Tim Montgomerie Quits Tories

“after 28 years of membership, I’m resigning. I’m not joining another party but don’t want to give another penny to the Cameron project”

Europe the final straw:

“And nothing registers more strongly on the social injustice front than recommending staying in the EU. It remains the greatest source of social misery on the continent — requiring intense austerity in countries such as Greece and causing terrible youth unemployment across southern Europe from which millions will suffer lifelong scars. I’m just glad that Mrs Thatcher cannot see what her party has become.”

Read his full devastating critique of Cameron and Osborne here

Tom Bradby Sex Appeal Figures Sexed Up

“Tom Bradby is so hot he got 500,000 new viewers,” claims a headline in the Times today. It follows on from yesterday’s puff piece reporting ITV News at Ten “has put on half a million viewers since Tom Bradby began presenting”. The generous write-up claimed:

“Average viewing figures for the ITV bulletin over the past three weeks have risen to two million — up by half a million on September averages.”

Has Bradby’s sex appeal really made such a remarkable difference?

Industry insiders tell Media Guido that, actually, the ITV News at Ten numbers are flat. In the three weeks since Bradby took over, reliable sources say ITV News at Ten has scored above two million on just three nights. The ratings have reached c1.9 million on zero nights, c.1.8 million on one night, c.1,7 million on six nights, c1.6 million on 2 nights and c1.5 million on 2 nights. The “half a million” headline figure is as sexed up as their new choice of host…

UPDATE: The BBC hit back as the 10pm flame war intensifies:

UPDATE II: Here are the ITV figures in full since Bradby took over. Last night’s numbers take the average just above 2 million:

Great Corrections and Clarifications of Our Time

Guido is not one to pontificate, but…

Forgive them, Father…

Headline of the Day

In the Times:

See what they did there…

Via @holbornlolz

Beth Rigby Swaps FT for the Times

MediaGuido understands the FT’s deputy political editor Beth Rigby is joining the Times as their media editor.

Can also reveal the Sun’s Kate McCann is joining the Telegraph as their Senior Political Correspondent.

On a busy day of media moves:

  • Ann Treneman quits as Times sketchwriter to be chief theatre critic
  • Patrick Kidd replaces her
  • Jane Merrick leaving Sindy pol ed

Summer transfer window well and truly open…

UPDATE: And Buzzfeed continue their hiring policy of giving a job to every tedious lefty from Twitter, taking on the Guardian’s James Ball.

Times Savages Miliband, Endorses Tory-Lib Coalition

“Mr Miliband has failed to hide his fatal indifference to the essential business of creating wealth. He has fought this campaign on initiatives that resonate with those hit hardest by slow earnings growth. In the process he has shamelessly misled voters about Tory plans for the NHS, which do not include privatisation…

Mr Miliband says he will cut the deficit but has not said how or by how much. This is an empty promise betrayed by spending pledges that cannot be funded with the money raised from new taxes on “mansions” and bank bonuses. The Labour leader claims he will find extra funds by ending tax avoidance and tax relief on pensions for the rich. The reality would be £90 billion more borrowing over the next parliament and an unsustainable debt burden to be shouldered by his successors.

Mr Miliband’s instinct is to see the state as an employer, benefactor and political constituency. His overtures to business do not convince because he champions an expanding public sector at the expense of the private one, yet Labour on his watch has lost credibility as the party of social justice too. Rent controls would only reduce the supply and quality of low-cost housing. Increasing debts hurt the poor first, as interest payments divert funds from public services…

Mr Cameron would govern better with a clear Tory majority but the polls now indicate that is a remote possibility. The choice seems to come down to a Labour party propped up by Scottish Nationalists or the Conservatives in a renewed coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The former would tear at the heart of the Union and unpick hard-won gains since the recession. The latter would advance the cause of enterprise and freedom in which The Times believes.”

Read their endorsement in full here.

First Times Profit for 13 Years

2009: -£70 million

2013: -£6 million

2014: £1.7 million

First time they have been in the black since 2001. News UK say their “paid for” strategy is “working well and is helping to secure a sustainable future”…

Media Movements: James Lyons to Sunday Times

Congratulations to the Mirror’s James Lyons, who has landed the Deputy Political Editor gig at the Sunday Times. Lyons is hardly short of a few bob having married into the multi-millionairess Margaret Hodge’s family dynasty. Still, nice little earner…

Establishment Panic Over Scottish Freedom

Just two weeks ’til the referendum on Scottish freedom and finally Westminster’s chattering classes are waking up to the bookies halving the odds on a ‘Yes’ victory. The Times’ Red Box has gone into panic mode this week, with Scottish political editor Lindsay McIntosh yesterday warning against bubble complacency:

“The first is seen by many in the political bubble. In it, the Nationalists are losing the practical arguments about the economy, so are on course to lose the vote badly. The other, seen by some outside, shows “yes” quietly stealing victory… Unionists need to brush up on their messaging if they are not to be responsible for a dramatic redrawing of the UK after September 18.”

Alice Thomson this morning goes further, imploring: “Wake up unionists, you could really lose this”:

“If Scotland votes Yes, all hell will break loose – and the unionists’ complacency will be to blame. It’s time for Westminster to focus on the independence referendum.”

Rachel Sylvester also has growing concerns, telling Dave:

“If he becomes the Conservative prime minister who presided over the break-up of the United Kingdom, he will face immediate calls for his resignation from within his party.”

Squeaky bum time…

Telegraph Side with Nige

The Telegraph would usually be the first out of the traps on an expenses story, but they’ve decided it will be more fun to side with the ‘Kippers and knock the Times today. Brogan has been activated and is talking down the story. The polling, it seems, would agree with his angle, namely that scandal is wasted on Farage because – like Boris – the public have warmed to him. Nothing like a bit of mudslinging to liven up a dull day though.

Previous Times UKIP Allowances Report Dismissed

the-times-ukip-logoCould today’s effort by The Times to get UKIP have anything to with the complaint made last month by the Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott about UKIP’s use of allowances? His complaint was based on a series of reports by Times journalists Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson. Yesterday that complaint was thrown out by a European Parliament bureau meeting that found there was no matter requiring further investigation…

Payback Times: Hack Hits Back at ‘Kipper

Times hack Billy Kenber has hit back at claims from UKIP that they borked the figures in their story this morning.

From: “Kenber, Billy”
Date: 15 April 2014 10:14:05 BST
To: David Samuel-Camps
Cc: Alexi Mostrous, Nigel Farage
Subject: Re: Your report

Hi David,

The difference between the two figures lies in the way Ukip MEP’s break down their transparency reports.

This includes various categories – of which the one of relevance to rent is “office management and running costs” which covers rent, utilities, insurance, business rates and cleaning. In his transparency reports Farage claims to have spent £15,500 a year solely on this category since July 2009. This does not include office equipment, phone bills and stationery which fall under “communication costs” and “stationery, periodicals, subscriptions”.

As you say, the total monthly cost for all office expenditure was £700 (down from £2,000 when you managed to cancel various locked-in contracts for things like unnecessary amounts of printer ink) which I asked you to break down into its constituent parts – something we went through twice to ensure accuracy.

You said that utilities and insurance amounted to less than £100 a month and that council tax/business rates were £150 (I looked it up and it was £149 a month for the current financial year 2013). Hence the figure of £250 a month, which is £3,000 a year. The remaining £450 a month falls under the two other categories outlined above.

Bognor Regis is the nearest well-known town for readers who are less familiar with the West Sussex coast.

Best wishes,
Billy

Media Guido, your one stop shop for airing dirty laundry in public…

Sums Don’t Add Up for Times Front Page UKIP Story Outraged Source: I Was Misquoted, Demands Retraction

Guido said this morning that this would get messy, and as predicted, one of the Times’ sources is now kicking back. In a letter to the journalists who wrote the story, David Samuel-Camps says he was misquoted:

“Mr Kenber and Mr Mostrous,

Re: Nigel Farage and office costs

I am extremely concerned that in your report you have distorted my responses to your questions regarding the Lyminster office costs.

On the front page you quote me as stating that the costs were £3000 per year.  This is grossly incorrect.  I told you that the previous manager had tied the office into some supply contracts and as a result the monthly costs were some £2000.  I told you several times that I eventually reduced the costs to £700 per month.  When I went to school we were taught the times tables and that £700 times 12 equals £8400 (which is not too far removed from Mr Farage’s £1000 per month) so where on earth did you come up with a figure of £3000?

At no time did I say that “electricity, heating, and business rates at the office totalled less than £250 a month”.  I told you that I could not remember the individual amounts as it was over four years ago but they would have been in the region of £200 each.

Later, you then contradict yourselves by quoting me as saying that the costs were £700 per month – which is correct.  You asked me a number of times about the £700/month figure which I confirmed several times; again I have to ask how does £700 per month equate to £3000 per year?  I should also point out that our conversations were witnessed.

To the best of knowledge and belief I was completely honest in my answers and resent the fact that those answers have been completely distorted.  I did warn you that there is a small minority who are “mischief makers” – one in particular who would go to any lengths to destroy Mr Farage’s reputation.

I expect you to publish corrections as outlined above.

Finally, I should point out that the Lyminster is nowhere near Bognor Regis; it is on the outskirts of Littlehampton, a fact that could have been verified by looking at an AA road atlas!

David Samuel-Camps BA (Hons) Dip. PA”

To a completely impartial observer like Guido, this doesn’t look good. If what Samuel-Camps is saying is true they should go to the PCC…

Farage Fingers Wrong Blonde

The Times have done over Nigel Farage this morning, reporting that £60,000 of taxpayer cash paid into his personal bank account is unaccounted for. The £15,500-a-year was for the upkeep of his constituency office in Bognor Regis, but since Farage gets it rent-free the accusation is that he only spends £3,000-a-year on running costs. Leaving around £12,000-a-year missing. No doubt it will turn out to be within the European parliament’s lax rules. It doesn’t smell right, even if the payments are automatic.

UKIP pre-empted the Times splash yesterday by naming the anonymous ex-party official who has grassed Farage up to the EU anti-fraud office as Jasna Badzak:

“Jasna Badzak is a convicted fraudster serving a suspended sentence, whose allegations are unfounded and vexatious. She has never been a press secretary or confidant of Mr Farage’s. Your use of her indicates that you are writing an article with a defined end by inventing a road to achieve that end.”

Just one problem: the Times tells Guido that Badzak was not the source of the story. This could get messy…

Just 1 in 5 Say Miliband is Prime Minister in Waiting

Last week this blog pointed out that Ed Miliband is hardly coming across as the Prime Minister in waiting, well today the people agree. A Times/Yougov poll has just 19% saying they can see Ed in Number 10, when the same question was asked of Dave in 2008 the number was 49%. Just 26% think Labour is ready for government. As Morten Morland says in the video above, Britain can do better than this…

Sunday Times Pol Ed Runners and Riders

Plenty of names in the hat for the soon-to-be-vacated Political Editor position at the Sunday Times. A top three Lobby job is up for grabs, as usual Guido gives you the runners and riders. A betting man would have a flutter on Tim Shipman from the Mail, the Spectator’s Pol Ed James Forsyth has Sunday experience from his Mail on Sunday column, Rob Winnett is said to be upset about being recalled back to Telegraph Towers, so could well put his hat in the ring. Sam Coates of The Times gets stories. Guido would not rule out Nick Watt either, for an outside bet, why not Brendan Carlin? Maybe Gaby Hinsliff – who seems busier than ever – might want a break from the kids…

Guido asked one Lobby hack what he thought, only to be told it was the “Worst job in Westminster. Everyone who does it leaves journalism afterwards. I seriously have no idea who would want it. I certainly don’t. I still want to be a journalist in 10 years.” It’s an exhausting job…

Mystery Undercover Reporter ‘Had Sex With Sting Target’

Worth keeping an eye on this one. An unnamed undercover Sunday Times reporter has been accused of having sex with the target of her sting, a dentist believed to be involved in female genital mutilation. Particularly awkward that Omar Addow will not face charges after the CPS suggested the journalist’s version of events was not credible. She denies the claim that she recorded her target offering to carry out FGM on a camera during a visit to his flat in which the pair, as he puts it, “did sex”. Tom Kark QC made the claim yesterday:

“It appears he and the journalist have sexual intercourse. We may form the view that the journalist had gone to extra lengths to get her story.”

Interesting further reading in this Greenslade piece last year as well…

Limo for M'Lord

It would seem the soon to be Lord Finkelstein is already getting used to the high life. A co-conspirator just spotted this in SW1:

What’s the betting it will be a ministerial limo soon enough…

Times Hijack Telegraph Royal Baby Webcam

With no diary bitch fights to entertain MediaGuido today, the Times have taken to winding up the Telegraph in person. Their Royal reporter Valentine Low has been busy subverting the Telegraph’s royal baby webcam this afternoon:

In fairness, it’s the first time anything interesting has happened on the feed so far…

Via @RobDotHutton

Change in Paywall Linking Policy

With the coming of Sun+ next month, where readers will be charged to read the paper online, four national newspaper websites will now be behind a paywall. As of August the Times, FT, Telegraph and Sun will be asking readers to pay for content.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

“In effect, new MPs are being elected day by day now, as, amid huge secrecy, small cabals of party bigwigs pick candidates for safe seats.”

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