Rishi’s Popularity Drops to Another Record Low After Conference, Labour 23 Points Ahead

Any hope of a conference bounce in the polls have been quickly snuffed out over in Downing Street. New YouGov data in The Times shows just 20% of voters think Rishi would make the best PM, a five point drop from last week. Last week already had Labour 21 points ahead; that’s now up to 23 points. Another poll from Techne has Labour ahead by 20 points. Rishi isn’t shifting the dial…

If he’s looking for good news, he can at least take comfort in Starmer’s personal rating also falling by two points, down to 32%. The polling was conducted after Labour conference, so Sir Keir hasn’t seen a big upturn either – although 28% of voters think he has a “clear plan” for the country, up six points since conference. Rishi scored 19%. So much for long-term decisions for a brighter future… 

mdi-timer 13 October 2023 @ 10:06 13 Oct 2023 @ 10:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Clear Public Interest in Naming Spy Suspect Chris Cash

A Times source tells Guido that they are surprised that the rest of the media is not naming Chris Cash as the person arrested on suspicion of spying for the Chinese. They believe there is a strong public interest case for naming the person who had access to parliamentarians, civil servants and think-tankers active on China issues.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader sanctioned by China, nailed it: “It’s a remarkably dangerous situation. This is a guy who allegedly spies on behalf of the Chinese government in the place where decisions are made and sensitive information is transferred. It is vitally important that he is named because many people who came into contact with this individual will be unaware that he has been arrested on suspicion of espionage. There is a clear public interest.”

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Alicia Kearns’ ally told The Times defensively “Preposterous suggestions that Alicia should have breached all police and intelligence requests not to discuss this case could only come from individuals with zero understanding of legal investigations or intelligence work.” Spooks like to do things secretly.

Cash issued a statement via the law firm Birnberg Peirce; “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party.  To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.” Even if he isn’t charged or is found innocent, there is still a public interest in open justice. People getting arrested in secret, unreported by the press, is a hallmark of police states.

Guido didn’t name Chris Cash last night because we assumed there must be a good reason papers were holding back. In retrospect we made a mistake.

mdi-timer 11 September 2023 @ 17:33 11 Sep 2023 @ 17:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Quentin Letts Returning to Daily Mail as Parliamentary Sketch Writer

After nearly five years at The Times, Quentin Letts is returning to the Daily Mail as its Parliamentary sketch writer when recess ends next month. The Mail is Letts’ spiritual home – he revived the paper’s sketches on the instruction of Paul Dacre and wrote there for years before departing in 2018. As for why he left the Times, Guido hears it was something of a financial decision…

Guido asked where this leaves incumbent Mail sketch writer Henry Deedes. He says “I already do bits and bobs around the office – writing leaders and features which for the time being is keeping me busy in quite month of August”. 5 years is long enough in Westminster for Deedes…

mdi-timer 17 August 2023 @ 18:28 17 Aug 2023 @ 18:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Aubrey Allegretti Leaves Guardian to Become Chief Political Correspondent at The Times

Aubrey Allegretti has this morning announced he will be leaving the Guardian to join The Times. It looks like an upward move for Allegretti, who will become the paper of record’s Chief Political Correspondent. Allegretti will be joining in Autumn after having built up his contacts as the Guardian’s Senior Political Correspondent. You might be forgiven for thinking the Times is preparing for a Labour government…

mdi-timer 8 August 2023 @ 10:11 8 Aug 2023 @ 10:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Henry Zeffman Joining BBC as Chief Political Correspondent

Scoop-getter Henry Zeffman has announced he’s leaving The Times to join the BBC as the broadcaster’s new Chief Political Correspondent later this summer. Zeffman has spent 7 years working at the newspaper of record, most recently as their Associate Political Editor and as Washington Correspondent before that. Congratulations Henry…

mdi-timer 8 June 2023 @ 10:12 8 Jun 2023 @ 10:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Bumbling Benton Loses Whip After Cash for Questions Sting

Scott Benton, elected as the Conservative MP for Blackpool South, last night had the Conservative whip removed following a Times sting. The MP, who also chairs the APPG on betting and gambling, was filmed offering to lobby ministers on behalf of investors – he even pledged to leak a copy of the gambling harms white paper 48 hours in advance. If Benton had acted on his words, it would be a breach of paid advocacy rules.

Scott had the whip suspended last night – after he referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Benton also laid out his defence to the Times:

“I was concerned that what was being asked of me was not within parliamentary rules… [I] contacted the Commons Registrar and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who clarified these rules for me and had no further contact with the company … I did this before being made aware that the company did not exist.”

All eyes on the standards commissioner.

According to polling aggregator, UK Polling Report, Blackpool South is set to turn red in any event at the next election – no doubt accounting for why Benton was so quick to get on the ‘displaced list’ of Conservative MPs affected by boundary changes, to be parachuted into new seats. Guido doubts having the whip removed will enhance his prospects…

mdi-timer 6 April 2023 @ 10:26 6 Apr 2023 @ 10:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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