Prezza For Jezza

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Guido can confirm that John Prescott’s son David is joining Jeremy Corbyn’s office as his new speechwriter. Prezza Jnr is best known for denying that he tweets the gags from his dad’s Twitter account, so maybe we’ll be seeing a new, joke-telling Jez from now on. David is not exactly a Corbynista, he worked on the Andy Burnham leadership campaign. He has long felt that the “Red Prince” tag held him back in finding a safe seat. Nonetheless a canny hire by the leader’s office…

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

James Schneider Joining Corbyn’s Office

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Momentum spokesman James Schneider is joining Jeremy Corbyn’s office in a strategic communications role. Guido also understands Seumas Milne will not be leaving in the immediate future and that Schneider will be working under his fellow old Wykehamist in a mid-level role. A Labour spokesman says they do not comment on staffing matters and Schneider has not responded to Guido’s text. Though the move is definitely on…

Labour Suggests Public Could Protest Outside US Embassy

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Labour have suggested the public could protest outside the American embassy over its role in Syria. Asked about Boris’ call for a protest outside the Russian embassy, Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman said: “People are free to protest outside the intervening governments’ embassies, and there are a number of them“. When asked if the west were as much to blame, Team Jez said they’re not in the business of apportioning blame. They also argued that the focus on Russia distracted from others commiting atrocities in Syria: “The focus on Russian atrocities in Syria sometimes distracts attention from other atrocities that are taking place“. Would Jezza join a protest outside the Russian embassy? That’s not his priority, he does however condemn Russian intervention and all intervention. The Stop the War faction of Labour are in charge…

Sir Craig Can’t Justify His Knighthood

Enjoy Sir Craig Oliver squirming in his seat as Krishnan asks him to justify his knighthood and tells him it’s a reward for failure. “Winston Churchill, Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and now Craig Oliver”. Watch til the last line…

Who Will Replace Seumas Milne?

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Kevin Maguire, an impeccably connected old comrade of Seumas Milne, reports that Corbyn’s Director of Communications WILL be leaving next month. That would explain the leader’s office denying only that he would quit this week. As ever, Guido gives you your runners and riders for Seumas’ successor…

  • Kevin Maguire – Might the man with the inside track be after the job? Kevin’s coverage of Jezza has always been generous and he at least understands the Lobby. Work rate might be an issue. And he’d never take the pay cut.
  • Owen Jones – Reportedly tapped up for the job last year, Owen has offered his helpful thoughts on Labour’s media strategy over the last few months, though that has not endeared him to Twitter Corbynistas who now think he’s a Blairite MSM sellout. Owen tells Guido he does not want the job.
  • Paul Mason – The leather jacket-clad former BBC man is Jezza’s most vocal media cheerleader, he could step into Seumas’ shoes with his chat about neoliberalism around the water cooler in Norman Shaw South. Corbynistas tell Guido to expect to see more of Mason in the future. He has however publicly denied he’s interested.
  • James Schneider – Momentum’s spokesman is a true believer and gets on relatively well with journalists. He’s one of their more competent media performers though, and taking the job would mean he’s off the telly.
  • Sam Tarry – Ran Corbyn’s leadership campaign, key in Momentum and political officer for the TSSA union. One of the most important behind-the-scenes Corbynistas.
  • Alex Flynn – Len McCluskey’s right hand man, Flynn is the head of media at Unite. He wants to be an MP so a stint doing comms for Jez would put him in a strong position come 2020. Ambitious. 
  • Rachel Shabi – You’ll probably recognise Rachel from her regular TV appearances spinning for Corbyn as a journalist. Would be unlike Jez to appoint a woman though.
  • Ben Chacko – The editor of the Morning Star, the one paper you’ll see laid out on the desks in the leader’s office every morning. Might Ben and his luscious locks fancy the gig? Actual commie.
  • Aaron Bastani – One of the leaders of the Corbynista new media revolution, amateur bodybuilder and former Tory sympathiser Bastani runs Novara, a weird pro-Corbyn blog. Aaron did unfortunately once smash up a bank, so it’s doubtful he’d pass parliament’s security checks.
  • Liam Young – The New Statesman blogger who is your go to guy for student-level Jez fanboy copy. Only 16 years old.
  • Steve Topple – Surely it’s time for the Canary to make it official. Topple was the loony blogger who came up with the Portland conspiracy theory. He also shares Seumas’ views on Russia. He’d root out the Zionists in the Lobby.
  • Dr Eoin Clarke – Don’t be silly.

Who’s your money on?

Missing Milne Set to Quit?

The word going round the Mirror party at Circo Bar in the early hours was that Seumas Milne is to leave his role in Corbyn’s office imminently. Milne went missing for the key pre-leader’s speech briefing delivered to journalists yesterday afternoon, bizarrely sending out junior spinners to do the job instead. There was bewilderment both in the press room and among Corbyn supporters that Milne hadn’t taken responsibility for such an important briefing – trailing the speech in the press was probably his most important job this week and he didn’t show up. His imminent departure would explain the no-show…

UPDATE: Corbyn’s office are insisting that Milne is not going anywhere. A Labour source tells Guido: “The story about Seumas leaving on Friday is untrue.”

Ex-SpAd Spins for Murky Lagoon

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Tomos Davies, a SpAd who advised the government on green energy, is in hot water after getting a job with the Cardiff lobbying firm Deryn less than a year after he left his government job. Spin merchants Deryn, a firm which has a hand in far too many Welsh government lobbying scandals, employed the former Special Adviser from the Wales Office.

Until recently Tomos Davies was advising UK Government Ministers on policy issues, including the proposal to a build tidal lagoon off the coast at Swansea. Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Neil McEvoy has complained to the Cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, that he is in breach of the rules governing SpAd employment. Davies, he complains, jumped straight into lobbying work and failed to get Civil Service clearance to work for the firm.

McEvoy cites Davies’ ConservativeHome article praising tidal power as evidence of lobbying on behalf of one of Deryn’s clients in breach of the rules, especially as one of Deryn’s clients is trying to build a tidal lagoon off Swansea. In it Tomos claimed, without irony, that “the unit cost of power from the project can, at a manageably small scale, match that of Hinkley”. Hinkley’s energy costs are among the most expensive in the world. Guido thinks Tomos Davies might be left high and dry…

LEAK: Labour Moderates Infiltrated Momentum

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Labour Party moderates carried out an off-the-books investigation into the activities of Jeremy Corbyn supporters, infiltrating their meetings and private Facebook groups with the aim of leaking the findings to the press. Guido has obtained a 19 page document titled “An investigation into far-left infiltration of the Labour Party in Liverpool since September 2015”.[…] Read the rest

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May Orders Ministers to Link Every Policy to Meritocracy

Theresa May’s grammar schools speech was as much about defining her premiership as anything else. If eagle-eyed photographer Steve Back hadn’t snapped those secret government papers outlining the return of grammars, today’s speech would not have been made until conference. Senior Tories watching noted one key line:

“It will mean recalibrating how we approach policy development to ensure that everything we do as government helps to give a fair chance to those who are just getting by”

This is tanks-on-Labour’s-lawn rhetoric, but the PM is deadly serious about revamping how policy is formulated across Whitehall.[…] Read the rest

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Milne Likes Tweet Claiming “New World Order Created ISIS”

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Corbyn strategy chief Seumas Milne must have pressed the wrong button by accident, because he has “liked” a tweet claiming ISIS was created by the “New World Order”. It must surely be an innocent case of fat finger, Seumas can’t possibly believe that’s true.[…] Read the rest

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Theresa’s Copy and Paste Job

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Theresa May tells us that “obviously over the summer – over the last few weeks – quite a lot of work has been done”. Which is good to know. So does the new government have any further detail on their plan for Brexit or their legislative agenda?[…] Read the rest

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Smith Campaign Hires Another Big Pharma Lobbyist

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What is it about Owen Smith and Big Pharma lobbyists? Fresh from hiring Pfizer PR guru Jon Lehal as his chief of operations, Smith has taken on a former AstraZeneca lobbyist as his director of communications. Will Tanner was until recently the head of Finsbury PR’s UK public affairs team, where he proudly boasted of his work for top pharmaceutical companies.[…] Read the rest

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May Hires New Press SpAd

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Theresa May has hired Patrick McLoughlin’s spinner Tim Smith as her final Downing Street press SpAd. Another alumnus of the CCHQ press office, Smith has been a SpAd at Transport for the last year, taking a short sabbatical to fight the good fight during Zac’s battle against Sadiq.[…] Read the rest

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Tory Press Chief to Be Home Secretary’s SpAd

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Some more SpAd movements: Guido hears Tory Director of Communications Amy Fisher is returning to government as a Special Adviser to Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Fisher was Chris Grayling’s SpAd before heading up the press operation at CCHQ after the election.[…] Read the rest

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Press Gallery Chairman Craig Woodhouse New DCMS SpAd

A raft of new SpAd appointments is expected imminently and Guido understands the headline move will be Craig Woodhouse joining Karen Bradley at DCMS. It’s a smart hire for the new Culture Secretary to poach an industry insider – Woodhouse is a newspaper veteran, the respected chairman of the Press Gallery and chief political correspondent at The Sun.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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