LibDems Challenging Bercow, Labour Step Aside

The LibDems are breaking with convention and standing a candidate against the Speaker in his Buckinghamshire seat. John Bercow will face a challenge from Sarah Lowes. He lets everyone treat Tim Farron like the House’s punching bag anyway so the LibDems don’t really have anything to lose standing against him.

Labour advertised for candidates in Buckinghamshire though Guido is told this is an admin error and the party will not be challenging him. The Tories must be just a little bit tempted…

Lib Dem Metro Mayor Candidate Already Mayor on Facebook

It seems the LibDem’s candidate for the first West of England Metropolitan Mayor is confident of victory. Stephen Williams lists the mayoralty as his current job on Facebook, despite the election not taking place until 4th May:

Easy to be mayor on Facebook isn’t it…

Public Still Not Sure What Labour and LibDems Believe on Brexit

A deeper dive into the Lord Ashcroft’s latest Brexit poll reveals the public remains confused about Labour and the LibDems’ position on Brexit almost a year after the historic referendum vote. The full report shows an near perfect four-way-split amongst respondents when asked to name Labour’s position. Remarkably, the majority think Labour “would still like to prevent Brexit from happening if at all possible” despite Jeremy Corbyn making media appearances for months to emphasise that his party will not seek prevent Brexit and “respects the will of the people“. Either people are not listening or Jeremy is not getting enough cut through…

As for the Lib Dems, almost 37% of respondents “don’t know” the party’s position at all – but at least those who do come to a consensus. Meanwhile, UKIP and the Tories dominate in the battle for clarity on Brexit…

LibDems on the March

Though these are only local council by-elections it is worth looking at how the LibDems have surged over the last few weeks. Their unashamed opposition to Brexit is gaining massive swings from blue to yellow in Remain-voting Tory areas, while Labour’s capitulation is even seeing them pick up seats in the North. Britain Elects polling average currently has the LibDems on 10%, up from around 6.5% this time last year.

Leaked polling by Lynton Crosby claims the Tories would lose up to 30 seats to the LibDems if there was an election now (note: this is likely to have been briefed out by the Tories). Tim Farron’s media operation is strong, he is in the papers every day either bashing Brexit or Corbyn. It is a sensible strategy – 48% of the country voted to Remain and around 15% want to obstruct Brexit. Both those numbers are higher than anything the LibDems have managed since the Coalition…

Mystery of Tim Farron’s Disappearing Wine Glasses

LibDem leader Tim Farron’s Twitter profile picture shows him smiling sweetly at an event during the referendum. Look closely: arranged behind him in the background are 16 wine glasses, set out on glass shelves in front of a mirror:

Now look at this tweet below sent by Cambridge University two weeks ago when Farron came to visit. The glasses have vanished:

The same photo – without glasses – also appears at least twice on the University’s website:

Somebody has been busy on Photoshop here. Here are Inspector Guido’s theories:

  1. Cambridge University media managers have airbrushed out the glasses to maintain an air of studiousness.
  2. Tim Farron’s spinners have Photoshopped the wine glasses in to make him look cool.

Guido will update you when we hear back from the Lib Dems and Cambridge. Can you solve the mystery?

UPDATE: Cambridge University are saying that they did not mess with the photo. The LibDems say “You can tell it’s recess”. A non-denial…

Miriam: “Two Sides” to Gibraltar

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…

Clegg to ‘Hold Government to Account on Dramatically Reduced Immigration’

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 Meeting to Discuss Yellow Peril

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.

Dear Colleague,

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.

Best wishes,

Anne Milton
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.”

Married LibDem MP Denies Sex Offer

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….

UKIP Down Into Fourth on Single Figures

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…

LibDem Peer: Brexit Like Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin

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

LibDem Mayoral Candidate Accidentally Says She’s Labour

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…

Olney Standards Investigation Three Months Into Job

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?

New LibDem Donor Promoted Anti-Israel Website Which Defends Suicide Bombers

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…

Sarah Lol-ney Latest

Guido is not sure what is going on in this new LibDem video with Sarah Olney and Tom Brake. It’s like the beginning of a badly acted porno…

Lib Dem Donations Outstrip Labour, UKIP Short on Cash

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…

LibDems Call Cops on ‘Vote Snell or Go to Hell’ Texts

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…

Yours sincerely,

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…

Order of the OTT: LibDem Compares Brexit to Hitler

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…

LibDems Choose Brexiteer to Run Against Bridgen

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…

Julian Huppert Linked to Oscar-Nominated Sexy French Actress

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? […] Read the rest

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