Torbynista Greening Loses Fight For New Money

Top Torbynista Justine Greening has come to the Commons to announce that she lost her fight with the Treasury for new money for her department. The Education Secretary dressed up her “extra £1.3 billion for schools” as a new spending commitment, leading the Lobby up the garden path:

The answer? There is no new money, no magic money tree, she has not “won the battle with Hammond“. The cash is coming out of the existing Education budget, which means cuts elsewhere in the department. Remember Greening wanted new cash. Treasury win.

Greening spins it up as more cash, the Lobby falls for it, Greening admits there is no new money, the herd follows. Wonder who could possibly have a motive to brief against Hammond…

Nuttall: Barricades Himself In, Won’t Say If He’s Standing

Paul Nuttall has done a Ken Livingstone – barricading himself inside a room in the Marriott County Hall to hide from the Lobby’s questions about whether he will stand in the election. There is no escape:

Here is Nuttall setting in for the long haul. This picture from inside the room:

Who will break first: the UKIP leader or Her Majesty’s press corps? And why won’t Nuttall say if he’s standing on June 8?

UPDATE: Nuttall escapes into a taxi:

He still won’t say if he’s standing…

Pics via the Lobby.

Daily Mail Political Editor Runners and Riders

James Slack’s appointment as the PM’s official spokesman has set off the Lobby merry-go-round. Political editor jobs are going at both the Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Our Telegraph likely names are here. As for the Mail, as ever MediaGuido gives you your runners and riders…

  • Jason Groves, Daily Mail: The unflappable deputy pol ed has to be an early favourite. Tipped for the Telegraph job as well, though they will have to throw money at him to steal him from Dacre. Some in the Lobby enviously believe Groves has the choice of the two jobs.
  • Jack Doyle, Daily Mail: The paper’s Senior Political Correspondent is hotly tipped. Also writing leaders, which shows how well-regarded he is. Well liked by Dacre, is he being groomed for the job?
  • Dan Martin, Daily Mail: Currently Chief Political Correspondent, Martin is a seasoned pro who knows Westminster inside and out. The paper would struggle without him.
  • Katherine Faulkner, Daily Mail: Regularly gets political scoops. Not of the Lobby, which is a bonus if they want to drive the agenda from Kensington. Surely time a woman was Daily Mail political editor…
  • Ian Drury, Daily Mail: Took over the home affairs brief when Slack moved to Westminster. Been at the Mail over a decade. Will know the Number 10 team well from May’s time at the Home Office. That helped Slack get the job last time round. 

In the unlikely event that Dacre was to consider an immigrant from another newspaper:

  • Steve Swinford, Telegraph: Guido cannot recall Dacre ever hiring outside of Derry Street. If he does Swinford is an option. With Groves he is one of the favourites for the Telegraph pol ed job. If Groves goes to the Tel, Swinford could jump to the Mail. Paper swap?
  • Matt Chorley, Times Red Box: Formerly the political editor of MailOnline, he was tapped up for doing a joint online/paper job last time round. Would be a return to the mothership. Could finally move on from those early starts at his Little Read Box, could he speak for England?
  • Michael Gove, The Times: Rising star of the Lobby. Good young scoop-getter. Has caught the eye of rivals. But does he have a good enough relationship with Downing Street?

Who will speak for England?

“Anarchy” as Parliament Shuts Lobby Hacks’ Cafeteria

The controversy surrounding the ongoing building work in parliament has reached fever pitch after authorities closed the cafeteria used by hungry Lobby hacks. Construction work at the whips office has led to a decision to relocate some staff to Moncrieff’s cafeteria, the room where the Lobby hosts its famous ministerial lunches. The move means whips office staff, the keepers of MPs’ deepest and darkest secrets, will now work in the press gallery a stone’s throw from the nation’s political journalists. “Anarchy” says one seasoned Lobby luncher. What could go wrong?

Sunday Times Deputy Political Editor Runners and Riders

The Sunday Times deputy political editor job is one of the toughest in political journalism, requiring scoops that hold and set the agenda every weekend. The paper will be looking at candidates who fall into more than one of the following three categories; journalists who are good on Labour – Tim Shipman has top Tory contacts and wrote the book on Brexit so he may want someone who can look after the Corbyn beat, as James Lyons did previously. Journalists who have Sunday experience – Guido can tell you that writing for the Sundays is hard and requires a different skill set, so those who have already done so in their careers are at an advantage. Journalists who break awkward stories  – surely the most important category, the Sunday Times gig requires a candidate with a track-record at breaking news the powers that be wanted out of the public domain. Half the Lobby will fancy themselves, as ever MediaGuido gives you your runners and riders…

John Stevens, Daily Mail: Since coming back from Brussels he has made an impact with Westminster scoops, the Twitterati particularly enjoyed his recent hit on aid. EU knowledge obviously valuable in the next few years. 

Jim Pickard, Financial Times: Well-connected across Labour, from the leader’s office to the unions and moderates. Comfy on the Remainiac patch at the FT, where he’s been for yonks. Time to join a Brexit-backing paper?

Kevin Schofield, PoliticsHome: Hates being described as a “Blairite hack”, however he has excellent Labour sources and enjoys kicking Corbynistas. Ex-Sun, would he relish making more high-profile splashes?

Harry Cole, The Sun: Earned his print credentials at Britain’s raciest red top, the Daily Star Sunday. Not just a tabloid muckraker, as proved by four years at the Spectator. Number 10 would be thrilled.

Ben Riley-Smith, The Telegraph: A rise up the Telegraph hierarchy akin to being on the Western Front, joining as a private and quickly becoming a general. Writes the Sunday paper now everyone else has left.

Ben Glaze, Daily MirrorObviously well in with Labour and the path has been trodden before. Might he follow in the tiny footsteps of a previous Mirror deputy pol ed? 

Rowena Mason, The GuardianNowhere to go at the Guardian now there’s the successful pol ed sisterhood jobshare. Not your usual Guardianista, though would she take the Murdoch shilling?

Steve Hawkes, The Sun: Strong trade union contacts, has broadsheet experience. Could expect plenty of business-themed Brexit scoops. An inter-News UK sideways move is possible…

Tom MacTague, Politico: Is beginning to make Politico a worthwhile read, his in-depth analysis would not be out of place in the Sunday Times. Has Sunday experience at the IoS when it existed. Though after that would he ditch digital for the dead tree press?

Caroline Wheeler, Sunday Express: Strong scoop -getter and considerable experience in the Sunday Lobby. Move would bring more influence…

Lucy Fisher, Times: Good on Corbynista Kremlinology and has had some revealing Momentum scoopettes. Has worked at the Sunday Times before…

Kate McCann, Telegraph: Another fast riser up the Lobby ranks. A web of contacts helped her break the arachnid-based story of the year.

Matt Chorley, Times Red Box: Another former IoS man. Would do everyone a favour limiting those fun emails to once a week. Change would have a serious impact on sleeping patterns.

Matt Holehouse, MLex: Brexit wonk who has Brussels experience and a better grasp of the minutiae than most. Would he want to give up the reasonable and well paid hours at newswire platform MLex? 

Camilla Tominey, Sunday Express: Quietly broken some big scoops that no one saw because they were at the Sunday ExpressOutside chance, deserves a bigger platform…

Good luck to the many Lobby hacks throwing their hat in…

Seumas Changed Jezza’s Autocue

60k-12k

In the briefing to the Lobby huddle – which is still ongoing – Seumas corrected a figure in the briefed out printed copy of Jezza’s speech from 60,000 new council homes to 12,000. With a smile Seumas told the Lobby hacks that Corbyn had delivered the correct figure because “it was changed on the autocue”…

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. He is well-liked by MPs of all parties which will help in a notoriously adversarial brief. The long-suffering Sheffield Wednesday fan might even be able to pick up a freebie or two along the way. The Lobby loses yet another leading name to SpAd-dom…

See Guido’s SpAd List in full here.

Cameron’s Big Speech Bombs

For the second time, Downing Street have summoned the press for a supposedly “significant” statement that has bombed:

Is that it? The “significant statement” is that Dave backs Remain?

Rain on Dave’s Parade

The PM brought back up to his summer bash for Peroni-guzzling Lobby hacks last night, but it was the weather that rained on his parade – literally. As damp Tory leadership contenders worked the thinning lawn of the Downing Street rose garden, a relaxed Dave stood side by side with Theresa May doling out titbits to a ‘doughnut’ of senior correspondents, while Saj put in a good innings. By pure coincidence, Osborne was hosting a rival party upstairs and his guests soon milled out to join the PM’s. The high turnout of ministers included Matt Hancock and Nicky Morgan, Fallon was presumably busy blowing up Syrians. Boris was conspicuous by his absence…

By contrast to the Chancellor’s austere offering of pretzels and Skips last week, the PM generously put on a decent spread of sausages, vol-au-vents and lovely little fried feta cheese pastry nibbles. Asked by mischievous visitors how much holiday he would be taking this summer, Dave zinged back: “I’ll take the same amount of time off as the Lobby”. After an hour or so’s mingling, the PM was hurriedly called back into No.10 just as the heavens threatened to open…

Dave’s Balls Up in Bavaria

Tory unity has lasted exactly one month, as has Dave The Winner’s honeymoon with the press. Needless to say his EU-turn today and then an arrogant schooling G7 news conference has gone down like a cup of cold sick with the travelling press pack.

The PM’s suggestion that “if you’re not certain about something I said yesterday, then ask”, has gone down particularly badly:

If Cameron 2.0 is so keen on journalists asking questions, perhaps he might like to reinstate those monthly press conferences that he dodged for the last five years?

What is Wrong With the Lobby?

WATCH: Cameron’s ‘Bill Somebody’ PMQs Gag

Cameron delivered his best gag for ages at PMQs today:

“The day after his Shadow Chancellor was asked on the television could he think of one single business leader, do you know what he said, he said ‘Bill somebody’. Mr Speaker, ‘Bill somebody’ is not a person, ‘Bill somebody’ is Labour’s policy!”

Only six more to go…

House Turns on Speaker: Live Reaction

Looks like a turning point…

Tired, Exhausted, Nothing to Say, Time for Them to Go…

lobby-guide

The Parliamentary Lobby yesterday had the usual afternoon briefing scheduled with the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS). This is where the gentlemen of the Lobby are spoonfed some copy to take down or, as they see it, perform a vital service to democracy by holding the executive to account. The finest of the free press toiling for democracy and truth!

The Lobby is a self-selecting privileged cartel given access to briefings denied to the rest of the media, with their own secret rules to protect members and exclude competitors. The justifications are varied, sometimes they argue that they want to reserve the cartel for professional inquisitors not politically motivated bloggers with an agenda. That must be why the Morning Star and the unprinted Tribune newspaper are Lobby members.

Yesterday at the Lobby briefing not one single question was asked of the executive and a bemused PMOS wandered back to Downing Street untroubled. A proud day for the Lobby and British journalism. Nothing to see here…

UPDATE: A senior Lobby correspondent writes, presumably on non-attributable Lobby terms:

The lobby is almost always a useless waste of time. It is a chore not a secret pleasure. Leaving was a statement about the pointlessness of a Number 10 press operation that refuses to say anything rather than about the corruption of the lobby.

Robinson's Lobby Colleagues Fed Up With Him Lifting Stories

Nick Robinson was the focus of ridicule among his Lobby colleagues last night after he yet again lifted a newspaper journalist’s story and claimed it as his own. “BREAKING”, he tweeted, the three major parties would reject a currency union with an independent Scotland, “the BBC has learned”. Just one problem, Nick Watt at the Guardian had broken the story some 21 hours earlier. 

Several Lobby journalists have since been in touch with MediaGuido to express their increasing frustration at Robinson claiming stories broken elsewhere as his own, attributing them instead to “BBC sources”. It is a running joke that BBC news broadcasts consistently refuse to credit other news organisations – putting up  ‘Breaking News – the BBC has learned’ graphics half an hour after it was on Sky – but Robinson telling readers that this story was his own has crossed the line. One hack notes his regular surprise to see lines from government or opposition press releases (emailed out to every Westminster journalist at the same time) reported as “a Tory/Labour source tells me” on the News at Ten. The fact he is “never around” is hardly helping his popularity either. BBC head of news James Harding is cracking the whip demanding exclusives from his political team, Robbo seems to be feeling the pressure.

When MediaGuido spoke to Nick Watt last night, he wanted to stress that “I hold Nick in the highest regard” and suggested we take a look at the high volume of critical tweets from Lobby journalists to gauge how other hacks feel. Despite Robinson confessing to reading the Guardian story first, last night’s News at Ten again fibbed “our political editor Nick Robinson broke the story”Tut tut…

 

Loongate: Where We Are

SWIVEL-EYED-GREG-BARKER

Last night the story broke that a senior Tory close to Cameron said of the EU Referendum and gay marriage backbench rebellions “It’s fine. There’s really no problem. The MPs just have to do it because the associations tell them to, and the associations are all mad, swivel-eyed loons.” It was reported by The Times and The Telegraph on their front pages in similar terms and also by the Mirror and Mail.

Sam Coates, James Kirkup, James Lyons and Tim Shipman are experienced journalists and will have known the likely repercussions of reporting an off the record / Lobby terms comment even without attribution. They set speculation running by describing the source of the comments as having “strong social connections” to the PM and as a “senior party” figure. For the record Guido has not spoken to any of the journalists concerned.

This morning Guido emailed Lord Feldman

Feldman has publicly denied being the source of the quote

feldman“There is speculation on the internet and on Twitter that the senior Conservative Party figure claimed to have made derogatory comments by the Times and the Telegraph is me.

“This is completely untrue. I would like to make it quite clear that I did not nor have ever described our associations in this way or in any similar manner. Nor do these alleged comments represent my view of our activists. On the contrary in the last eight years of working for the party, I have found them to be hard working, committed and reasonable people. They are without question the backbone of the party. I am very disappointed by the behaviour of the journalists involved, who have allowed rumour and innuendo to take hold by not putting these allegations to me before publication. I am taking legal advice.”

Not sure why Lord Feldman thinks the journalists concerned should have put the allegations to him when they didn’t name him and in any event he says he didn’t say the words concerned.

The journalists concerned are abiding by the conventions of the Lobby and not confirming the source whilst standing by the story. Downing Street “supports Lord Feldman’s position” and denies that anyone in Downing Street was the source of the quote. Which of course is an allegation no one has made.

Guido has not received any legal notices…

Farage Confirms Hancock By-Election Plan

A month ago in his Sun column Guido revealed that UKIP are already up and running on the ground in Portsmouth South in anticipation that self-confessed teen fondler Mike Hancock will be forced out, triggering a by-election. Today Farage has confirmed he is predicting a by-election this summer, telling a press gallery lunch that he thinks UKIP will win. Dave will note the several Tory MPs quaffing Merlot with the hack pack as Farage confessed he had been a frequenter of lap-dancing establishments, laid into Leveson and endorsed Gove for PM. He knows his audience

Official: Lobby System is Dangerous and Grubby

As many of you will know, we received unexpected visit from the Commons Chief Fire Safety Officer yesterday morning.

I think it’s fair to say that he was not at all happy with what he saw in some of our offices, i.e. the large amounts of paper lying around.  He stressed to me the need for immediate action.

I know that a clear desk policy is simply not something we do, but we do need to be seen to be taking action.  Therefore this is a plea to everyone to take a dispassionate look at your office generally and your desk in particular.  Do you really need ALL the newspapers/magazines/piles of paper which are lying around?  If not, please, please throw some of it away as soon as possible.  If you really can’t bear to part with any of it could you at least tidy up – a neat pile looks a lot less than a haphazard heap that appears to be about to fall over!

The Fire Officer will be back for a further inspection SOON, possibly as soon as FRIDAY THIS WEEK, and certainly next week.

Look at it this way, the paper attracts the mice (who use it for nesting material so the pest control officer tells me) – so less paper means fewer mice, which can’t be bad!

Regards,

Elizabeth Johnson

Administrator

Parliamentary Press Gallery

They are officially a hazard. Guido could have told you that already…

Joe Watts to the Standard

Joe Watts, regional lobby hack for the Eastern Daily Press, has got the call up the Evening Standard’s politics team. Swapping Norfolk for the crack of dawn.

Regular readers may remember Joe’s online incarnation LobbyDogCongratulations.

Hack Pack Can't Get Back Lobby "Banging On About Europe" as Stuck in Belgium

Well this is hilarious. It seems half of Her Majesty’s loyal press corp are stuck in Brussels as they attempt to get back from Dave’s cancelled Amsterdam speech through the Europe-wide snow storm:

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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