Downing Street Backs Kwasi in Energy Crisis Briefing Spat with Treasury

The blue-on-blue briefing battle over the energy crisis has now taken another turn, with Downing Street coming out in support of BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in his department’s ongoing feud with the Treasury. Despite the Treasury’s insistence that they’re “not involved in any talks” over support plans for businesses (not to mention essentially calling Kwarteng a liar), a Number 10 spokesperson claimed in a lobby briefing this morning that they actually are working “very closely” with BEIS “as the public would expect“:

“As you would expect, ministers from BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) are working across government, including with Treasury, on this important issue, the challenges that are currently facing industry in light of global gas prices, and that will continue.”

Treasury officials were “crystal clear” that this wasn’t happening. They can’t all be right…

mdi-timer 11 October 2021 @ 13:54 11 Oct 2021 @ 13:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Kwasi’s Energy Crisis Briefing War with Treasury Explained

The war within Whitehall over the energy crisis is continuing in earnest this morning, with Securities Minister Damian Hinds becoming the latest trooper dragged into the crossfire – seemingly as a member of Team Kwarteng. Here’s a reminder of how we got here…

Yesterday on Sky News, BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng claimed he was speaking to government colleagues, particularly in the Treasury,” to try and solve the energy crisis, specifically for manufacturers and businesses at the mercy of soaring prices. He didn’t promise any additional support or bailouts, although he assured viewers that BEIS were “engaging” with the Treasury on the government’s plans. Pretty straightforward.

Only a few hours later, an unnamed Treasury source speaking to Sky’s Sam Coates flat out denied Kwarteng claims – and essentially accused him of lying to a national broadcaster: “This is not the first time the BEIS Secretary has made things up in interviews. To be crystal clear the treasury are not involved in any talks.” Later, Treasury officials doubled down by claiming that while BEIS had met with the Treasury to discuss bailing out an American fertiliser company, those were “very specific and targeted intervention[s]”. Definitely nothing to do with the energy crisis, they insisted.

Now Securities Minister Damian Hinds has found himself stuck in the middle of all this. Asked this morning on Sky News whether Kwasi had “told porkiesHinds said “of course not“, adding: “these unnamed sources stories come out from time to time… the fact is government departments, government ministers, talk to each other the whole time … [this] is something that the Business Secretary, and of course the Energy Secretary, is going to be totally focused on.” No comment as of yet from the Chancellor himself, presumably trying to keep his mouth shut as well as his chequebook…

mdi-timer 11 October 2021 @ 10:20 11 Oct 2021 @ 10:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Yes, That Really is Michael Gove on the Dating App

Perhaps it’s no surprise that, in the aftermath of a divorce, Michael Gove’s preferred dance partner in Manchester was not Tom Tugendhat. What has emerged today is that, like many a hopeful conference delegate nowadays, Michael had fired up a dating app last weekend to signal his availability. Gove’s Bumble profile indicated that he was in Manchester, single, and ready to mingle…

Guido had first heard Gove was on the Bumble dating app from Popbitch last month:

Guido understands that his willingness to embrace modern technology and undergo hostage-style indignities has seen him on at least one date via Bumble already. The merits of Michael Gove are many; he is faultlessly polite, clever, witty, fun, and willing to laugh at himself. He is also famously fond of a shimmy round the dance floor. Yes, he may need to work on his Bumble profile a bit – the workaholic vibe might be too honest. C’mon ladies, you could do a heck of a lot worse…

mdi-timer 7 October 2021 @ 15:01 7 Oct 2021 @ 15:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tories Finally Expel Senior Tory Accused of Harassment

Co-conspirators with excellent memories may remember all the way back to August 2019, when Guido revealed a number of young Tories had released a statement accusing long-time activist and party organiser Robert Winfield of harassment:

The party didn’t listen, the association didn’t listen, CPF didn’t listen. So, we had to be bold and be public to ensure our voices were heard. To ensure that people were safe.

What we are asking for is a fair investigation into all allegations.”

One young Tory even leveled an accusation of public masturbation during a discussion panel against Winfield…

Guido can reveal that two whole years on from the original complaint, Winfield has finally been expelled as a party member. One who made a complaint received an email from the party’s complaints team today, apologising for the “length of the investigation into your complaint regarding Robert Winfield” and thanking them for their patience.

A Conservative Party spokesperson confirmed that Winfield is no longer a member of the party. Even with Covid, two years is absurdly long…

mdi-timer 24 September 2021 @ 15:45 24 Sep 2021 @ 15:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory MPs’ Geronimo Meme Wars

With MP WhatsApp groups so prone to leaking these days, it might seem sensible for members to share jokes offline to avoid controversy. In this vein, Tory MP Ben Everitt recently turned up to his Commons office to find the door covered in memes: one featuring the recently-deceased TB-riddled alpaca Geronimo alongside Princes Diana, and another showing Harambe the Gorilla riding Geronimo through the gates of heaven. Anything to brighten the place up…

Everitt claims it was a “welcome back gift from an undisclosed colleague” and he’d been so busy this week he “didn’t get around to taking it down”. He says the list of suspects is too long to organise any revenge dish…

mdi-timer 10 September 2021 @ 17:30 10 Sep 2021 @ 17:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tearing Up the Tax Guarantee Is Risky

All the papers are full of speculation that the government is going to announce a 1% hike in national insurance or a new “social care levy” to get round the clear guarantee the Tories gave less than 2 years ago that they would not raise any taxes. A guarantee personally signed off by the Prime Minister…

There seems to be a depressing consensus across the political spectrum that tax hikes are necessary. The only party opposed is the Reform Party, currently polling at 4%. They are taking a low tax, high growth position on the economy in direct contrast to the Tories’ new-found higher taxes and higher spending stance. If Richard Tice can capitalise on the issue, it could boost his support and breathe life into the stalling party – which frankly hasn’t had much traction post-Brexit.

Tory wonks will argue that there is polling support for their tax and spend policies, and that the Reform Party’s policies don’t add up. That doesn’t necessarily matter; the party could still garner votes from traditional Tories, particularly in the South East, who are fed up of hearing about spending in the Red Wall seats and in Scotland, paid for by their taxes. Tearing up the guarantee is not cost-free electorally.

mdi-timer 3 September 2021 @ 12:05 3 Sep 2021 @ 12:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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