May Day

No let up for Theresa May. Brodie Clark helpfully brought a big bucket and a hand-held fan to his appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee. He’s sticking doggedly to his line that he introduced “no additions to the Home Secretary’s trial. I did not enlarge, extend or redefine the scope in any way.” As it stands it is his word against the Home Secretary’s, which does not bode well for him. There’s no paper-trail smoking gun though, just he said/she said...

Labour know this, which is why they are broadening their attacks to include private jets and airports today. Theresa May didn’t make it to the House, because of “an important meeting of the National Security Council”, leaving Damian Green to take the flak. Such unfortunate timing eh?

David Didn't Get the Euro Memo

David Miliband doesn’t “know whether to weep or laugh” about the Eurocrisis. He’s taken to the pages of the FT to carefully place a hand grenade under yesterday’s attempts by Ed to rebalance Labour’s position on the EU, bringing it slightly closer to sceptic public opinion. Dougie Alexander got all “realistic” in his speech and the bloggers were dispatched to re-write history; with the most brazen attempt being LabourList’s “Did we even care about Europe ever really anyway?” And then it all started going wrong…

There was Lord Mandelson on Newsnight refusing to rule out ever joining, as well as refusing to apologise for declaring the Euro a wonderful sustainable success, just two years ago. And now in this morning’s FT Brother Miliband twists the knife. Apparently negotiating powers is  “deluded and dangerous” and the real key issue is the fact that “President van Rompuy is up for re-election in June.” Hardly in tune with the line his brother signed off yesterday for Wee Dougie:

“…any treaty change sought by Germany in response to the euro crisis as a legitimate occasion to look at the balance of powers between Europe and nation states.”

It turns out the most prominent figures in Labour do still care about Europe. Deeply…

Damian's New "Absolutely Totally Brilliant" Blogging Tips

With Draper back in the fold, the old faces are coming out of the woodwork. Obviously spinning for Catholic aid charity Cafod and running the Saturday football match for his old school boys club isn’t enough for our old mucker Damian McBride. Like a bad smell, he’s back and lingering on Twitter and already discussing an issue dear to his heart – engagement with bloggers:

Why not just send them an email of concocted smears and lies instead?

Red Ed is Back, Chuka Under Attack, Occupiers Smoking Crack

Red Ed has made an overture to the protesters at St Paul’s, four weeks late to the prom. Some of his advisers still rooted in the reality based community have been struggling to stop Ed leaping over this latest electoral cliff, but they seem to have lost the battle. One said last week“Not since his brother David was snapped holding a banana has a dafter Miliband photo opportunity been suggested.” It’s not very hard to see why they would be concerned: multi-millionaire Ed, who maintained his family’s wealth through some colourful inheritance arrangements, despite being on an income of £139,355 plus expenses, is in 1% denial. Meanwhile occupiers have been arrested for dealing crack and St Paul’s are outraged at a “dirty protest” defecation on their steps. Just have a look at Red Ed’s new friends:

Also jumping on the bandwagon is the privately educated son of a wealthy businessman Chuka Umunna, who will be speaking for the opposition today in response to a report published by the dwindling campers. The darling of the new Labour left will be facing some tough questions if he actually goes down to the site. Tax avoidance is the number one issue to this “movement” and Umunna’s Teflon image took a pounding this weekend. He made a name for himself  in February with a punchy attack on Barclay’s Bob Diamond at the Treasury Select Committee on the subject of tax havens, forcing the banking baddie to admit that he didn’t actually know how many offshore subsidiaries his organisation had. However, in that 1% kinda way, Chuka has his own offshore dealings to thank for those sharp suits:

“A Labour frontbencher who has led the attacks on ‘tax avoiders’ in the City is at the centre of controversy after it was revealed his £1 million family home was funded from a tax haven. Land Registry documents reveal the house’s complicated ownership structure. Its purchase was funded by Vona Limited, a company registered in Jersey, and in turn owned by companies run by the RBC Trust Company. RBC, also based on the Channel Island, boasts it is one of the ‘top ten’ largest wealth managers in the world, offering services to ‘high net worth clients’ including ‘planning for and mitigating income, capital gains or inheritance taxes’.  A tax expert said: ‘These trusts can cost thousands to run. I can’t think of any reason to do that other than to reduce a tax bill.’”

One thing Chuka won’t be repeating when he leads the charge for Labour today is an off-the-cuff quote he once gave the Standard: “I’m middle class. My struggle, in some senses, is: what struggle?” Quite…

UPDATE: Does Ed agree with his new friends that poppy sellers are “baby killers”?

Osborne Backtracks

With the Greek government splitting on the referendum promise last night, today’s G20 summit is going to be even messier with the prospect of a snap Greek election now not out of the question. Papandreou says the referendum is about how the bailout, and the conditions that come with it, could be fed to the Greeks.

What is clear is the European political elite wants more bailout cash…

Two weeks ago Osborne told the Commons:

“Britain chose not to join the euro and the British Prime Minister has fought hard to get Britain out of the bail-out fund to which the previous Government signed us up. I want to make it clear that whatever the Commission President says, British taxpayers will not be contributing to the eurozone’s bail-out of Greece—full stop.”

Yet overnight we learn that Britain is gearing up to give more money to the IMF in a futile effort to try to keep Greece in the Euro. Surely this is a change of tune from just last week when Osborne said:

“Britain will not be putting money into the bail out fund either directly or through the IMF… the IMF exists to support countries, it does not exist to support currencies. The IMF contributing money to the eurozone bail out fund, no; Britain contributing money to the eurozone bail out fund, no. That is Britain’s clear position.”

We’ll be sure to believe you next time you make Britain’s position clear, George.

Heated Confusion

After their tent village was exposed as a sham yesterday, it seems the Occupy London protestors, and especially their designated spin-doctors, are getting a little bit grumpy. Guido hears that a Bryn phoned up the UKIP press office to make a complaint about Nigel Farage’s comments in yesterday’s Express about the threat to Remembrance Sunday. Guido didn’t have them down as Express readers, but maybe they picked up a copy in Starbucks. The gist of their strange complaint was that Farage was making “political capital” out of the protest. It’s not about politics, apparently…

CCHQ Spinners Verdict: Dave Loses Media War

The CCHQ press office email press clippings and media snippets to MPs some four of five times a day. They don’t normally make for much of read, but their surprisingly candid verdict on today’s proceedings has brought a smile one chunk of the Tory benches:

Lead Story: David Cameron suffers biggest Conservative rebellion over Europe

Clips: PM, Nick Clegg MP, Adam Holloway MP (debate footage), Tim Montgomerie (Conservative Home)

Commentary: The PM says there is no bad blood or bitterness over Conservative Commons rebellion over Europe. Back bench motion prompted after petition signed by 100,000. In total 81 Conservative MPs defied three line whip voted for referendum. Mr Cameron said opposing vote right thing for the country.

The full briefing then quotes various pundits and hacks before concluding:

Verdict: PM loss

That would explain the “no bad blood, no rancour, no bitterness” bridge building then…

Clegg Lends Dave a Hand In His Hour of Need

When asked after his speech this morning about yesterday’s promised repatriation of powers from Brussels, the Deputy Prime Minister stuck his oar in:

We should stop tilting at windmills about threats and challenges which simply aren’t there right now… You don’t change Europe by launching some smash-and-grab dawn raid on Brussels…”

If Clegg promises something won’t happen, that means it will, right?

An Oakeshott Across the Bow

When he resigned from the government in February, Lord Oakeshott, best friend of Vince Cable and one time campaign manager to Chris Huhne, lashed out at his coalition partners for their “arrogance”. Today he has accused the Tory rebels “wrecking the coalition agreement”:

How is voting on a matter of principle as “arrogant” as walking out of a job in government on the instruction of Huhne and Vince Cable in order to try, unsuccessfully, to score points against Osborne?[…] Read the rest

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Ask Pred-Ed About the Lobbyist Roland Rudd Right Now

Last week Ed promised to release a list of business clients he met at a dinner at the home of super-spinner Roland Rudd. So far he has not coughed the information. Lets ask him what he’s hiding…

Ed’s Twitter humiliation is becoming a near monthly occurrence.[…] Read the rest

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Clegg's Other Lobbyist

With the LibDems trying to have their “told-you-so-moment” over a register of lobbyists, Guido drew your attention yesterday to the controversial spinmeister Clegg has brought into the heart of his operation – Olly Grender. Overnight many a co-conspirator also pointed out that Clegg’s Chief of Staff Jonny Oates is another flesh presser…

Starting at Westminster Strategy in the nineties, Oates worked his way up to become a director at Bell Pottinger in 2004.[…] Read the rest

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Controversial Lobbyist at the Heart of Downing Street

In those heady days of spring 2010 Nick Clegg told the ITV leadership debate that he wanted “something I’ve supported all my adult political life, which is a complete clean-up from top to toe of politics.” This included an end to murky lobbying and he subsequently convinced the Conservative coalition negotiators of the need for a compulsory register of lobbyists.[…] Read the rest

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Miliband Voted Against Lobbyist Register in 2006

Ever the opportunist, Ed constantly tries to be the first out of the blocks in a crisis, so that he can harp on that the Prime Minister is following his example. It’s a useful tactic to mask the real weaknesses of his day-to-day leadership.[…] Read the rest

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Pred-Ed: Miliband's Shady Dinner with Lobbyists and Predators

Given that this is the week that shady chats and hand shakes in private rooms will be coming under extra scrutiny, Guido thought he would give Ed a gentle reminder of his promise to publish a list of attendees at a suspiciously “private and off the record” dinner held for him at the home of lobbyist-spinmeister Roland Rudd last week:

Ed has turned to the corporate lobbyist to boost his severely dented, if ever existent, reputation in the business world.[…] Read the rest

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Rumour Mill Says Fox Might Go Tonight

And so the “Dear David/Dear Liam” rumour mill begins. Paul Waugh tweets that he is picking up chatter that Fox will walk tonight. It would make sense and take the sting out the inevitable savaging by the Sundays, but then it would also be out of character.[…] Read the rest

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Ed Meets Predators for Dinner

image
Guido just asked Ed Miliband at his Labour HQ press conference (with Ed Balls) if the lobbyist Roland Rudd is a producer or a predator? He waffled on about meeting business people all the time but didn’t answer the question. He did promise to reveal who he met at last night’s dinner held off-the-record at the lobbyist’s home.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Michael Gove to the Commons on Trident:

“The unilateralists opposite complaining today are in the position of eunuchs complaining about the cost of Viagra.”

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