the doctrine which has always been Hitler, by Mussolini, by Stalin, by Erdogan at this present time. It is denial of the essence of democracy which we have supported to great effect in this country, and now we are abandoning it. My Lords we are the guardians of parliamentary democracy, we are right in this, we are the democrats and we are right to support the democratic cause.”
An insight worth £300 a day…
Vid via @wallaceme
This morning LibDem West Midlands mayoral candidate Beverley Nielsen fired off a new leaflet to 15,000 households. Unfortunately, it contained perhaps the worst typo you will ever see on a piece of election literature. Beverley accidentally told voters she is the Labour candidate:
“Three reasons to back Beverley Nielsen for West Midlands Labour mayor.”
Oh Bev. Talk about having a mayor…
New LibDem MP Sarah Olney is facing an investigation by the standards commissioner just three months after coming to Westminster. Guido understands the complaint relates to using her website for party political purposes, though the LibDems say there are confident it will be dismissed: “This is an utterly spurious allegation without any basis. We are confident this complaint will be rejected at the first opportunity.” A record for quickest standards probe for a new MP?
The LibDems’ new million pound donor has posted material advocating a boycott of Israel from a notorious website which expresses sympathy with suicide bombers. Greg Nasmyth, who it was revealed last week had made the major donation to the LibDems, posted a link to the Innovative Minds site calling for a boycott of companies “that support Apartheid Israel”. Innovative Minds gained notoriety last year when it emerged the site had published sympathetic articles about suicide bombers, including a terrorist who murdered 19 Israelis outside a nightclub. The site has also claimed Israel has no right to exist and should be “dismantled”. When John McDonnell was caught posting links to Innovative Minds last year he was forced to delete the posts and condemn the site. The unhinged article shared by Nasmyth calls for a boycott of companies including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Coca Cola for “supporting Apartheid Israel“. Unfortunate for the party of David Ward…
Political party donation figures for the last quarter of 2016 are out:
Conservative and Unionist Party – £3,610,983
Liberal Democrats – £1,972,904
Labour Party – £1,970,055
Green Party – £46,228
Co-operative Party – 39,750
UK Independence Party (UKIP) – £33,228
Women’s Equality Party – £30,000
The Lib Dems have had a fantastic quarter, narrowly beating Labour to take their place as the second best-funded party over the period. UKIP are struggling – they took just three grand more than the Women’s Equality Party. The LibDems are cashing in on being anti-Brexit, they just got a million quid donation from Greg Nasmyth. Guido hears they have secured another major donation from a Blairite former Labour donor which we can expect to see in the next Electoral Commission figures…
The LibDems have written to the Labour Party and Staffordshire Police after it emerged a Labour activist has sent text messages to Muslim voters warning them to vote for Gareth Snell or “answer for this in the Grave and on the Final Day”. The LibDem letter:
I am writing about several text messages reported to us by members of the public which appear to be distributed in large numbers in support of your candidate and your campaign.
I am concerned by these text messages for two reasons, firstly about the Representation of the People Act 1983 and secondly about the ‘Guidance on political campaigning‘ issued by the Information Commissioners Office.
1 – I am sure that you realise that the religious nature of one of these messages could also be deemed to be covered by the ruling on “undue spiritual influence” in the matter of a mayoral election for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets held on 22 May 2014 when the Labour Party were the victims of such tactics.
2 – These text messages are clearly election material in support of your candidate Gareth Snell as they meet the criteria for an elections expense set out in section 90ZA (6) of the Representation of the People Act “In this Part and in Part 3 of this Act, any reference (in whatever terms) to promoting or procuring a candidate’s election at an election includes doing so by prejudicing the electoral prospects of another candidate at the election”. They are clearly aimed at stopping people voting for my candidate Dr Zulfiqar Ali as well as others.
3 – I am sure that you are aware that such text messages under the ICO guidance should only be sent where the individual has consented to contact of that sort from the organisation for those purposes. Therefore, we have serious concerns about the origin of access to these phone numbers and whether the necessary permissions and opt out procedures have been followed…
Ian Horner, Election Agent
CC: David Mullington, Staffordshire Police; Fiona Ledden, Acting Returning Officer; Gina Jones, Electoral Services, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
As the LibDems say, this looks like Lutfur Rahman levels of spiritual influence…
One LibDem parliamentary candidate is taking Brexit particularly badly. Kelly-Marie Blundell, torchbearer for the LibDem fightback in Lewes, has compared the government’s Article 50 legislation to Hitler’s Enabling Act:
The Enabling Act gave Hitler almost unlimited powers to make arbitrary law, an integral step towards his reign of terror. The Article 50 bill exercises parliament’s sovereignty to fulfil the will of the people and leave the European Union. As Godwin’s Law goes, a particularly OTT example…
The LibDems have selected a Brexit-backing candidate to take on Tory MP Andrew Bridgen in his Leave stronghold of North West Leicestershire at the next election. Cllr Michael Wyatt is a “LibDem For Leave” who says he wants to “push for a Brexit deal that’s allows the country to take back control of our immigration policy”. So naturally he is running for a Remain-backing party that wants open borders and is voting against Article 50. Takes all sorts…
Congratulations to French actress Isabelle Huppert, who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film Elle. Would you believe that the sultry Parisian star of the silver screen is related to bearded former LibDem MP Julian Huppert? Guido has studied the evidence above and – sorry Julian – can see little resemblance other than the unmistakable shock of red hair. Julian fondly recalls his childhood family meetings with a young Isabelle:
“She’s come to stay before. I took her punting around 20 years ago. I’m very proud and delighted. She’s doing well. No-one compares to her.”
Well he certainly doesn’t…
A Liberal Democrat rising star has been suspended from the party and is under investigation over alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a teenage member. Guido can reveal that Paul Halliday, a parliamentary candidate in Newport who was being lined up for another Commons run in the event of a snap election, is facing an internal probe. He has also been a minister at two churches and gave a campaign interview to Christian station Revelation TV. Halliday, who deleted his Facebook account yesterday after we approached his party for comment, denies the allegations and tells Guido his name will be cleared. A spokesman for the LibDems confirms: “He has been suspended and an internal investigation is underway”. A LibDem source says the complainant is under 18. Not the best start for the LibDem fightback…
Sarah Olney is looking for your support, something doesn’t add up…
The LibDems approached the Green Party over a secret electoral pact, Guido can reveal, amid claims the Greens were offered £250,000 to stand aside in Richmond. The email below was sent by the leader of the LibDem group in Kingston, Liz Green, to the Green Richmond candidate who stood aside, Andree Frieze. The LibDem group leader offered a meeting to discuss “smart targeting” of wards in the 2018 local elections, proposing the two parties “work together” to keep the Tories out. The Green candidate then decided not to run in Richmond…
From: Liz Green
To: Andree Frieze, Dave Ryder-Mills
Sent: Thursday 3 November, 18:54
Subject: Lib Dems and Greens
Thank you for your email earlier today. l have switched to my personal email as it is more appropriate than the council one.
My personal view is that local Kingston Lib Dems and Greens should meet to discuss smart targeting for the 2018 local council elections. I cannot give guarantees on wards or candidates, but I would be happy to look at how we work together to ensure the mutual desire that the Conservatives do not retain control of RBK at the 2018 elections. I have to add that the Liberal Democrat aim will be to hold a majority control of the council, post election, but that does not mean that smart targeting of wards and resources could not play a substantial part in that.
This is an electoral pact in all but name, the so-called “Progressive Alliance” working together to keep the Tories out. In the context of local Greens claiming they were offered £250,000 not to stand in Richmond, this raises serious questions about the alleged inducement. There are rumours this sort of deal has been proposed across the country…
The Electoral Commission has given the LibDems the maximum £20,000 election fraud fine, ruled they committed multiple offences and referred them to the police. Guido had previously told how LibDem candidates had split their spending between their local and national spend – they even had a handy spreadsheet used to cook the books. Time and time again the LibDems told us they had done everything above board. The Electoral Commission’s investigation uncovered 307 payments totalling £184,676 which the candidate had split between local and national spend, but which were missing from the national return. They have ruled that the LibDems committed multiple offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act and issued them with the maximum fine. They also slammed the LibDems for contributing to “damage to public confidence” and “detriment to transparency in politics”. Here’s the real kicker: the Electoral Commission notes that knowingly or recklessly making a false declaration is a more serious criminal offence, of which they believe the LibDems are guilty. They have referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police…
Nick Clegg follows in the footsteps of his old spinner James McGrory and takes a pasting from Andrew Neil on the single market. Brillo’s killer line: “Isn’t it time the LibDems had a rebrand and dropped the Democrat?” Cue Clegg silent death stare…Read the rest