Tom Baldwin, the former Ed Miliband spinner notorious for his toxic press briefings, is set to take a role with the Remaoner People’s Vote campaign, Guido hears. Baldwin is in talks to join the campaign for a second referendum based in Millbank Tower. Let’s hope Tom has calmed down from the days when he compared a tax row to the death of Milly Dowler, made a sick jibe about cancer to a journalist, used the term ‘weaponise’ about the NHS and blamed Cameron for deaths in the Med. The Lobby will be just delighted to hear from him again.
Seumas Milne has refused to conduct Labour’s post-PMQs Lobby huddles for the last month after getting into a strop about being named – in breach of Lobby convention – by the Press Association and Guido, among others. Today he ended his sulk and gave the briefing, after instructing journalists they must refer to him only as “a Labour spokesman” and not by name. The anonymity traditionally afforded by the Lobby to spokesmen is a means of avoiding accountability – if spinners are safe from ever being named what incentive do they have to be honest? They can lie with impunity. In Seumas’ case, his views on Russia and Syria and his reputation among Labour MPs meant he became the story himself. Ordering journalists to never refer to him by his name is a curious look. Who does he think he is, Voldemort?
Alastair Campbell’s claim on Newsnight that he never lied to the media brought loud guffaws from many journalists. A co-conspirator sent this from Adam Boulton’s “Tony’s Ten Years: Memories of the Blair Administration“. In it Campbell is reported apologising to Boulton for lying to him. Campbell lied to Evan Davies on live television about never lying to the media…
Oh dear. This morning the LibDems press released that eight EU prime ministers had agreed to back Vince Cable’s call for a second referendum:
— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) March 22, 2018
Except they hadn’t:
Pertaining to the LibDem press release issued today on Brexit: at the ALDE leaders meeting of 22 March no statement has been agreed upon or released.
— ALDE Party (@ALDEParty) March 22, 2018
The LibDems need some new hires quick.
In the Channel 4 News sting Cambridge Analytica’s Alexander Nix claimed to have worked for the Malaysians. The Malaysians say he is bullshitting. Guido knows who actually works for the Malaysians…
Lobby hacks often move over to the dark side of spin, but travelling the other way is generally a bit of a no-no – especially if it’s a paid-up party hand heading to the BBC. Katy Dillon was Labour’s head of broadcast for three years until October and worked for the party since 2010. Guido hears she is now working on the BBC newsdesk at their Millbank politics base. It’s not like Katy is recusing herself from reporting on Labour – she has bylines on pieces about Jeremy Corbyn and has been sending out copy about internal Labour politics. Fair to say this is causing concern among her new colleagues. It may be that the Leader’s Office has more to worry about though – Dillon is certainly not a Corbynista…