Labour MP, Spartan, and Remainer walk onto Newsnight… and Agree to Back the Deal

A rare political discussion on Newsnight last night, when a Labour MP – who voted against May’s deal three times; an ERGer – who voted against May’s deal three times; and a remain former-Tory MP who was expelled from the party by Boris; all sat in agreement, in anticipation of backing Boris’s new deal on Saturday. Even Layla Moran conceded Boris had achieved what most thought impossible…

BBC Upholds Maitlis ‘Sneering’ Complaint

The BBC’s Complaints Unit has upheld a public complaint against Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, who was accused of “sneering and bullying” towards Rod Liddle. This could begin a very long slippery slope of complaints about Maitlis’s similarly high and mighty BBC colleagues…

The BBC found that Maitlis’s comments – which led to Liddle frustratingly yelling “get a grip, Emily!” during the broadcast – were too “persistent and personal” in her attacks on Liddle, and thereby “failed to be even-handed”. Is this a new dawn for the BBC enforcing neutrality? Guido doubts it…

Newsnight’s Fortieth Anniversary Rebrand


In time for its 40th anniversary next year, and just as one of the most dramatic weeks in British political history kicks off, the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight has undergone a neon rebranding. Take a look at all the past intros of the iconic show here:

Maitlis Squirms Reading Out ‘BBC is Biased’ Live on Air

After the extent of the BBC’s Tory Leadership debate fiasco came to light throughout the day, presenter Emily Maitlis had to read out stinging criticism of the flawed show on Newsnight last night, all while looking at a picture of herself pointing at Boris Johnson. Awkward…

Blunt: Tories Must Come to Electoral Arrangement With the Brexit Party

The Tories are waking up to the stark reality that they face electoral annihilation at the hands of the Brexit Party unless something dramatically changes – and that is not a customs union deal with Corbyn. A new Prime Minister is just the start…

Crispin Blunt set out the basic facts of political life on Newsnight last night – this Parliament will not let Brexit through, this makes a General Election inevitable, without some sort of electoral arrangement with the Brexit Party the Tories are going to be decimated. In terms of maximising the numbers of pro-Brexit MPs, the logic behind a ‘Brexit Alliance’ is there. Can Nigel Farage really be talked down if the momentum stays firmly behind him, or will megalomania be the order of the day? He wants to “change politics for good”, that may mean to him the end of the Tories…

Burgon Squirms Over False Denial of His ‘Anti-Zionist’ Rant

The BBC’s Emma Barnett took Shadow Justice Minister Richard Burgon to task over his rant against ‘Zionists’ that he tried to deny he delivered. Last month it was revealed that he lied about not saying it, and now he’s doubling down by trying to claim he didn’t lie. There was a time where this behaviour would provide a one way ticket out of the shadow cabinet, but apparently not under Jeremy Corbyn…

Heseltine is Irrelevant. Why Does He Keep Getting Invited on TV?

Last night, yet again Newsnight invited washed-up failed former politician Michael Heseltine onto its programme for a plum spot to discuss the latest on Brexit. Guido was at a loss to think why a man who hasn’t been elected to office since last century is such a regular voice to analyse the modern machinations of political manoeuvering. He spent the best part of a decade (three decades ago) conspiring to usurp the most successful Prime Minister in recent history, and failing…

He is so past his sell-by date that he has only voted in the Lords on two days in past last year (with Labour and against the Tories on both occasions) and only spoken five times (on four days) over the last three years. Good to see we’re getting our money’s worth…

Heseltine last night admitted he did not vote Conservative in the 2016 London Mayoral election, he won’t have voted Conservative in the 2017 election because he is a peer and if you believe he will vote Conservative in the European Elections, Guido has a bridge to sell you. The idea that he might criticise the Tory Party is about as novel as Chuka Umunna criticising them. There’s no real reason for the BBC to keep getting him on any more – they’re just after the cheap blue-on-blue soundbites…

McDonnell Calls for Revolution

John McDonnell was back to doing what he loves best on Newsnight last night, calling for “revolution” on a programme marking the fortieth anniversary of Thatcher coming to power. The Tory attack line about Labour wanting to take the UK back to the 1970s may not have worked, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true…

The “transformation that we want” will start immediately, we know just how sharp the transformation will be from McDonnell’s private letter to the Treasury where he set out his plans for emergency spending powers and civil service re-education. McDonnell insists “we are in a hurry, because the issues are so desperate now.” Or because he and Corbyn are just about to turn 70…

Cabinet Minister on Brexit: “F*ck Knows. I’m Past Caring”

An unnamed Cabinet minister had choice words about Theresa May to say to Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt last night. Pretty extraordinary from the heart of Government…

How Not To Newsnight

Bit of an oops on Newsnight last night as the Yorkshire Post’s Liz Bates had to give the Nottingham Post’s Mike Sassi a cheeky little prod on camera…

Soubry Accuses May of Having “Personal” Problem With Immigration

Anna Soubry has not held back with her personal criticisms of Theresa May since quitting the Tories and launched into another attack against May on Newsnight last night, accusing her of having a “problem with immigration”. Soubry insisted that it went beyond policy and was “personal”, and even claimed it was the only reason May hadn’t backed the UK staying in the single market. “She just has a thing about immigration”…

While it’s true that May has generally been holding out within Government against more flexible immigration policies favoured by many of her ministers, particularly on students, it’s a bit glib for Soubry to say “I don’t know where the hell it’s come from”. Has she already forgotten about the referendum three years ago?

Soubry’s old comrade-in-arms Dominic Grieve was also on Newsnight, confirming that he would “have to leave” the Tories if they were heading for a no-deal Brexit, although he is clearly not as enthusiastic about the prospect as the three defectors. Between Soubry’s personal attacks on May and Heidi Allen’s comments that there hopefully “won’t be a Tory Party to go back to”, wavering Tories will already be getting cold feet about whether they really want to throw their lot in with them…

Newsnight Appoint Lefty Remainer as Economics Editor

Newsnight have appointed Ben Chu as their economics editor while Helen Thomas is on maternity leave. Chu is a lefty Remainer who has churned out a regular diet of sour-faced news stories attacking the Tories and generally revelling in bad economic news as the Independent’s smug economics editor, attacking Brexiteers as “xenophobes” and calling politicians like Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg “intellectual and moral pygmies”. He’ll fit right in at the BBC…

Rudd: Leadership Election Would Be An Indulgence

Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd has rallied to May’s defence on Newsnight, saying that a leadership election in the middle of the Brexit negotiations would be a “total indulgence” and a “huge mistake”. In truth the looming Brexit deadline is the only thing that has held MPs back from launching a leadership challenge thus far, with MPs nervous about unleashing chaos with such little time left in the negotiations. The danger for May is that increasing numbers of MPs are concluding that the risk of chaos is preferable to whatever deal she is going to bring back from Brussels…

Nonetheless, Rudd’s point on the numbers cannot be ignored. A new Tory leader would still have to grapple with a minority government propped up with the DUP, and with at least a dozen Tory MPs ready to rebel in favour of a softer Brexit or no Brexit at all. May’s toughened language on the Irish backstop yesterday may have calmed some Brexiteer nerves but with Boris Johnson becoming the 44th MP to join anti-Chequers group #StandUp4Brexit last night and the DUP opposed to any regulatory barriers being erected in the Irish Sea, not simply customs barriers, it is not clear that May’s arithmetical challenge is any less severe.

However, MPs may be less inclined to listen to Rudd’s advice after she insisted that any so-called “People’s Vote” would have to have Remain on the ballot paper, contradicting her previous pledges to “fully respect the result” and that the UK would leave without a deal if Parliament rejects it. If Rudd wants to gain Tory MPs’ trust as a peacemaker within the party, backing a second referendum is absolutely not the way to do it…

Evan Davis Quits Newsnight for PM

Evan Davis has announced that he is quitting his role as Newsnight presenter and returning to Radio 4 to present PM. Staff were informed in an internal email today:

Dear team,

Apologies to those who couldn’t make the earlier team meeting in which I announced that after 4 incredible years of presenting Newsnight, Evan is off to present PM on Radio 4.

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BBC: 13 Nobel Laureate Writers Have ‘Limited Expertise’ Gaffe

Newsnight’s Chris Cook comparing the IFS, Kings Fund and the Institute for Government accused the Institute of Economic Affairs of being in a category of think tank that was “more likely to employ and publish people with more limited expertise.”

Let’s check out that ‘limited experience’…

  • Published 13 Nobel Laureates.
[…] Read the rest

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John Cleese On Why He’s Leaving Britain

He’s moving to the Caribbean because “I don’t like it” in Britain. Bye![…] Read the rest

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Iain Dale Asks Newsnight: ‘Why Do I Get Introduced as a Brexit Supporter?’

Iain Dale quite rightly calls out a classic piece of BBC bias, as he is introduced on Newsnight as a Brexit supporter whilst the strongly Remain views of Matthew Parris and Rachel Shabi go unmentioned. The BBC always do this – Guido is often introduced on the Beeb as being from a “right-wing website”, though you never hear BBC presenters talk about the left-wing Guardian or the left-wing Mirror, HuffPo, or New Statesman.[…] Read the rest

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Bad Al: I Never Told a Lie

Check out that body language. He actually looks away each time he says “no”…[…] Read the rest

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Maitlis on Pointless Syria Vote

Emily Maitlis sums up the pointlessness of the vote forced by the SNP on Syria last night with help from a confused Mark Lancaster:

Maitlis: “Mark Lancaster, would you like to appear on Newsnight tonight?”

Lancaster: “Well, I’m on Newsnight tonight…”

Maitlis: “Right, so it was a pointless question.

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Commons Clerks Sceptical About MP-Led Bullying Inquiry

If MPs are goood at anything it is buck passing and blame swerving.[…] Read the rest

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