Labour’s He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Director of Communications Denies Briefing Against Rosie Duffield

Yesterday the Mail on Sunday ran a story about an unnamed Starmer aide briefing against a Labour MP:

“a senior aide to Sir Keir Starmer said ‘it would be nice’ if Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield ‘spent a bit more time’ in her constituency, rather than ‘hanging out with JK Rowling”

JK Rowling spotted the Mail on Sunday story and mocked the advisor:

“Fight that FOMO, bro.”

In response, Rosie Duffield tweeted:

“Never had the pleasure of meeting this unelected Head Of Comms person. But for the record, while he was overheard loudly opining on my whereabouts and choice of friends, I was in my constituency meeting with members of Canterbury’s Hazara community. Really hope he’s OK with that”

Labour’s “Head of Comms person” is Matthew Doyle, a veteran Labour spin doctor from the New Labour Blair era. It is his job to hone the attack on the Tories, which is why it is all the more surprising that he would be briefing against a Labour MP. Obviously if it were true that Starmer’s top spin doctor is briefing against a Labour MP it would not be a good look. We put Rosie Duffield’s allegation to Labour’s press office this morning:

A rare categoric, on-the-record denial.

Unfortunately it is also untrue – listen to Matthew Doyle briefing against Rosie Duffield below:

Now you might think that the Leader of the Labour Party’s top attack dog briefing against one of their own MPs – in the same breath as saying that the MP had been in to see the leader about how she was being treated by the party – might be newsworthy. When Britain’s top-selling writer and campaigner for women’s rights JK Rowling, who incidentally has given over a million pounds to the Labour Party, is also being criticised you would think political editors would be scrambling to cover the story. You would think this morning’s papers would be following it up with feral glee. You would be wrong, there was no follow up of the story this morning, like JK Rowling’s infamous villain Voldemort it seems Doyle is he-who-must-not-be-named. Surely the Lobby’s political editors wouldn’t be craven cowards afraid of being cursed by Labour’s wielder of the dark arts?

mdi-timer 23 January 2023 @ 12:12 23 Jan 2023 @ 12:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Amber De Botton is Rishi’s Pick for Director of Communications

In 2012 Guido predicted that Amber de Botton was “one to watch” when she left her reporting job at the ill-fated Total Politics to go to Sky News. Ten years later the boss of ITV News leaves for Downing Street to become Rishi’s new Director of Communications. A job that will involve her selling the merits of the government after what will have been 14 years in office come the next general election, at a time when it faces horrendous economic challenges. Widely liked, Amber is taking on one helluva job…

She was at one time mooted for the job of fronting a daily televised briefing from Downing Street – mostly by people who didn’t realise she was pregnant at the time. Allegra Stratton eventually got that role before it was abandoned in tears. Amber told Guido around the same time that “there is probably a happier middle ground to be found with on- and off-camera briefings, especially as ‘fake news’/media transparency places more pressure on our industry”. So she seemingly favoured more televised briefings when she was a poacher, will she still now she is a gamekeeper? If anyone has the experience to know how to deal with prima donna Lobby television reporters it is Amber. Could we see the idea modified and revived under her management?

mdi-timer 29 October 2022 @ 11:22 29 Oct 2022 @ 11:22 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Poll Reported by Sunday Times Showing Rishi Winning in Red Wall Seats Actually Had Boris Well Ahead

Yesterday Guido reported on the mystery of the fake polls creating fake news in the Sunday Times. The paper claimed two polls from Survation and Focaldata showed Rishi was the top choice nationally, especially with Red Wall voters. Survation and Focaldata later denied these polls ever existed. The CEO of Focaldata now says he actually forgot* about a poll commissioned by Hanover Communications, and has since provided the data tables which generated the above chart. It shows that, based on the stated “first preference for Prime Minister”, voters nationally prefer Boris and he currently ties with Starmer in Red Wall seats. 

Given the Sunday Times article reported the poll as showing Rishi Sunak supposedly had the best chance of reaching voters in the Red Wall seats that flipped to the Tories in 2019, it is striking that the actual data shows Rishi well behind in the Red Wall seats and nationally as the first choice for voters. Whomever span the poll to the Sunday Times emphasised that Rishi was a strong second choice versus Starmer and Boris. Tory MPs know there is no prize under Britain’s electoral system for second choices…

*Justin Ibbett, CEO of Focaldata, who tweeted on Sunday that he had not conducted a poll regarding a “hypothetical leader” has now explained that his firm is primarily a software platform. Customers like Hanover Communications can automate their polling without human intervention from them. Hence his ignorance of a poll his firm conducted.

mdi-timer 8 February 2022 @ 15:59 8 Feb 2022 @ 15:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rishi for England

Politicians love to associate themselves with something as populist as football and Rishi is no different. However the authenticity of his support – or at the very least the longevity of his support – is called into question by the three price tags which can be seen still attached to his England football shirt in this publicity shot. A rare slip in his usually slick operation. It’s a bit “Gordon Brown wakes up to the Arctic Monkeys…”

mdi-timer 29 June 2021 @ 14:40 29 Jun 2021 @ 14:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Jack Doyle is Downing Street’s New Head of Spin

Jack Doyle has been promoted from deputy to the new Downing Street Director of Communications, replacing his boss and former Daily Mail colleague, James Slack, who has gone to be deputy editor of The Sun. Guido does wonder what this means for the much delayed televised briefings, Doyle’s a newspaperman and not one for revolutions…

mdi-timer 17 April 2021 @ 09:29 17 Apr 2021 @ 09:29 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Allegra’s Scheduled Televised Briefings Off Air

Guido understands that Downing Street’s televised press briefings, to be fronted by Allegra Stratton and due to launch on January 11th, will not be going ahead next week. Not much of a surprise in the current circumstances. Expect to continue to see ministers doing briefings during lockdown…

mdi-timer 6 January 2021 @ 14:01 6 Jan 2021 @ 14:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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