Muslim Women Gagged at PM’s ‘Freedom for Muslim Women’ Speech

David Cameron is speaking from a secret venue today announcing more money to boost female migrants’ language skills, in order to help them escape the “control” of men in some communities. So it looks pretty bad that Downing Street aides are preventing the Muslim women there from speaking to journalists. Sky’s Gerard Tubb is at the scene:

What was that about domineering men preventing Muslim women from speaking?

UPDATE: A No. 10 source quickly gets in touch to insist that this was simply “a timetabling issue, simple as that” and that the women were free to speak to journalists afterwards.

Hunt Aide Interrupts Sky News Interview

A Department of Health aide has ‘done a Paddy O’Flynn‘ and interrupted an interview between Sky’s Darren McCaffrey and senior clinical adviser Norman Williams. Unfortunately the cameras kept rolling…

Exitism: Labour Departures

balls-spads

Dan Hodges flouncing out of the Labour Party (again) is no surprise, though he joins a steady stream of people resigning from the people’s party. If not formally resigning they are just quietly (or not so quietly) not renewing their memberships. Exitism by high-calibre moderates is on the rise as the once entryist crypto-commies and toytown trots are welcomed into the party by Corbyn…

Former candidates, bag-carrying opposition PAds and other greasy pole climbing careerists are re-evaluating their prospects. Talk to them and they candidly say that they fully expect another decade of Tory rule. Do they want to spend their best years arguing with lobotomised lefties in CLPs or making some money in the private sector? Labour’s departure lounge is busy…

One-time leadership contender Ed Balls himself looks like he has had enough and his praetorian guard of former advisers have already made the move to the private sector. His former policy chief Karim Palant has joined Facebook as UK public policy manager. Alex Belardinelli, long-time Balls SpAd in government and opposition, is now spinning for Uber, the multi-billion dollar ride-sharing corporation, as their UK head of communications. Do let Guido know of any more examples of exitism…

Mary Macleod’s Reverse Career Trajectory

The stereotypical Westminster career trajectory is from bag-carrier to MP, yet for Mary Macleod the opposite is true. Macleod was one of the ten Tory MPs who lost their seat in May when she was beaten by Labour in Brentford. Do not fear for her bank balance, though. Within weeks she landed a cushy new gig as Special Adviser to the Secretary of Scotland, David Mundell. Macleod did the job unpaid until August as she had just pocketed her ex-MP’s resettlement grant, though now she is being paid a full taxpayer-funded salary, which is undeclared though will be around what she earned as a Member of Parliament. Don’t say the Tories don’t look after their own…

Updated SpAd List in Full

spads2

On the final day of term, Downing Street has at last released the updated list of government special advisers. As ever, Guido gives you the names in full:

Despite Cameron’s promise, the SpAd bill for 2014-15 was £9.2 million…

UPDATE: Government sources get in touch to stress that next year the bill will fall to £8.4 million.

Corbyn’s Commissars Confirmed

Last week Guido reported that Corbyn was planning to centrally assign political advisers (PAds) to his Secretaries of State, rather than let them appoint their own aides. The move is seen as a highly controversial Corbynista power grab in moderate Labour circles.

The job of Political Advisor to the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales has just gone up on the vacancies page on the Labour party website. Instead of applicants being instructed to send their CVs to Nia Griffith or a current staff member in her office, as happened previously, they are told to email a central Labour party address. A requirement of the job is not just to “support… the Shadow Secretary of State”, but also the Leader of the Labour Party”. What is it with Jezza and jobs for the boys?

Bankers’ Spinner Bolsters ‘No’ Campaign

A big boost for the ‘No’ campaign, who have signed up top British Bankers’ Association spinner Paul Stephenson to run their comms. Dominic Cummings is hiring:

“If you want to get overpaid for lying to people, call the EU Commission or Roland Rudd – he tells the media he wants to pay his campaign manager 500k: you can hire 20 junior people for that and I’ll bet they’ll drive the guy on 500k round the bend before they’re done…”

Stephenson is a former Tory press officer turned DfT and then DH SpAd, and one of the best in the business. His appointment also neuters the line that the City is pro-EU, as clearly the bankers’ spinner disagrees. Downing Street will rue the day they didn’t hug him close and make him an offer he couldn’t refuse…

Burnham Gaffe Wasn’t Even First Time

country comes first

Liz Kendall is making Burnham’s ‘the party always comes first’ gaffe really hurt. Burnham supporters are attempting to spin it as out of context, but it was clearly a daft thing to say and it teed up his quick witted opponent perfectly.

As they spin, perhaps Burnham’s allies could explain why this was the second time this week their boy declared party over country? Speaking to ITV Wales show the Sharp End, Burnham said on Monday:

“I’m always someone that will put the interests of the Labour Party first, and that is in the end what matters – what is in the best interests of the Labour Party.”

This is the man who promised last night to take politics out of the elitist bubble.

Quick career recap:

  • Cambridge University.
  • Tessa Jowell SpAd.
  • Chris Smith SpAd.
  • Elected to Parliament in stitch up.
  • David Blunkett bagcarrier.
  • DCMS Minister.
  • Chief Secretary to Treasury (pre-crash).
  • Health Secretary.
  • Failed leadership contender.
  • Shadow Health Secretary.

You would have thought that somewhere along the way, Burnham might have realised you have to at least pretend you’re putting the interests of the country first…

Treasury Seeks SpAd Gender Balance

George Osborne’s new Director of Communications James Chapman is seeking some gender balance in the Treasury media team, and is “asking every woman in the Lobby” if they want a job. Rumours swirl that the FT’s deputy pol ed Beth Rigby is among those who have been approached. She certainly has a strong grounding on the policy side of things but is she ‘on message’ enough for the role? So far the men who have put their names forward have been rebuffed…

SpAd List: Treasury Seeking Another Spinner

spads2

Due to overwhelming traffic crashing Google Docs yesterday, here is Guido’s much sought after (and still in progress) SpAd list embedded on the site:

The exodus from the CCHQ press office continues as comms chief Giles Kenningham becomes a Special Adviser to the PM. Meanwhile the Lobby will be braced for another departure as the Treasury looks to hire another spinner. Send news of new appointments to team@order-order.com.

SpAd List: Rolling Updates as They Come In

spads2

A new government means a new SpAd list and Guido’s handy resource of political appointments is starting to take shape. There are still a few gaps missing and we will be updating as and when news of the remaining hires comes in.

 Guido’s SpAd list can be read here.

Also getting SpAds are Priti Patel, Anna Soubry, Grant Shapps and Brandon Lewis.

Downing Street has been bolstered with the high profile appointments of Camilla Cavendish as policy chief and Mats Persson to advise on Europe, as well as taking super-SpAd Sheridan Westlake over from DCLG.

Meanwhile the CCHQ talent pool has been dredged, with Conservative Research Department chief Alex Dawson off to work for Theresa May and several party press officers getting government jobs. Head of Broadcast Carrie Symonds moves up to spin for Whitto at DCMS, while Deputy Head of Press Ben Mascall will be keeping Michael “back stabber’ Fallon on a leash.

Internally, super-sleuth Andrew Goodfellow steps up to the coveted Head of the Conservative Research Department gig. You may not have heard of him but you’ve certainly read his work…

Help us fill in the gaps by emailing news of other appointments to team@order-order.com.

New No.10 EU Adviser: UK “Could Prosper” After Brexit

Downing Street have hired Open Europe director Mats Persson to advise on Europe ahead of the referendum. Yet another EU immigrant taking a British job…

Persson is a pragmatist who very much fits with the ‘renegotiate then stay in’ approach. That said, his words from earlier this year on what Brexit would mean for the British economy are encouraging:

“If it goes for deregulation and free trade it could potentially prosper… there is potential there to open up the markets both in terms of going and striking trade deals with countries like China and India, where the EU does not have a trade deal at the moment, but there’s also potential for Britain to open up its own market and lower tariffs, lower barriers to trade, which I think will benefit consumers here. Now the question though is, will British politicians and voters embrace that kind of free trade deregulation outside the EU.”

Guido is updating his SpAd list as and when appointments come in. Email us any names we’ve missed…

Dave Creates Six New Tory Peers

The Queen has been pleased to signify Her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on the following:

  • Rt Hon Francis Maude

  • Ros Altmann CBE

  • George Bridges

  • Andrew Dunlop

  • Jim O’Neill

  • David Prior

Two former aides Bridges and Dunlop. Maude not a surprise to Guido readers….

Top May Ally Cleared: PASC Rules Tory SpAd Telecanvassing Was Unlawful

A report published today by the Public Administration Select Committee has found that CCHQ were wrong to ask Special Advisers to campaign for the party in the Rochester by-election. Theresa May’s SpAd Nick Timothy was dropped from the candidates list in a major internal Tory row after he argued that demands from Grant Shapps for SpAds to take part in telephone canvassing were against their Code of Conduct. The report finds:

“We therefore conclude that any direction to a Special Adviser to conduct telephone canvassing was misguided, and that advice that such a direction or such canvassing was permitted under their Code and contract of employment was wrong in law… We recommend that Special Advisers should never again be confronted with directions or informal pressure that puts them in breach of the Code and of their contracts of employment.”

Will the Tories now reinstate Timothy to the candidates list after this key ruling?

UPDATE: Labour’s Jon Ashworth sticks the boot in:

“The Parliamentary Authorities have delivered a damning assessment of the Number 10 operation, and we now need to know which Ministers were complicit in issuing this ‘misguided’ advice. Given the proximity of the election campaign, we need a formal government response today which outlines how Number 10 will ensure no rules will be broken over the role played by Special Advisers.”

Broke LibDems Hire SpAds for Last Days of Government

libdem-spads

The gloves are coming off between the Tories and the LibDems in the dying days of their coalition. Downgraded Business Secretary Vince Cable has been allowed to appoint a new taxpayer funded adviser – his third – despite there being only 2 months left before the government is dissolved. This infuriates the Tories, and they have let rip: “We all know the LibDems are on the brink of bankruptcy”, says Tory MP Julian Smith; “this is a naked attempt by the them to plunder the public finances to bankroll their faltering election campaign.” Victoria Pine, a former lobbyist, will be paid by the taxpayer until the end of March, during which time there will be almost zero government activity. Cable’s other two spin doctors are paid £60,000 each, though Pine’s salary remains a mystery. “You can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say,’ claims Labour’s Sheila Gilmore. “They used to say Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the taxpayer but in Government this has become just another broken promise. Taxpayers will rightly be asking why, at a time when this Zombie Government is barely staggering along, the Libs think it’s appropriate to add more and more advisers to the payroll.” A spokesman for Vince Cable tells Guido lamely: ‘There are already 3 Tory special advisers in BIS and so, as approved by David Cameron, we have brought the number of LibDem spads in BIS up to parity’.

Nick Clegg has also pulled a similar stunt. The Deputy Prime Minister has two dozen taxpayer-funded Special Advisors, and has added another to the list just in time for the election. Ruwan Kodikara has joined Clegg’s team as the his spin-tastic “Head of Media & Brand”. It would be a tough job for anyone to turn around the Lib Dems’ toxic image in just 107 days, but Kodikara has years of experience spinning for the bad guys. Having been a lobbyist for big energy, bad banks, private healthcare and nuclear energy, is he ready for his toughest job yet? Presumably Clegg’s promise to clamp down on lobbying and create a “cleaner, better politics” has gone the same way of his pledge not to raise tuition fees…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Oborne v Maguire

Today’s Mirror splashes on “heartless” George Osborne giving his SpAd Rupert Harrison, apparently “one of the chief architects” of the “cruel austerity drive”, a 19% pay rise.

The story very much upset Man of the People Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire, who Peter Oborne has the temerity to speculate is on rather more than Rupert:

Kerching!

What the Helic? SpAd Bill Soars to £8.4 Million + + + No. 10 Stuffed with 27 Special Advisers to the PM + + +

£8.4 million of taxpayer cash was spent on 103 SpAds in the last year, a 17% rise on the year before.

Chasing headlines in 2010, Cameron made a big deal of cutting the number of SpAds from 82 to 61. He now personally has 27. Twenty-f**king-seven spin doctors, bag carriers and wonky strategists. No. 10 now has almost half the number of SpAds as served the entire government just five years ago.

Nick Clegg now has twenty special advisers. Nearly double the amount that Jesus got by with.

Why does Esther McVey need a Special Adviser beyond a reshuffle consolation prize, and why is she paid more than dozens of others on the list who report to real cabinet ministers?

Why does the Chief Whip have three advisers at a cost of around £150,000? What are they doing – because there’s no real legislation going through the House?

And finally, Guido cannot fathom why, in his new role as Leader of the House, William Hague still needs three SpAds costing us almost £200,000. Bizarrely Arminka Helic is retained as his adviser on £70,000-a-year, despite recently being ennobled and therefore allowed to claim a £300-a-day allowance in the House of Lords.

What a bloody racket.

UPDATE: Hard to disagree with Angela Eagle:

“Another day, another broken promise from David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“David Cameron promised to get the cost of politics down but under him the number of Special Advisers spirals ever upwards – the public are now picking up bill of over £8m to pay for his appointees.

“This also shows how you can’t trust a word Nick Clegg says. The Lib Dems used to say that Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the public but as soon as he got his feet under the Cabinet table he broke his word. The cost to the public of Lib Dem Special Advisers is over £1.7million – Nick Clegg alone has more advisers working for him than he has female MPs.”

UPDATE II:

Herr Llewellyn “Creates Bonds and Friendships” With Germany

konferenz_03_klein

Earlier this week a well versed government source whispered to Guido that Ed Llewellyn is holding out to secure the Ambassadorship to Berlin. Well, the latest No. 10 SpAd hospitality declarations suggest Herr Llewellyn has been busy making plans for the job. In only one of two publicly declared engagements, Dave’s Chief of Staff attended the Königswinter Conference, an annual meeting that has taken place since the Second World War “with the aim of improving the troubled relationship between Germany and Great Britain”. It sees “around 80 German and British politicians, diplomats, business managers, academics and journalists for a profound exchange of ideas”, promising to “create bonds and friendships”, and presumably future careers. For you, Eddie, ze coalition is almost over…

Lobbyists Claim Fallon SpAd Retained Whilst at MoD

Back in September Michael Fallon hired defence lobbyist Bill Clare to spin for him as his special adviser. The right-winger worked for Michael Howard before joining Liam Fox’s abortive bid for the Tory leadership, ending up on the side of the angels at arms manufacturers General Dynamics, eventually going on to spin for the London First group. A job that he appears to have kept for longer than he strictly should…

An email has emerged that shows Clare’s old lobbying organisation claiming to have kept the newbie SpAd on their roster while he worked at the Ministry of Defence:

​From: Gavin Hayes
Sent: 02 October 2014 15:25
To: LondonFirst
Subject: Bill Clare

Hello

This it to let you all know that as of Monday 22 September Bill has started an exciting new role working as an adviser to Michael Fallen MP the Defence Secretary at the MOD.

Bill will continue to provide advice and support for the Let Britain Fly campaign over the next couple of weeks by phone and email but will no longer be coming into the office.

I would like to personally thank Bill for all his fantastic work on the Let Britain Fly campaign over the last year and for all the support he has given us.

We wish Bill all the very best of luck and success in his new job.

Gavin
Gavin Hayes
Campaign Director, Aviation
London First

At a time when the MoD were bombing ISIS, why was Clare apparently combining SpAd-ing with being a business lobbyist? Curiously, London First also “work with government and police organisations in helping their respective cyber units”.

Cyber Units like the one recently set up by the Ministry of Defence.

Guido does wonder if this unusual arrangement was cleared with the MoD permanent secretary and the Cabinet Office, and whether the conflict of interest was declared?

UPDATE: Statement from Bill Clare:

My last working day for Let Britain Fly was Monday 22nd September – as they have now confirmed – at which point I closed down my company in accordance with my agreement with the Cabinet Office. I began work with the MOD on Thursday 25th September. The email you’ve been “leaked” is not accurate – so your story isn’t either – a point I understand Let Britain Fly has been in touch to make and to confirm the dates above.

Guido has received no such communication from Let Britain Fly…

The SpAd List: Latest Movements in Full

Guido’s public service blogging brings you the ever-growing number of increasingly highly paid Special Advisers, policy wonks and spinners carrying the bags of ministers up and down Whitehall. Click below to see who they all are:

Click here to see the SpAd list.
[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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