Lobby Legend Simon Walters Moves to Assistant Editor Daily Mail

After 19 years at the Mail on Sunday Lobby legend Simon Walters is off to their bitterest rival paper, the Daily Mail. The four times Political Journalist of the Year becomes the Assistant Editor (Politics). He will be spending most of his time in Northcliffe House and leaving the Lobby. What does this mean for the Brexit coverage in the paper that has been as staunch as any on the issue? Incoming editor Geordie Grieg might want to move the coverage to a less bombastic tone. If the paper moved to take an anti-Brexit line this would surely create a commercially dangerous cognitive dissonance in the readership…

Sun, Mail, Telegraph Warn May

The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph look to be losing patience with Theresa May’s weakness on Brexit. In the last few weeks their leader columns and opinion pages have issued increasingly ominous warnings to the Prime Minister to change course. The Sun has repeatedly called on her to prepare for no deal and suggested she should be removed if she doesn’t get a grip. The usually ultra-loyal Mail has blasted her for allowing Brexit to drift. The Telegraph is talking about her leading Britain into a worst of all worlds Brexit. These are all from the last ten days…

The Sun, June 2:

“When will the Prime Minister and her Cabinet stand up for them — and for Brexit in full? Instead, the whiff of panic emanates from Downing Street. The Government has no idea what deal it wants. The latest plan for the Irish border has been trashed overnight. No10 regurgitates clichés to mask its confusion…  Mrs May cannot kick the can any further down the road. She must be realistic, assertive and brave. There are talented Tories around her. If this PM can’t bring her party with her and lead us fully out of the EU, with no deal if necessary, she must make way for someone who can.”

The Sun, June 3:

“Even Leave voters fear the Government is botching Brexit… the chaos on the Continent from Spain to Italy is proof that we were absolutely correct to leave the EU… but if the Prime Minister looks like steering us to a bad Brexit, somebody else will need to take the wheel.”

The Sun, June 11:

“We must be in a strong enough position at the negotiating table that we’re willing to walk away. The Prime Minister has shown admirable backbone in the past, taking on the policing unions as Home Secretary and in her robust response to terrorism.”

Daily Mail, June 4:

“On Brexit, though it grieves the Mail to say it, Theresa May has allowed a profoundly worrying sense of drift to develop. Indeed, she has given the impression of a captain of a mutinous crew, sailing a rudderless ship across a turbulent sea, unsure herself where she wants to go… Mrs May has seemed willing to sit back while the bibulous Jean-Claude Juncker and his cronies sneer at our country and accuse her of ‘living in fantasy land’ if she believes we can leave the EU unpunished. The time has surely come for her to go on the attack, slapping down Remoaners, boosting the wilting morale of the pro-Brexit majority and telling Mr Juncker and Co that they are the fantasists if they think they can humiliate the UK with impunity. This is a great country, with great opportunities opening up to us. Mrs May needs to find the language to proclaim this from the rooftops.”

Daily Mail, June 7

“She needs to channel the same strength and resolve she showed in facing down Russia after the Salisbury poison attack and go on the offensive. She must set out her detailed blueprint for our post-Brexit future and start preparing seriously for the prospect of no deal… Mr Barnier is in a far weaker position than he pretends. Mrs May should get tough and call his bluff.”

Juliet Samuel in The Telegraph, June 11:

“Accepting ECJ rule and free movement will be electorally toxic, but agreeing to Irish Sea border checks will cost her much-needed DUP support in Parliament. Because this latter concern is a more immediate threat to her power, she will almost certainly choose to keep Britain inside the single market and customs union. This will be a dreadful result. We’ll give up our MEPs and officials in Brussels, but still be subject to its rules. Any other option, whether it’s staying in the EU, leaving with no deal, or surrendering Northern Ireland, would be a better outcome. Instead, inexorably, our Prime Minister is leading us towards the worst of all possible worlds.”

The message is clear to Number 10. Change course or lose the confidence of the right-leaning press…

Geordie Greig New Daily Mail Editor

Geordie Greig, a big Remainer who has turned the Mail on Sunday into a pretty hardcore anti-Brexit paper, is the new editor of the Daily Mail. Major implications for the Tories and the paper’s coverage of leaving the EU. Daily Mail readers might be a little confused at the change in direction. Today has not been a good day for Brexit…

UPDATE: Ted Verity to edit Mail on Sunday.

Dacre’s and Rothermere’s Letters to Mail Staff

Paul Dacre is out as Mail editor – Guido has his letter to staff:

And Rothermere’s letter:

End of an era. Runners and riders in the morning…

Mail Warns May

Theresa May values the Daily Mail more than any other news outlet, it is said, and she can be left in no doubt as to what the paper thinks of her customs fudge this morning. Today’s Mail editorial directly backs Boris and warns the PM:

“Let’s be clear what this new ‘partnership’ means. British customs officers would act as tax collectors for Brussels, continuing to charge EU tariffs on imports entering the UK from outside the bloc, then giving rebates to traders whose goods were sold exclusively in Britain… it would be a logistical nightmare and an invitation to fraud, as British officials struggled to track the final destination of every imported widget and foodstuff so the correct tariffs could be charged. The infrastructure required would take years to install, delaying Brexit indefinitely. Needless to say, this bureaucratic fudge was devised in Whitehall, by Mrs May’s Europhile Brexit adviser Olly Robbins. Only a civil servant could believe the answer to freeing up cross-border trade is even more red tape. This paper has had its differences with Mr Johnson but on this issue he is absolutely right. The customs partnership makes a mockery of taking back control and risks the worst of all options – staying tied to Brussels but unable to make our own trade deals…

Theresa May – must stand firm. Last week’s local election successes in Leave-voting areas showed the public still trust the Tories to deliver a clean Brexit. Yes, Labour wreckers, misguided Tory rebels, Europhile civil servants and Remainer Lords (many of whom receive EU pensions) will use every weapon they have to frustrate the will of the people. But even if Mrs May did concede to staying in some form of customs union, they would simply demand more and more concessions until the referendum vote was effectively overturned. Facing down this unholy anti-Brexit alliance will be a strong test of the Prime Minister’s nerve. If British democracy is to be upheld, it’s a test she must not fail.”

If Number 10 hadn’t got the message, Quentin Letts is explicit:

“The Prime Minister, while publicly reiterating her determination to leave the single market and the customs union, is prevaricating in private. She allows her Downing Street team, who for the main part were Remain supporters, to continue with their crazy appeasement of Brussels with this customs partnership proposal… Under Conservative party rules, it needs only 48 MPs to trigger a vote of confidence in Theresa May’s leadership. If she green-lights customs partnership, that will happen within hours. I fear she simply has no idea how angry Brexiteers are about this plan, or about the Whitehall establishment’s continuing attempts to stymie Brexit. The mood is one of tranquil resolve: if the Prime Minister tries this outrageous anti-democratic move, it’s off-with-her-head.”

There is also a warning for Gavin Williamson, the Brexit sub-committee ‘Brexiter’ most likely to waver and switch sides – he is dubbed “wobbly” Williamson – and Sajid Javid. Quentin notes they would be “slaughtered” and “could immediately forget any dreams of being leader” if they rat on this.

Number 10 are mad if they think this is just Boris sounding off. It is also a majority of the Brexit sub-committee, Nick Timothy, the ERG, seemingly every Brexiter, and the Daily Mail, the paper May has relied on for support for years. If they can’t see that…

Max Mosley Car Crash Over Racist Leaflet

Cathy Newman asks Max Mosley if he lied under oath over the existence of a racist leaflet which claimed “coloured immigration threatens your children’s health. Mosley had a proper car crash after Cathy handed him the leaflet, replying: “If it is genuine it doesn’t reflect my views today” and insisted he had “no reason to apologise to anyone”. Towards the end of the interview he appeared to admit responsibility for the leaflet and accept it was racist. Read the Mail story here. Mosley’s name is at the bottom of the leaflet. This looks very bad for Max, who admitted he supported offering paying to repatriate immigrants and was reduced to accusing the Mail of breaching the Data Protection Act. He went on to insist he was a fit and proper person to fund Labour’s deputy leader and would give him more money. Will Tom Watson hand those half a million pounds of donations back?

Hodges v Hendopolis

The two egos guilty of ruining Sunday night Twitter this week were the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges and Neil Henderson of the BBC’s #TomorrowsPapersToday. Henderson kicked things off by countering criticism over his failure to tweet last week’s MoS Brendan Cox front page citing “legal advice”. Dan then reached Peak Hodges when he proceeded to attempt to explain libel law to specialist libel barrister Greg Callus.

It ended with Dan unfollowing Neil and Neil then blocking Dan…

Sun & Mail Launch Worboys Judicial Review Proceedings

Tonight The Sun and The Daily Mail have begun judicial review proceedings to force the Parole Board to reveal its reasons for allowing black cab rapist John Worboys to be freed. They have seven days to publish the Worboys reasoning or else the two newspapers will launch a legal challenge. Elsewhere, tomorrow’s papers report that a fresh sex assault allegation may keep Worboys behind bars. Wheels in motion to keep Worboys inside, at last…

Paperchase Faces Backlash After Bowing to Anti-Press Freedom Cranks

Stationery store Paperchase is facing a backlash from angry customers after bowing to pressure from anti-press freedom cranks not to offer promotions in the Daily Mail. On Saturday Paperchase offered Mail readers two rolls of free wrapping paper. The promotion was attacked by the anti-press freedom loonies at Stop Funding Hate, a group whose stated aim is to censor or bankrupt the free press in Britain. It would not only be pathetic for Paperchase to listen to the Stop Funding Hate extremists, it would be dangerous too…

Yet today Paperchase gave in to the SFH nuts and apologised for Saturday’s promotion, promising not to advertise with the Mail again. The tweet has had over a thousand replies, with hundreds of unimpressed customers now threatening to buy their cards in Clintons in protest at Paperchase’s spinelessness.

The Saturday Daily Mail sold 1.86 million in October, making it Britain’s best selling newspaper. Stop Funding Hate’s mental Twitter trolls number a few hundred at most. Not just pathetic and dangerous from Paperchase, stupid too…

Mail Calls on May to Sack Hammond

The Daily Mail, which has remained steadfastly loyal to Theresa May and whose view she values highly, says “treacherous” Hammond must go:

“Dismal, defeatist, relentlessly negative, Philip ‘Eeyore’ Hammond might just as well run up the white flag to Jean-Claude Juncker and the Brussels bureaucracy. At every stage in the Brexit process, the inordinately self-satisfied Chancellor has struck a profoundly pessimistic note over the country’s prospects in the wider world outside the European Union. In defiance of Theresa May, he has called for a three-year transition period after withdrawal, while welcoming the doom-mongering CBI’s calls for an indefinite delay…

It is not as if the man is much of a threat to her. With all the charisma of a gloom-laden undertaker, he has no personal following at Westminster. Nor has he so far proved an effective Chancellor. On the contrary, his Budget was a disaster, with his hastily withdrawn plan to attack the self-employed. Meanwhile, there are capable replacements in the wings…

At the earliest opportunity, she needs a reshuffle to stamp her authority on the party and give new talent the chance to revive the Cabinet. What is absolutely clear is that this lack of grip cannot go on. At this crucial juncture in our history, we need a Government with vision and purpose — not half-hearted, lugubrious appeasers like Mr Hammond.”

Today’s Sun editorial meanwhile calls Hammond “grossly negligent”. May wanted to fire Hammond after the election but the result meant she was too weak to go through with it. The broadcasters and Remain media obsess about Boris’ perceived disloyalty, when there was nothing in his 4,000 word article which contradicted government policy. Hammond on the other hand has consistently argued with Number 10, whether on the customs union, length of the transition, budgeting for no deal or his general gloomy tone. May had to slap him down once again yesterday. Compare and contrast the broadcasters’ coverage of Hammond and Boris to see where their views lie…

IPSO Throws Out Baroness Scotland’s Complaints

What remained of Baroness Scotland’s credibility lies in tatters after the IPSO press regulator threw out a litany of complaints she made about stories exposing her expenses shame. Last year the Mail titles, as well as Guido and other outlets, published a series of shocking revelations about Scotland’s expenses based on documents leaked by concerned whistleblowers. The Baroness denied everything and filed a vast number of complaints to IPSO about the stories. Today, after a nine month IPSO investigation, Scotland is left humiliated… 

  1. Baroness Scotland claimed she was the victim of a “partisan campaign” by the Daily Mail, that the paper’s articles about her were “distorted“, inaccurate and that the Mail had published knowingly false allegations against her. IPSO rejected all of this and threw out every single one of Scotland’s complaints against the Mail. 
  2. Baroness Scotland claimed reports recruitment rules had been bypassed to hire her friend Lord Patel’s company were untrue. IPSO found the standard recruitment process had been waived – the reports were true. 
  3. Baroness Scotland denied reports her spending figures, published every three months, had not been released on time. IPSO found they were not released on time, the reports were true. 
  4. Baroness Scotland claimed reports she had “brought in” interior designer Nicky Haslam were untrue. IPSO found Haslam had indeed been brought in by Scotland, the reports were true.
  5. Baroness Scotland denied Haslam had “partly overseen” the planned renovations. IPSO found this was an accurate description.
  6. Baroness Scotland denied that her advisers were “left-wing political fixers”. IPSO found they worked closely with the Labour Party and Labour figures and the reports were accurate. 
  7. Baroness Scotland denied reports of plans for a “swanky new dining area” in her Mayfair residence. IPSO found there were plans to relocate a chandelier to the dining room so this report was accurate.
  8. Baroness Scotland denied reports staff had received a “sinister” notification from her office warning their communications were being monitored. IPSO found the reports were accurate.
  9. Baroness Scotland claimed it was misleading to refer to Lord Patel as her “partner in crime”. IPSO found Scotland had herself referred to him using those words.
  10. Baroness Scotland denied she had been “dubbed Baroness Brazen”. IPSO found that a Conservative MP had indeed dubbed her Baroness Brazen.
  11. Baroness Scotland claimed newspaper reports suggested she had paid her sister for advice. IPSO found the reports made clear she hadn’t paid her sister.
  12. Baroness Scotland claimed there was no evidence to suggest the Queen was “embarrassed” by her. IPSO found a well-placed Royal source said the Queen was embarrassed.
  13. Baroness Scotland claimed there was no whistleblower, as there was nothing to blow the whistle on. IPSO found it was accurate to call the concerned source a whistleblower.
  14. Baroness Scotland claimed it was misleading to say Downing Street had refused to give its confidence in her. IPSO found Downing Street would only give confidence in the role of Secretary-General, the reports were accurate. 

IPSO ordered one minor correction, changing a headline in the Mail on Sunday about the sums paid to Lord Patel. This was the only breach found out of all the complaints made by Baroness Scotland against three titles. Her claims of inaccuracies, media lies and a vendetta against her have been exposed as fantasy – after such an unequivocal humiliation it is laughable that she can continue to hold public office… 

Mail and Express Spare Theresa

Dacre and Desmond went all in with their praise for May’s manifesto and “social care revolution” last week, only to be made to look like chumps by the u-turn. The Mail and Express generously spare Theresa any front page blushes…

UPDATE: Though the Mail’s Stephen Glover tells Newsnight: “There’s no doubt the original policy was a cock-up and an own goal.”

Seen Elsewhere

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