David Davis Sells Out

Brexiteers need not panic, the former Brexit Secretary has not betrayed the Eurosceptic cause. Instead, a black-tie gala dinner at the Carlton Club hosted by the Margaret Thatcher Centre, which he is addressing, has sold out within days of tickets going on sale. Proving that the old bruiser still has box office appeal in Tory circles. Will David Davis still give his after-dinner speech if he is Prime Minister?

Tory Vice Chairman Paid £46,000 from House of Saud

As the world learned this week of the horrific torture and murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi – he was according to some reports alive when his torturer began cutting him up with an electric bone saw – the register of MPs’ interests was published. The new register of interests reveals that Tory MP Rehman Chishti received £46,000 from Saudi Arabia between March 2016 and January this year for advisory work with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Chisti only stopped taking the lucrative £2,000-a-month payments from the Saudis when he became Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Communities in January. The party position comes with a £10,000 honorarium.

Guido looks forward to getting the benefit of hearing Chisti’s inside view of the Saudi regime’s behaviour when he speaks in the inevitable debates on the matter in the Commons…

UPDATE: Dozen Tories Took £85,0000 of Junkets to Riyadh in Last Year

Duddridge Writes to Brady Demanding May Goes

Minutes before Theresa May gets on stage to deliver her speech James Duddridge has publicly written an email to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, demanding she goes. He has just told Adam Boulton that the conference has been a “disaster”, and says Theresa May’s refusal to “rip up Chequers” and Boris Johnson’s “inspirational” speech yesterday are the reasons he’s submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May.

“We haven’t got someone that can effectively negotiate with the European Union at the moment, the Brexit negotiations have been an absolute disaster… yet we limp on and pretend we’re all behind a leader who is not delivering.”

“We need a strong leader and we haven’t got that at the moment. Boris was inspirational, motivational and rallied the troops, rallied politicians, something you could get behind and that’s what we need, we need a leader not a chief executive, an administrator”

Tough timing for May…

Who Should Be the Next Tory Leader?

Guy News asked a wide-ranging sample of Tory conference attendees who they would like to be the next Tory leader ahead of Boris’ big speech today. While some couldn’t countenance Theresa May standing down, the biggest names were comfortably Boris and Saj. Boris still leads the pack…

Philip Lee Sows “Distrust and Disenfranchisement”

The Tory Remainer’s pin-up boy Philip Lee has been touring the “People’s Vote” fringes at Tory Conference today, preaching to the Remainer faithful about the need for a second referendum and even talking about quitting the Conservatives.

There were so few Tories at either event he would hardly notice the difference. They were less Tory fringe events than “bash the Tories” fringe events…

He’s changed his tune from 2016, when he told his constituents on his personal website:

“I have received a great deal of correspondence from constituents who have signed the petition to hold a second referendum… To willingly ignore the view of the electorate, however, would entrench divisions and accentuate the distrust and disenfranchisement which we urgently need to address. The British people have spoken. It is now the duty of all Parliamentarians to respond in the best interests of our great and good country, as we move into a future outside of the EU…”

Why does Phil now think it’s a good idea to “entrench divisions” and accentuate “distrust and disenfranchisement” today?

Jeremy Hunt Trolled by his Wife

Jeremy Hunt has revealed the moment when he first spoke to his wife after mistakenly calling telling a group of Chinese dignitaries that she was Japanese rather than Chinese:

“I was incredibly nervous. I picked up the phone to apologise to her – and the first word she said to me was “konnichiwa”, which is “hello” in Japanese. She has a great Chinese sense of humour, but sushi is banned from the Hunt household for a while.”

Top trolling from Mrs Hunt – although Jeremy might have some more explaining to do when the Japanese find out that the British Foreign Secretary is boycotting their national dish. At least he’ll be able to do it in the right language

Over Half Tory MPs’ Voting Intentions Now Identified

Guido’s MP Voting Intentions Tracker has identified where more than half of Government supporting MPs stand on Chequers. Overnight readers have helped track down another 11 MPs who are opposed to the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal, bringing the total number up to 44. Still a way off the 80 MPs Steve Baker was talking of yesterday, keep those names coming in…

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May Planning “Campaign 2022” Conference Speech

The agenda for the final day of Tory Conference this year will raise a few hackles and probably heckles. May’s keynote speech has optimistically been listed under the heading “Campaign 2022”:

Of course, May has to declare her intention to stay in the job for the long haul to avoid being becoming a lame duck, she will be hard-pressed to find anyone in Westminster or the wider membership who seriously thinks she will be contesting the 2022 General Election. That being said the agenda doesn’t specify precisely who the Prime Minister will be on October 3rd

SNP Has More Members Than Tories

If Guido were the Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis he would be happily signing up all the former ‘kippers being sent his way by Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore that he can. According to the latest research from the Commons Library the SNP has more members than the Conservative Party. Making the Tories the third largest party in Britain…

Incoming DCMS SpAds from Industry

Politico are reporting that EE’s ‘Westminster link man’ Alexander Jackman and Finsbury PR’s (and formerly England Rugby’s) Lucy Noakes have joined DCMS as SpAds for Secretary of State Jeremy Wright. Their first task will be to raise his profile…

Brexit Bad Boy Banks Joins Tories

Top trolling. To be fair he was a Tory branch chairman back in the day. It will be interesting to see if he is anathema to Tory leadership hopefuls or not…

UPDATE: This evening the Tories are briefing that they’re not going to let him in, Banks is saying he has already got his acceptance email:

CCHQ Exodus Continues

The CCHQ walkout continues, as Guido can reveal yet more departures. Congratulations to Charlotte Ivers, one of the brightest talents at the Conservative Research Department who has been poached by Number 10. She is very popular among colleagues and will be missed. Jess Prestidge has been snapped up by the Bright Blue think tank, she will be a big loss to the CCHQ briefing team. Thomas Dee is also off, leaving the Media Monitoring Unit severely depleted following the departure of its boss Gareth Milner. Meanwhile, Will Holloway is leaving CRD to become a SpAd for Greg Clark at BEIS. CCHQ is really haemorrhaging staff at the moment. The atmopshere is toxic and others are looking to leave. It does have a rats leaving a sinking ship feel…

Yet More CCHQ Departures

Guido can reveal yet more departures from CCHQ. Head of Media Monitoring Gareth Milner has become a bit of a legend at Matthew Parker Street after surviving two deployments to Afghanistan and the 2017 general election campaign. Milner is much-loved by colleagues – not just for the sizeable amount of Lego he has installed around the office – he is one of the good guys in Westminster, has a great nose for a story and a thug life meme, and will be extremely tough to replace. Milner has been poached as the new Head of Digital at the Centre for Policy Studies starting in October, a great hire for them. Congratulations… 

The CCHQ digital team has been hit by heavy losses. Head of Online Marketing Tony Hinds and Head of Film and Video Jonny Piper have left. Hinds and Piper are the last links to the Craig Elder 2015 digital team and leave the current operation with just three people and no election experience. Which hardly bodes well when the Tory digital output is already outclassed by Labour and Momentum on a daily basis. Starting to resemble the Marie Celeste over there…

CCHQ Receives Lord Sheikh Tunis Conference Complaint

CCHQ is under pressure to launch an investigation into Lord Sheikh after receiving a formal complaint about his attendance at Jeremy Corbyn’s 2014 Tunis conference, also attended by Hamas and other extremists. Yesterday Guido published photos of the Tory peer speaking at the scandal-hit event, and Sheikh confirmed to us on the phone that he was present. And involved…

Last night Zac Goldsmith demanded Lord Sheikh was booted out of the Tory party, tweeting:

“If this man is not immediately expelled from the Conservative Party, the Party hierarchy’s complaints about Corbyn will look entirely cynical.”

The complaint also calls for investigations into Brandon Lewis, Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry. CCHQ announced that they were automatically investigating Boris after they received a complaint – will they be pursuing these with such public vigour as well?

The complaint in full:

Top Tory Attended Corbyn Terror Conference

The Tories are going in hard on Corbyn over his attendance at a 2014 conference linked to various Palestinian terrorists. Sajid Javid has called for the Labour leader to resign. Writing in the Mail today, Brandon Lewis describes Corbyn’s attendance at the conference in Tunisia as “beyond the pale”. Which doesn’t bode well for top Tory peer Lord Sheikh…

Sheikh, the founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, declared in his 2014 register of interests a trip to a conference in Tunisia on the same date:

Visit to Tunisia, 29 September – 2 October 2014, to attend conference in Tunis at invitation of President of Tunisia; cost of flights and three nights’ hotel accommodation was paid by Government of Tunisia

In a post on his website from the time, Sheikh confirms the conference was about Palestine. The conference was addressed by Hamas and other extremist speakers who gave anti-Semitic speeches. Given Lord Sheikh’s other links to various extremists, surely CCHQ will have to act against him? 

UPDATE: We now have a pic of Sheikh at the conference. Will the Tories be taking action? Pretty big double standard if not…

UPDATE II: Tory MP Rob Halfon calls for CCHQ to launch an investigation into Lord Sheikh:

“If this is true, re Lord Sheikh, in attending this conference alongside Mr Corbyn – & if it is true extremist anti semites & Hamas were in attendance & speaking, there needs to be an investigation by Conservative Party/inquiry re codes of conduct et al”

READ: Complaint to CCHQ About Brandon Lewis in Full

Click to enlarge

Guido has been leaked the formal complaint received by CCHQ accusing Brandon Lewis of breaching the Nolan principles on selflessness, integrity, openness and honesty over his pairing scandal. The complainant, a Tory party member, accuses Lewis of “deceiving new mother Jo Swinson”. Will Brandon be facing a disciplinary panel? If not, it’s one rule for some…

The key question is who decides if he faces a panel? Is it a CCHQ employee? Who is going to refer their own boss? The whole process is a farce…

Gavin Lets the Cat Out Of the Bag

Prolific Instagram liker Gavin Williamson has let the cat out of the bag… liking a comment suggesting his cat could soon replace Palmerston in Number 10. (Palmerston is actually the FCO mouser but can often be found prowling up Downing Street.) Quite possibly the clearest declaration of intent yet ahead of the coming Tory leadership battle. Gavin Williamson wants to be Prime Minister? Who knew?

Brandon Moves to Reassure Furious MPs as WhatsApp Leak Reveals Support For Boris

Brandon Lewis is privately attempting to reassure Tory MPs about CCHQ’s investigation into Boris – as the party chairman faces an outpouring of criticism on the Tory MPs WhatsApp group from colleagues backing BoJo. In messages leaked to Guido, Zac Goldsmith asked “What on earth is the Party doing?!”, while Anne-Marie Trevelyan slammed CCHQ’s inquiry into Boris as “bizarre and frankly shocking”. Trevelyan went on to demand: “Perhaps Brandon can explain why this inquiry is happening?”

Andrea Jenkyns posted Rowan Atkinson’s comments into the group, before Andrea Leadsom backed Munira Mirza’s ConHome article backing Boris:

Steve Double revealed he had has held private talks with Brandon Lewis and James Cleverly to raise his concerns about the Boris investigation. Double says that after speaking to Lewis and Cleverly his fears have been assuaged. Could Brandon be about to climb down?

Nadine Dorries then let rip into CCHQ for briefing out the announcement of the Boris investigation – against the usual protocol that these things are kept private – and criticised the “private chats with Brandon and James”:

Seems clear from their WhatsApp group that Tory MPs are backing Boris and want CCHQ to get a grip. Time for Brandon to drop it and move on?

Brandon: Labour Are Busy Fighting Amongst Themselves

Brandon Lewis has just emailed Tory party members telling them “Labour are busy fighting amongst themselves”.

You couldn’t make it up…

Tories Turn on “May’s Thug” Brandon Over Boris Stitch Up

Brandon Lewis’ attempted stitch up of Boris – launching an investigation and then farcically choosing the panel members himself – is not going well for him. Tory MPs are kicking off and turning their fire on Brandon. A top Tory has told the Sun their party chairman is:

“May’s thug” 

A Tory minister texts Guido:

“It will be Brandon Lewis who is out of a job by the end of the week if he keeps this up.

[…] Read the rest

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Jacob Rees-Mogg on Theresa May

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