Nick Timothy: Brexit Still Has to Mean Brexit

Nick Timothy might be out of Downing Street but he is almost certainly still advising Theresa May off the books. Many MPs are convinced he will just be emailing her from his Gmail account rather than his Number 10 address. Timothy was a Brexiter, one of the sounder people in May’s team on Europe, and had consistently argued to the boss and Cabinet that a real Brexit had to mean leaving the ECJ, single market and customs union. In an article for the Speccie today, he outlines what the PM has to do to fulfil her promise that Brexit means Brexit:

“Skilful leadership may deliver stability, but the absence of an overall majority means the nature of the Brexit deal the government negotiates is more uncertain. There has long been talk of a choice between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ forms of Brexit, with the latter requiring membership of the EU’s single market. Since that would involve accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, vast annual membership payments to the EU, and the continuation of free movement rules, people who voted to leave the European Union might wonder whether advocates of a ‘soft’ departure really do understand that Brexit means Brexit.”

Many Leave Tory MPs who hated Timothy’s manifesto were apprehensive about him leaving Number 10 due to his strong commitment to a real Brexit. They will be hoping Theresa is still listening to him…

Farron Loses Top Spinner

Guido understands Tim Farron’s top spinner Paul Butters is leaving. This will be a major loss to the LibDem leader, Butters is a page lead wizard with a journalist’s mind who was single-handedly responsible for getting his boss’ name in the paper over the last couple of years. His instantly recognisable catchphrase “mate” will be missed by Lobby hacks struggling for stories in the Red Lion. This election really was the massacre of the contacts…

Tory SpAd Voted For Corbyn

It seems the Corbynista contagion permeated the minds of young Tory voters too. Remarkably, and to the bafflement of her former colleagues, it emerges that Stephen Crabb’s ex SpAd Emily Poole voted for Jeremy Corbyn. In a post on her blog, Emily, who worked in both Cameron governments, mourned the demise of Dave’s “cuddly Conservatism” and backed Jez:

“In response to the inevitable question, “but how can you vote Labour though? Jeremy Corbyn is useless/a communist/a terrorist sympathiser”: I’m not saying I think Jeremy Corbyn would make a good Prime Minister. But guess what? The situation we’re currently in isn’t very good either. The NHS is in crisis, our national security is already at risk, first-time buyers haven’t got a hope in hell of saving enough money to own a property and good school places are harder to come by than a Jane Austen £5 note. Do I care whether Jeremy Corbyn would or wouldn’t press the red button? Well why don’t we all just work on the assumption that we’re pretty screwed if we get to that point anyway?”

Red Tory…

Nick and Fi Resign

Nick Timothy out:

“I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy programme. In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care. But I would like to make clear that the bizarre media reports about my own role in the policy’s inclusion are wrong: it had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project. I chose not to rebut these reports as they were published, as to have done so would have been a distraction for the campaign. But I take responsibility for the content of the whole manifesto, which I continue to believe is an honest and strong programme for government.”

Read his whole article on ConHome.

A Tory spokesman says Fiona Hill has resigned too. May now all alone in Number 10 without the aides upon whom she depended…

Hammond Loses Another SpAd

Philip Hammond’s long-serving Special Adviser Graham Hook has left government. Hook, a dependable and highly-experienced Whitehall veteran who has worked across four departments, served under Hammond since 2012 and will be a major loss to the Chancellor. Guido hears he left in May and has joined the Investment Association. This is the second major SpAd departure from the Treasury after Hayden Allan left in April. Does not bode well for Hammond ahead of the post-election reshuffle…

Davis SpAd Chappers Out

Was always a bit of an odd move for Chappers to go from Project Fear to the Brexit department. Good luck in the undisclosed new job (expect inevitable rumours that the former Mail pol ed could reunite with his old boss George Osborne at the Standard). Another senior SpAd departs…

Hammond Admits Sweary Rows With Team May

Philip Hammond on the Today programme repeatedly refused to deny reports of rows with Theresa May’s aides, in particular Nick Timothy, and even let slip that he had “occasionally sworn”. When they call it “tittle-tattle” you know it’s true…

Katie Perrior Joins News UK

Guido hears Theresa May’s recently departed Director of Communications Katie Perrior is joining News UK. She will be working as an election pundit for talkRADIO, News’s burgeoning radio station, alongside journalists from the Times and Sun. It has been well-documented that the advisers who have recently left had a frustrating time working in May’s Downing Street. Will make for interesting listening…

No. 10 SpAds Trying to Escape

The exodus from Downing Street is becoming a major theme among senior Tories and the SpAd class. In the last few weeks Number 10 has lost its Director of Communications Katie Perrior, Press Secretary Lizzie Loudon and Official Spokesman Helen Bower. Last year education adviser Rachel Wolf went quietly after Theresa May pressed ahead with grammar schools. Philip Hammond’s SpAd Hayden Allan left last week. The election has provided an excuse for others to jump…

The PM’s social justice adviser Alex Burghart is on the selection shortlist for Eric Pickles’ Brentwood seat tonight. May’s long-serving SpAd Stephen Parkinson is on the shortlist in Saffron Walden. Iraq War hero Chris Brannigan, the Director of Government Relations at Number 10, is on the shortlist in Aldershot. “SuperSpAd” Sheridan Westlake has been strongly linked to several seats. This is a huge, unprecedented exodus…

In 2015, only Oliver Dowden left David Cameron’s Number 10 for the Commons. And that was an election many Tories thought they would lose. The vast majority of Cameron’s SpAds thought their time was better served in Number 10, that they would have more influence in Downing Street than in parliament. Large numbers of May’s SpAds have come to the opposite conclusion. Tory sources tell Guido the feeling is that unless you are in May’s close circle of trusted confidantes, you might as well leave and sit on the backbenches. They say the atmosphere in Number 10 is so toxic that many are desperate to leave. Guido is highly sceptical of rumours that the PM’s Joint Chief of Staff Nick Timothy wants to stand this time round – he is one of the few for whom staying is surely worth it. Though the fact this is even being discussed reveals much about what it is like to work in a Downing Street that will have huge vacancies to fill on June 9…

Another Top SpAd Leaving

Since the election was called Theresa May has lost her spinners Katie Perrior and Lizzie Loudon, and now Philip Hammond has lost his SpAd, the experienced Hayden Allan:

“After working on three General Election campaigns, I always said I wouldn’t stay for a fourth campaign, and after nearly seven years, in three different Government departments, I’ve decided it is time to leave Government to explore new opportunities. It’s been a huge privilege and honour to work in the MoD, FCO and HM Treasury, under two different Prime Ministers and during a period of considerable change, globally and domestically. I wish the Prime Minister and the Chancellor well for the campaign ahead and look forward to the return of a strong Conservative Government on 9 June.”

Apply if you’re happy to take a bucket of negative briefings from Number 10 when the next Budget unravels…

Top May Aide Nick Timothy Gets Crick’d

The long legs of top Theresa May adviser Nick Timothy allow him to run away from Michael Crick’s Tory election expenses questions…

Who’s Who in Jeremy Corbyn’s office?

The latest in the addictive series of Daily Politics SpAd guides. Impressive array of haircuts from Jez’s spin merchant Matt Zarb-Cousins…

Theresa May’s Number 10 SpAds Profiled

Excellent updated Daily Politics film on the Number 10 SpAds who run the country behind the scenes…

Cable’s Ex-SpAd Giles Wilkes Heading to Downing Street

Usually reliable sources tell Guido that Giles Wilkes, the ex-SpAd to Vince Cable who is currently writing the Lex column and FT leaders, is joining Downing Street in the New Year. He will be covering the corporate governance and industrial strategy policy brief. His appointment shows how far the government has moved on from the free market neo-liberalism of the last three decades…

Nice guy. Big Remainer and Lib Dem obviously. Giles is vehemently opposed to Brexit and tightening up on immigration – so his policy differences with the PM are only on the core goals of Downing Street. As an ex-wonk from CentreForum he can be too clever by half, he was one of the few LibDems who thought tuition fees were the right thing to do, so he has the required classic political awareness and sensitivity of an autistic wonk. Obviously being an “expert economist” and former bookmaker he managed to publicly lose a bet to Guido on the direction of inflation…

His appointment will infuriate the right of the Conservative Party. Wilkes once described tax cuts as “gambling with taxpayers money”. Giles seems not to understand that it is their money in the first place. Mind you he did apologise for calling Guido “innumerate” after he lost that bet to him.

Guido was unable to confirm the appointment at the time of going to pixel despite reaching out to Wilkes.

N.B. SpAds wondering what he will be like to work with can watch him pontificating about SpAds here.

Taking Out the Trash Day: Nick and Fi on £140,000 Each

Downing Street has chosen the first day of the Christmas holidays to publish the salaries of government special advisers. Theresa May’s joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are on £140,000 each. There are now 83 SpAds costing the taxpayer £7.9 million a year…

Boris Aide Joins Edelman After Team May Force Him Out

Boris Johnson’s respected former adviser Will Walden has joined lobbying firm Edelman after being forced out of government by Theresa May’s increasingly paranoid aides. Boris wanted Walden, his long-serving, well-liked director of communications, to join him at the Foreign Office. Number 10’s control freakery saw them refuse to sign off on the appointment, so Walden has moved to the private sector to earn a decent salary as Edelman’s MD. A talented public servant lost to the dark side thanks to more silliness from Downing Street…

Revealed: Baroness Scotland’s Bumper Contracts for Aides

scotland

A Guido investigation can reveal for the first time the extraordinary fat contracts issued by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Baroness Scotland to her advisers. An internal probe was launched after senior officials complained that the taxpayer-funded salaries awarded to special advisers Matthew Doyle and Joe Phelan were excessive. Now a whistleblower has passed Doyle and Phelan’s contracts to Guido – they reveal that they were paid a staggering £15,000 each in April, £15,000 each in May and £18,000 each in June. These are vast monthly payments – more than the Prime Minister is paid per month – and the bill was picked up by the taxpayer.

Below are screengrabs taken from Doyle and Phelan’s contracts:

phelandoyle

Both Doyle and Phelan refused to speak on the record. They claim the payments relate to work done between January and September and therefore the money is not excessive. Yet the contracts explicitly state in black and white that these are monthly payments for work done between April and June. What’s more, Baroness Scotland was only appointed in April. Which raises three questions:

  • Why were Baroness Scotland’s advisers paid so much money over this three month period?
  • Why do these contracts state in black and white that the payments are for work done between April and June, if they in fact cover a period much longer?
  • Why was the Commonwealth paying for Baroness Scotland’s aides before she was appointed to her role?

These payments are the subject of an internal complaint within the Commonwealth Secretariat. They are the tip of the iceberg of a cache of leaked documents passed to Guido by a whistleblower. Stay tuned for more revelations about the extravagant world of Baroness Scotland’s Commonwealth office over the days ahead…

UPDATE: A Commonwealth Secretariat spokesman gets in touch to say Phelan was wrong to say the payments relate to work done since January:

“We wish to make it clear that both Joe Phelan and Matthew Doyle were paid by the Secretariat from April 2016 until their contracts expired earlier this month. They have now left the organisation. Your article implies that the Secretariat paid them from January 2016. As the contracts you have published show, this is simply wrong.”

Curiouser and curiouser…

SpAds in Numbers

spads-male-female2

With Guido’s SpAd list all but complete, our data bods have crunched the numbers to give you a statistical analysis of the government’s bag-carriers. More than two thirds of SpAds are men – that said, female representation among advisers is higher than in the Commons. 32% of SpAds are women compared to just 29% of MPs. 5% of SpAds are ethnic minority, which is below the 6% figure for MPs and is also an under-representation on a national scale. Plenty of diversity on the names front though – Richard, Rupert, Tim and Tom all feature prominently, not to mention Poppy, Lottie and Flora.

names

A government that works for everyone, especially Richard.

SpAd List: New Appointments

SPADS

Guido’s SpAd list is pretty much complete. Latest moves include Keelan Carr and Ben Mascall to Downing Street to do the Scotland brief and Number 10 grid respectively. Michael Fallon has taken on Richard Holden at the MoD, Liam Fox’s second SpAd will be Amy Tinley, Raoul Ruparel is with David Davis at the Brexit department and Rupert Oldham-Reid is off to the whips office. See the full list here:

If you can help us fill in the final gaps then get in touch

May Hires 23 SpAds So Far

SPADS

By Guido’s count Theresa May now has 23 SpAds, spinners and policy wonks at Number 10, still a little way off Dave’s chumocracy. The PM has hired former Foreign Office SpAd Denzil Davidson, Centrica’s Georgia Berry and Alex Burghart from the Centre for Social Justice.[…] Read the rest

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