BBC and DCMS Committee Push Fake News About Vote Leave Facebook Adverts

Whoever wrote this news article for the BBC website about Vote Leave’s Facebook adverts is going to have some explaining to do to their editor. The article talks about how Vote Leave and BeLeave “micro-targeted” adverts during the referendum, “with 252 of them seen fewer than 1,000 times”. Just one problem: it’s total nonsense. The adverts were never requested by Vote Leave or BeLeave. They never ran. That is why they appear in the “0-999” impressions box in the DCMS select committee’s numbers. The true number is zero. A glaring factual error completely demolishing the BBC’s story that Vote Leave “micro-targeted” adverts to data sets of fewer than 1,000 people.

This fake news has come about because the DCMS select committee refused to publish evidence that would have clearly explained what happened. Aggregate IQ wrote to the committee with the explanation back in May. The committee refused to publish the letter, and now off the back of that the BBC has ended up publishing nonsense. Yet more evidence of Damian Collins’ Remoaner select committee, which is supposed to be impartial, losing touch with reality as they peddle their conspiracy theories about Vote Leave…

UPDATE: Carole is going on about there being no imprint – on the ads that didn’t run – “That look completely illegal”. There is no legal requirement for imprints on online adverts. This is not a “whole new massive can of worms”. It is Carole showing her complete lack of knowledge of the rules.

The reason online adverts don’t require an imprint is because generally they are too small and when viewers click they will in any event be taken to a site that generally says clearly who the advertiser is by advocating a vote for them.

UPDATE II: The BBC has issued a correction:

Now Incompetent Collins Committee Publishes Banks’ Passport Number… And Leaves Unredacted PDF Online

Another great success for Damian Collins: his DCMS committee has published Arron Banks’ passport number and ID details in breach of data protection legislation. The personal information was released in a volume of evidence uploaded to parliament’s website, for all to see. Under data protection rules it should have been redacted…

Collins says the error was amended – but as off midday Monday the original link is still live and Banks’s personal data is still being widely shared on social media. The Information Commissioner’s Office is aware of the breach. After last week’s embarrassing charade, hardly a display of competence from Collins’ committee…

Collins Humiliated as Banks Walks Out For Lunch

After running rings around Damian Collins and his dire DCMS committee all morning, Arron Banks then left them completely humiliated by standing up, telling them he had a lunch to go to and walking out. Nothing the impotent Collins could do. Watch to the end to see his face – a picture of total defeat. That’s how you take grandstanding select committee chairmen down a peg or two…

UPDATE: Guido hears their lunch date was with DUP MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson.

Cummings Calls Collins’ Bluff

As grandstanding Remoaner and DCMS select committee chair Damian Collins fires off another grandiose letter to Dom Cummings threatening to send the men in tights round, the Vote Leave chief responds:

If you had wanted my evidence you would have cooperated over dates. You actually wanted to issue threats, watch me give in, then get higher audiences for your grandstanding. I’m calling your bluff. Your threats are as empty as those from May/Hammond/DD to the EU. Say what you like, I will not come to your committee regardless of how many letters you send or whether you send characters in fancy dress to hand me papers.

As Guido has written previously, the House’s power to punish non-MPs for contempt is untested in the modern age, it would probably fall foul of human rights legislation. In theory Cummings could be summonsed to the bar of the House to be reprimanded or imprisoned. The House of Commons last used its power to fine in 1666…

Cummings also has a warning for the Brexit-hating DCMS committee and other ultra-Remainer MPs:

I’m told many of your committee support the Adonis/Mandelson/Campbell/Grieve/Goldman Sachs/FT/CBI campaign for a rematch against the country. Do you know what Vote Leave 2 would feel like for the MPs who vote for that (and donors who fund it)? It would feel like having Lawrence Taylor chasing you and smashing you into the ground over and over and over again. Vote Leave 2 would not involve me — nobody will make that mistake again — but I know what it would feel like for every MP who votes for a rematch against the public. 

One of the mistakes Brexiters made was letting Vote Leave stop campaigning…

Damian Collins Rejected Tech Firms’ Offer to Save Taxpayers £30,000

Yesterday Guido told you how Damian Collins was spending an estimated £30,000 of taxpayer cash flying his Culture, Media and Sport select committee members on a jolly to New York and Washington to probe “fake news”. It seemed a total extravagance from one of the more grandstanding select committee chairmen. Buzzfeed have now followed up our story with the news that the CMS committee actually turned down an offer from US tech companies to fly their American executives over to London so they could face the committee in parliament. A move which would have saved UK taxpayers all that money. Clearly the temptation of a freebie holiday to the US was too much for members to resist. What a waste of money from Collins’ committee, which has spent the last year talking nonsense to get silly Russia / Brexit headlines in Remain papers…

Soubry Fails to Get Elected to Brexit Committee Again

The following 10 Tory MPs are elected to serve on the Brexit select committee:

P Bone, C Chope, S Crabb, J Djanogly, R Graham, A Jenkyns, J Lefroy, C Mackinlay, Rees-Mogg, J Whittingdale

Soubry loses again…

Crispin Blunt’s Fall From Grace

Select committee chairmen are supposed to serve a five year term following their election at the beginning of a parliament. Not Crispin Blunt, who had his time as Foreign Affairs committee chair cut short by the snap election. Blunt was booted out in July after just two years – colleagues were unimpressed with his multiple gaffes and almost Corbynista foreign policy tendencies. As if that were not humiliating enough, the supremely entitled Crispin then put his name forward for a place on the committee, attempting to hang around like a bad smell. Yesterday he lost that election too. Has he got the picture yet? 

Select Committee Election Results

TREASURY (4 places)

Charlie Elphicke
Stephen Hammond
Alister Jack
Kit Malthouse

DEFENCE (3 places)

Leo Docherty
Mark Francois
Johnny Mercer

FOREIGN AFFAIRS (4 places)

Nusrat Ghani
Andrew Rosindell
Royston Smith
Nadhim Zahawi

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (5 places)

Bob Blackman
Kevin Hollinrake
Andrew Lewer
Mark Prisk
Mary Robinson

DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT (4 places)

Simon Hart
Julian Knight
Rebecca Pow
Giles Watling

EDUCATION (4 places)

Lucy Allan
Michelle Donelan
Trudy Harrison
William Wragg

ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS (3 places)

Dr Caroline Johnson
Sheryll Murray
Julian Sturdy

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (5 places)

James Duddridge
Nigel Evans
Jeremy Lefroy
Paul Scully
Henry Smith

INTERNATIONAL TRADE (4 places)

Julia Dockerill
Nigel Evans
Marcus Fysh
Ranil Jayawardena

PUBLIC ADMINSTRATION AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (4 places)

Marcus Fysh
Cheryl Gillan
David Jones
David Morris

TRANSPORT (4 places)

Steve Double
Huw Merriman
Iain Stewart
Martin Vickers

Graham Brady says there is “uncertainty” over the Tory allocation on the crucial Brexit select committee, so he cannot yet announce the result…

“He Doesn’t Believe in Email” Committee Chair Incumbents Out of Date

Tomorrow MPs vote in the select committee chairmanship elections, always one of the more entertaining events of a new parliament. Eyes are on the Foreign Affairs and Defence select committees, where there is a feeling among many MPs that the incumbent chairs are too old, too stale, too outdated in their views and too out of touch with modern day politics.

65-year-old Julian Lewis, the current Defence committee chair, is old-fashioned both in his personal style and working methods. He doesn’t believe in email, is brusque with colleagues and at one meeting his behaviour over the agenda caused such consternation that staff were asked to leave the room. He is the Speaker’s closest friend and shares some of Bercow’s personality traits. His blinding hatred of David Cameron was petty. He will be 70 at the next election.

Crispin Blunt, the Foreign Affairs committee incumbent, aroused concerns when he demanded private investigators be brought in to find out who exposed his determination to water down criticism of the Saudis – an odd look in Britain in 2017 – and then had his report on Libya embarrassingly debunked. Blunt has been dubbed the “Corbynista candidate” by some Labour moderates who note his views align with Jezza on Israel and western foreign policy.

As the Tories lick their election wounds and discuss how to appeal to modern voters, tomorrow’s select committee elections provide a chance to see how serious they are…

Labour Mercer Spoiler Attempt

Johnny Mercer’s bid for the Defence select committee chairmanship is the subject of a spoiler attempt by Janus-faced Labour rivals. Mercer is the MP for Plymouth Moor View. His neighbouring MP, Labour newbie Luke Pollard, has said he wants to work with Mercer to represent the city, claiming he would endorse him for the role if Mercer commits to opposing defence cuts and base sell offs. Mercer has indeed made those commitments. Yet for some strange reason Pollard is still refusing to back him…

Why the trickery? Pollard is no doubt wary of Mercer further increasing his profile and there are suggestions he has been trying to convince Labour MPs to vote against his Plymouth neighbour. Mercer has a 5,000 majority and some in Labour are prioritising designs on his seat over actually voting for who they think is the best candidate. Grown-ups like Dan Jarvis, Chris Bryant and Stephen Kinnock are not playing games and have nominated Mercer. Don’t forget the incumbent Defence chair Julian Lewis is Bercow’s best mate, you can expect a number of the Speaker’s allies in the Labour Party to try to block Mercer’s bid…

Elphicke Running For Treasury Chair on Populist Ticket

Some new runners and riders in the select committee chairmanship stakes. Charlie Elphicke has thrown his hat into the ring for Treasury select committee chair, running as the populist candidate who would turn the committee into a story factory “across the media from tabloid to TV”. After all, why should the Public Accounts committee have all the fun. He is a former tax lawyer and PAC member so Philip Hammond could expect to face significant scrutiny. Make the Treasury Select Committee Great Again?

Elsewhere, Defence select committee chair Julian Lewis faces a challenge from up-and-comer Johnny Mercer. Bercow’s best mate Lewis hasn’t exactly been an inspiration and the committee may benefit from a sexier chair – Mercer is on the up, increasingly has the respect of colleagues and is certainly one to watch. Couple of weeks until election day…

Select Committee Chairmanship Runners and Riders

If it weren’t for the Russians (allegedly) MPs’ inboxes would be constantly pinging with emails from colleagues canvassing for support for select committee chairmanships. The hotly-contested elections take place in July, as ever Guido gives you your runners and riders…

The big bunfight is the Treasury select committee, where MPs are jostling to fill the not inconsiderable shoes of Andrew Tyrie. Jacob Rees-Mogg has sat on the committee for two years, is well-respected on the Tory benches and would be a popular appointment. Nicky Morgan is running on a thinly-veiled continuity Remain ticket, talking up her ability to provide “necessary scrutiny and challenge” to the Brexit negotiations. NiMo is the preferred candidate of Labour Remainers, which says it all. Also running are the experienced Leaver Richard Bacon, who already has the signatures he needs, and Stephen Hammond and John Penrose, both Remainers with experience in the City. Would be a shame if the Mogg didn’t get it.

There’s also a tasty battle brewing for the Foreign Affairs committee chairmanship. Incumbent Crispin Blunt – who has faced embarrassment over the committee’s reports on Saudi Arabia and Libya – is being challenged by John Baron, who thinks Britain should work with Assad, Russia and Iran. Blunt is hardly sound and the committee is already stuffed with wrong uns. Though MPs will be concerned about some of Baron’s views too.

There is a vacancy as BEIS committee chair after Iain Wright stepped down from parliament. It’s between Rachel Reeves, Liam Byrne and Ian Lucas. Louise Ellman has quit as Transport committee chair, Geraint Davies is running to replace her. Quite a few battles bubbling away behind the scenes…

Philip Davies Elected to Women and Equalities Committee

Guido hears Philip Davies, he of the justice gender gap, has been elected unopposed to be a member of the Women and Equalities Committee. Congratulations Philip, well deserved. Ignore the haters…

Tory Whips Saved Vaz

vaz

When 203 MPs voted for Keith Vaz to join the Justice select committee last night, everyone assumed Labour MPs had turned up to back their man. In actual fact, Guido can reveal that it was the Tories who whipped their side to secure Vaz’s position. A disbelieving Conservative MP tells Guido that as he walked through the voting Lobby he saw a group of Tory whips ordering their MPs to vote for Vaz. There was no Labour whipping operation, only a small number of Labour MPs turned up for the vote. As a result 159 of the 203 MPs who voted for Vaz were Tories, including ministers like Amber Rudd, Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox. The whips’ pathetic argument was “you’re voting for the process, not for him”This decision to appoint a crook to the Justice committee is one of parliament’s most shameful acts in recent years – and the Tories are the ones responsible…

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Brexit Select Committee Runners and Riders

RUNNERS

The Tories have ten places on the Brexit select committee, and there is a bunfight brewing between the Leave and Remain candidates as MPs vote this afternoon. Here are the names in the frame via Brexit Central:

Leavers 

  • Peter Bone
  • Maria Caulfield
  • Steve Double
  • Michael Gove
  • Chris Green
  • Andrea Jenkyns
  • Peter Lilley
  • Karl McCartney
  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Nigel Mills
  • Dominic Raab
  • John Whittingdale
  • Mike Wood

Remainers

  • Alistair Burt
  • Jonathan Djangoly
  • Jeremy Lefroy
  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Anna Soubry

The Brexit committee is being chaired by arch-Remainer Hilary Benn and Labour have already elected fellow Remainers Seema Malhotra, Pat McFadden, Emma Reynolds and Stephen Timms to join him. If the likes of Soubry make it on as well it will be an obstructing rather than scrutinising committee. Lots of former Vote Leavers are however in the mix. Gove, Whitto and Raab would relish holding May to account…

Troughers’ Union Barron Broke Commons Code

One that you couldn’t make up: Kevin Barron, chair of the Standards Committee, broke the Commons code of conduct by taking money for hosting drugs company events in parliament. An investigation by the Standards Commissioner found that Barron sponsored three events for Japanese Pharmaceutical Group to use private dining rooms in the Palace of Westminster and accepted payment for the access. The breach was judged to be “minor” as he donated the cash to charity, so he’ll be allowed to keep his job in charge of sleazy MPs facing their own corruption probes. The troughers’ union Barron lives to pass judgement on future troughers…

Chuka’s Blatant Briefing Backfires

“Allies of Chuka” texted friendly members of the Lobby last night with the same tenuous line: that the Tories had blocked him from the Home Affairs committee chairmanship because they fear him as a potential future Labour leader. You’ll rarely get a more transparent and less believable briefing. Guido recalls a senior Labour figure a few years back explaining to hacks at Ed Miliband’s Christmas drinks party that Chuka would never be leader because everyone in Labour despises him. Whatever he’s spinning, the truth is Chuka is so unpopular with his own colleagues in the PLP he never stood a chance of winning the Home Affairs gig…

H/T Matt Chorley/Sam Coates

New Select Committee Chairs

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Brexit – Hilary Benn

Home Affairs – Yvette Cooper

Culture, Media and Sport – Damian Collins

Science – Stephen Metcalfe

Trade – Angus Macneil

Ken Livingstone’s Anti-Semitism Bingo

ken hitler bingo

Ken Livingstone is up in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee’s anti-Semitism inquiry at 3pm. Guido readers can play along at home using our bingo card of phrases Ken is likely to say during his grilling…

“Jerusalem” Interrupts Select Committee

Angela Smith appeared rather embarrassed yesterday when SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie’s iPad spontaneously started playing Jerusalem as the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee drew to a close. So that’s another vote for Jerusalem for Guido’s poll then…[…] Read the rest

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Boris as Hulk…

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