Nick Timothy’s Lessons From Yanis

Those Tories uncomfortable with Nick Timothy’s more statist policy platform will be amused to see he is a disciple of Yanis Varoufakis. The book beardless Timothy is reading is the Greek firebrand’s “My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment”. Nick was one of the leading Brexiters in the government before he quit, no doubt he and Yanis have some shared experiences…

May: Big Ben Bong Ban Wrong

Theresa May says the ban on Big Ben bonging is wrong. Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand sides with health and safety:

“If we have to miss Big Ben in reality for a while so that work can be done, well, that’s something we have to go through. It’s not a national disaster or catastrophe.”

Big Ben is still bonging but it’s a quiet day in Westminster…

Headline courtesy of @ConorPope

Tories Queue Up to Blast Trump

May on Trump:

“I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them.”

Other Tory MPs and ministers have been somewhat more direct:

Can’t wait for the state visit…

Transition Must Be Short Enough to Keep UK Appealing to New Trade Partners

As Guido reported yesterday morning, most Leave Tory MPs are on board with David Davis’ customs union plan. The influential European Research Group of 80+ Tory Brexiteers last night gave their blessing to the “welcome” proposal. What Leave MPs do want is for the transition period to be as short as possible. Leave Tories have indicated they support a time-limited transition completed by the next election, though they would obviously prefer it lasted closer to 1-2 years than 3. They have several arguments for this. One, the transition phase must be short enough to keep the UK appealing to new trade partners – a very important point which is being argued by Leave MPs at the moment. Two, it must be strictly time-limited and short enough to allay concerns it could be used to keep the UK in the EU by the back door. Three, Tory MPs believe it is vital voters see as much progress as possible on the results of Brexit, on immigration and new trade deals, before the next election. As we said yesterday, that means the transition finishing with time to spare…

This is the latest “Cabinet row erupts” story in the papers. When you consider previous “splits” on the single market, customs union etc, a debate boiling down to a matter of a few months is relatively small fry. As Guido has said for some time, there is a broad Cabinet consensus on the trajectory of the Brexit process – Stephen Pollard is worth a read on this today. It is nonetheless important for Leave MPs to keep up the pressure on the length of the implementation phase. The shorter the transition the better it is for trade deals, and the less likely it is for Britain to stay in the EU by the back door…

Hammond Hires Sky’s Giles Winn

Guido understands Philip Hammond has hired Sky News’ Giles Winn as his new media SpAd in the Treasury. He will be working alongside his former Sky colleague Poppy Trowbridge. Winn was the editor of Murnaghan and then in charge of interviews at Sky – it’s another example of the government mopping up experienced broadcast veterans from the Sunday shows. He also knows pretty much every Tory MP and Lobby hack since he’s booked most of them for interviews, which can only help. Winn had been set to join PR outfit Pagefield so it’s a bit of a coup for the Treasury to steal him away. This morning’s reports of a Brexit victory for the Chancellor may have been exaggerated, no arguments that this is a Winn for Hammond…

Davis Diplomatically Distances Himself From Chappers

A few weeks ago James Chapman was talking up his apparently ongoing relationship with David Davis, briefing journalists that he should be the Prime Minister and regularly appearing in newspapers as an “ally” of DD. In an interview appropriately conducted by Jeremy Kyle, today Davis has diplomatically distanced himself from his former aide. Chappers has not taken it well, calling Davis a lazy, drunk liar on Twitter. Which makes those newspaper stories quoting him as a source last month look a bit silly. Meanwhile DD would not be drawn on Commando Chappers

Victory For Hammond? Proposal Meets Tory Leavers’ Demands

The Times and FT predictably report today’s proposal for a temporary customs union with the EU during the transition period as a victory for Philip Hammond. Is this true? Back in June Guido told you what most Tory Leavers want:

“Leavers want Britain fully out of the single market and customs union within two or three years, well in time for the next election. Tory MPs are concerned that the public will want to see progress on immigration and trade deals by the time they next vote. One of David Davis’ main reasons for lobbying Theresa May to call a snap election was so Brexit could be fully completed by the next election.”

DD’s proposal clearly meets the requirements of Tory Leavers so long as the transition period is short, time-limited and trade deals can be struck well in time for the next election, so voters can see evidence of progress in Brexit Britain. Guido has spoken to various Leave Tory sources this morning who support today’s plan so long as the implementation phase is as brief as possible and those trade deals can be struck with time to spare. As has always been the case. Backbench Brexiter Bernard Jenkin sums up the view of Tory Leavers:

“Anything that smooths our exit and gives business reassurance is good but it depends how long this transition period is. We must not look hobbled in our trading relationships with non-EU countries.”

Privately Tory Leavers feel these “victory for Hammond” headlines on policies they also support are a price worth paying to help build consensus. Last month Remain papers called the transition itself a victory for Hammond, even though the vast majority of Tory Leavers support it. The reality is a transition has always been sensible and inevitable, supported by Tory Leavers so long as their conditions are met. Today’s proposal meets those conditions on paper, over to the EU…

NiMo Shoots Down “Democrats” as ‘Silly Season Fantasy’

As a Remainer and famous critic of the government, Nicky Morgan (along with Anna Soubry) was top of the list of potential defectors for those seeking to form a new anti-Brexit party. Just one problem. Nicky thinks it’s a terrible idea and won’t be having anything to do with it. She dismisses “The Democrats” as a self-indulgent silly season “fantasy” in a withering article for ConHome:

“The silly season is clearly in overdrive this August, with speculation about the time having arrived for a new UK political party to be formed.  This would be a very bad idea for many reasons. Just ask those who were involved in the SDP: are any of them saying that a new centrist party is a good idea? … The national interest now demands that we stop indulging in political and ideological fantasies about new parties and start focusing on how we shape the rest of the 21st century in which the Conservative Party should want to be in Government with a broad base of support in the country.”

Ouch. Which leaves the current membership of “The Democrats” as pretty much just this:

That’s that then.

Hammond and Fox Dash Remain Media’s Wishful Thinking

Back in June, Guido told you a consensus was forming between Hammond, Fox et al on a time-limited 2-3 year transition outside the single market and customs union. As other publications breathlessly reported on Cabinet splits and Brexit coming off the rails, we wrote:

“Everyone in government including Philip Hammond agrees on a destination outside the single market and customs union… Hammond and Leavers now agree on a “softer landing”, so long as the transition is short and time-limited… this seems to Guido a sensible approach for a smooth, real Brexit.”

Yesterday Hammond and Fox dashed the hopes of the less reality-based Remainers, writing a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph confirming what Guido readers already knew:

“We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation. We will leave the single market, because there was a vote for change on June 23rd and that is what we will deliver… We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty – but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.”

A lot of what is being published by the FT, Guardian and Evening Standard at the moment is wishful thinking, and sometimes just plain wrong. For weeks they reported the government was being torn apart by splits over the transition. Then Osborne’s Standard praised Hammond for securing victory on the transition and said the government had made the “right call”. Today Remainers are moaning Hammond has “caved in”. The reality has been clear for some time for those willing to see it: a time-limited 2-3 year transition outside the single market and customs union. As Guido readers have known for months…

Holy Crabb! Look At The Size of That!

What’s ‘appening with Stephen Crabb these days? A female researcher points out he is sporting a bulge the size of the Preseli hills in his official Commons portrait. Probably just his phone…

Diane Abbott Tweets Fake May Quote

There is no evidence Theresa May ever said this. When the quote was sent viral by Corbynista tweeters during the election, attempts to prove it was real failed. No one from Labour has ever managed to provide a source. There was no mention of the quote anywhere on the internet ever before the election. The Tories say it is a fake quote. What was that about politicians receiving nasty abuse on Twitter, Diane?

UPDATE: Diane has now deleted her tweet. Will she apologise?

Gove: No to Chlorine Chicken

Michael Gove flatly ruled out chlorinated chicken in Brexit Britain’s supermarkets on the Today programme, hours after Liam Fox insisted there was no health issue with US-style chemically washed poultry. Fox is right that this whole row is confected and that the science doesn’t justify the ruffled feathers. Scaremongering by opportunistic Remainers maybe, but regardless of the facts chlorine chicken is always going to be unpopular, will cut through to the public and not help the PR for Brexit. The story should have been shut down days ago, it is distracting from Labour’s student debt row and what should have been a very good week for the Tories…

Davis Accepts Donations From Top Blairite and TV Remainer

David Davis has banked nearly £35,000 in donations in the last month, from a variety of benefactors across the Brexit spectrum. Intriguingly Davis accepted £15,000 from Allamhouse Ltd, a firm owned by former major Labour donor and top Blairite Assem Allem. Readers may remember Allem as one of Labour’s main individual donors from the 2010-2015 parliament, before he became disillusioned with Corbyn and tried to convince Tony Blair and the LibDems to set up a new centrist party. Curious he is now backing Davis…

DD also accepted £5,000 from businessman and Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis, a Leave voter who oddly wants to Remain in the EU. Paphitis took the unusual position during the referendum of backing a vote to Leave so the EU would give us a better deal and we could ultimately Remain:

“I believe that if we vote to leave the EU there’s a very high chance that our friends in the EU will stop and smell the coffee and propose the sort of reforms that many would like to see and would make them comfortable to remain… I feel that the best way to leverage change and achieve our aim would be to vote out. At that point I am confident there’s a high chance that there will be another renegotiation and then we’re in.”

Fear not, Davis also accepted cash from three Brexiters: Anthony Bamford, Alan Halsall and Peter Cruddas. Raising a decent wedge from across the political spectrum, intriguing…

Tory Videos on Labour’s Student Debt U-Turn Hit 1.3 Million Views in 3 Days

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner is under heavy fire in the Commons over Labour’s student debt u-turn. Sarah Champion threw Corbyn under the bus on the Daily Politics earlier rather than defend the broken promise. Over on Facebook, Tory videos on Jezza’s fantasy policy shambles have now been viewed 1.3 million times in three days, and shared over 50,000 times – more than the vast majority (possibly all) of anti-Labour posts during the election. This is hurting, and deservedly so…

May on Approaching Reshuffle

Freudian slip?

H/T @DavidScullion

Happy Cabinet

All smiles, sort of…

End of the RoadTrip Cost Tories This Time Round

Since the election there has been much talk of the need for a “Tory Momentum”, a grassroots, youth-based movement to hit the streets and take the fight to the Corbynista hordes. The problems with this are numerous. The Tories are not in vogue. There is no young, modern leader and the boring old grey hairs are in charge. Labour has the marketing advantage: it is much easier to capture youthful imagination with idealistic fantasies about writing off student debts, than honest and uninspiring messages pointing out the other lot would ruin the country. And there is also another issue which Tory MPs have identified…

There was a Tory Momentum in 2015. It was called RoadTrip, organised by Tatler Tory Mark Clarke. With the promise of free booze and getting laid, it inspired hundreds of young Tories to sign up. Like Momentum it aroused media attention and controversy: bullying, factionalism, rule-breaking, lines crossed, wrong ‘uns misbehaving. Yet it was punchy, aggressive, ideologically committed, hugely successful and played a significant role in the 2015 election victory, managing to get large numbers of activists to travel across the country and help Tory candidates. It then became mired in scandal – battle bus expenses and the death of Elliot Johnson – so was shut down and not replaced at the 2017 election. 

A number of MPs believe the RoadTrip scandals and ensuing collapse of a pugnacious Tory youth movement cost them the election. MPs felt outnumbered and outgunned by Labour’s highly organised young activists, yet there was no Tory equivalent because replicating RoadTrip had become politically impossible. Flashy Twitter graphics and videos produced centrally from CCHQ are one thing, they don’t compare to an organic, genuine youth movement which can push the boundaries with a degree of plausible deniability for HQ. If RoadTrip 2015 hadn’t ended in disgrace, RoadTrip 2017 might just have tipped the Tories towards a majority…

Mogg Joins Social Media Age

Social media savvy readers will have noticed that Jacob Rees-Mogg joined the picture-based social network Instagram a few weeks ago. He already has 35,000 followers, more than double Theresa May’s following – and her account is a year old. Follow for pics of Jacob’s new baby and days out with Nigel:

Hats off to Nigel.

A post shared by Jacob Rees-Mogg (@jacob_rees_mogg) on

Now the Mogg has joined Twitter too:

Which means “Times change, and we change with them”. The man who many younger and grassroots Tories want to run for leader has already amassed 14,000 followers in two days. Moggmentum?

Labour Filibuster Debate on Hard-Left Abuse of MPs


Labour last night used a spurious three hour plus-long debate on procedure to block the scheduled debate on hard-left abuse of MPs. The Commons was supposed to spend the day discussing the abuse received by MPs during the election, instead Labour filibustered with a nonsense debate about how many debates they get to have until well into the night. As Anna Soubry quite rightly said:

“As a result of Labour’s filibusting tonight, this chamber will not debate the appalling abuse which many women candidates on this side of the House endured during the general election from the hard-left… There are many members on this side of the House that stood up for women on that side of the House when they were abused by their hard-left leadership.”

Vicky Atkins criticised Labour for blocking the abuse debate “to talk about their diaries” instead, Andrea Leadsom blasted “Members on both sides of this House have been victims of vile abuse from anarchists and hard-left activists, but obviously Labour are not interested” and accused Jeremy Corbyn of having “prevented this debate“. That’s what Tory MPs get for defending their Labour counterparts when they were on the receiving end…

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:

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn on Big Ben Bong Ban

“… if we have to miss Big Ben in reality for a while so that work can be done, well, that’s something we have to go through. It’s not a national disaster or catastrophe.”

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