Stewart Jackson Tapped For Davis Job

Guido hears ousted MP Stewart Jackson is in talks to become David Davis’ chief of staff in the Brexit department. Davis is yet to replace his departed spinner James Chapman, an arch-Remainer who has nonetheless left former colleagues perplexed at his relentless determination to damage the government. Several Tory aides have been approached for the job at DExEU. The Brexit Secretary is believed to want a fully on board chief of staff to fulfil a wider ranging role, rather than a reluctant media SpAd misfit. Guido understands talks have been held with Jackson, DD’s PPS before he lost his seat at the election, potentially taking the job. Stewart is as sound as they come, a true believer. His appointment would calm the nerves of Brexiters and focus minds among civil servants at DExEU. Something which needs to happen as soon as possible…

Craig Mackinlay’s Mother Dies

Guido understands Craig Mackinlay’s mother has sadly died. She was reportedly taken ill after her son appeared in court on Tuesday, was rushed to hospital and passed away this morning. A sad turn of events for the family following a distressing few months. Our condolences. 

Katie Perrior’s LinkedIn Update

Someone’s pleased to be out of Downing Street…

Robbie Gibb New No.10 Director of Communications

As tipped by Guido here

UPDATE: Katy Searle replaces Gibb as Head of BBC Westminster.

Fox: BBC Always Describes Good News as #DespiteBrexit

A lot of Remainers are whingeing about these comments by Liam Fox this morning criticising the BBC. Worth noting that last night’s Newsnight ran a story claiming Brexit isn’t going to happen, which shows how reality-based some elements of the Beeb are. And it is pretty obvious that other pundits would rather Britain fail than Brexit succeed. Fox isn’t wrong…

Soames a Dab Hand

He tweeted: “Sir Nicko on the DAB”…

Boris: I Wish I Could Tweet Like Trump

Gosh, er, cripes, Make the Tories Great Again?

Labour Mercer Spoiler Attempt

Johnny Mercer’s bid for the Defence select committee chairmanship is the subject of a spoiler attempt by Janus-faced Labour rivals. Mercer is the MP for Plymouth Moor View. His neighbouring MP, Labour newbie Luke Pollard, has said he wants to work with Mercer to represent the city, claiming he would endorse him for the role if Mercer commits to opposing defence cuts and base sell offs. Mercer has indeed made those commitments. Yet for some strange reason Pollard is still refusing to back him…

Why the trickery? Pollard is no doubt wary of Mercer further increasing his profile and there are suggestions he has been trying to convince Labour MPs to vote against his Plymouth neighbour. Mercer has a 5,000 majority and some in Labour are prioritising designs on his seat over actually voting for who they think is the best candidate. Grown-ups like Dan Jarvis, Chris Bryant and Stephen Kinnock are not playing games and have nominated Mercer. Don’t forget the incumbent Defence chair Julian Lewis is Bercow’s best mate, you can expect a number of the Speaker’s allies in the Labour Party to try to block Mercer’s bid…

May’s Defiant Defence of Austerity

With the focus on the economy, sound money and Labour’s record, Theresa May delivered one of her best ever PMQs performances. She doubled down on her support for austerity and slapped down the Boris / Hunt / Greening Torbynistas – Tory backbenchers loved it. Almost as if the Tories should have mentioned the economy occasionally during the election… 

Mini-Mogg Number 6

Meet Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher Rees-Mogg. Congratulations to Jacob and Helena. Not the first ambitious politician to introduce a well-timed new family member to the world…

Landale Out of No.10 Running

Big news for Downing Street. Leaves the BBC’s Westminster chief Robbie Gibb as the strong favourite…

THE BREXORCIST: Paranormal Expert is New Tory MEP

Readers may remember how back in 2011 CCHQ tried their utmost to stop Rupert Matthews from becoming an MEP. Six years later Matthews has made it, he was the next on the list to fill the MEP slot vacated by new MP Andrew Lewer. Matthews is an interesting chap: “I’ve been investigating the paranormal for the past 20 years. I’ve researched ghosts… but don’t just take my word for it”. Enjoy his video “Paranormal Studies: Our Paranormal Universe Class” above…

Headline h/t Jim Pickard

Davis Leads Boris in ConHome Leadership Survey

David Davis leads Boris Johnson by 24% to 18% in ConHome’s new Tory leadership survey of 1,191 readers, though the clear winner is the ‘none of the above’ option on 30%. DD’s grown-up handling of Brexit is serving him well with the Tory grassroots, as was always his plan. Boris’ recent outbreak of Torbynism won’t help him with members. Not real appetite for Hammond or Rudd at all. In terms of the “others” suggested by readers, Raab was most popular on 2%, Gove behind him. No Ruth Davidson surge…

Number 10 Director of Communications Runners & Riders

Theresa May still does not have a Director of Communications following the departure of Katie Perrior at the election. There is a feeling in the government that she needs a star hire to communicate with the media and bring some gravitas to Number 10. As ever Guido brings you your runners and riders…

  • Chris Wilkins: May’s strategy chief was lined up for the role and has been filling in over the last few weeks. Highly regarded in Number 10. But it looks like they’re going for someone else…
  • Robbie Gibb: Head of BBC Westminster and boss of the Beeb’s main political programmes. Would bring much-needed broadcast news judgement and experience. Being tipped by government figures. [UPDATE: And The Sun.]
  • James Landale: Tipped by the Spectator as the celeb signing. His name has been doing the rounds among excitable Tories. Old Etonian…
  • James Slack: May’s civil service spokesman was linked to the job. Gets on well with the Lobby and has been holding things together in Number 10 at times. But he is said to be staying put as PMOS.
  • Joey Jones: Has been more nuanced in his criticisms of the May regime compared to other former colleagues. A pro with important broadcast experience. Doubt they can afford him.
  • Iain Dale: Experienced, former chief of staff for David Davis, could ease the transition of power? Very pro-Theresa May… 
  • Laura Kuenssberg: If you believe the Corbynistas…

Good luck…

Feldman Lobbying Job Avoids Oversight

Former Tory chairman Andrew Feldman has landed a lucrative role at the PR outfit Tulchan Communications. The hire highlights a flaw in the system of oversight for outside interests – under House of Lords rules, Feldman doesn’t have to disclose how much he is paid by Tulchan or, more importantly, what businesses he’s assisting. There will be no way of knowing whether questions he asks in the Lords pertain to interests he personally represents…

Feldman also has roles at Macro Advisory Partners – chaired by former MI6 boss Sir John Sawers – and TFG Management, a hedge fund. If he were a former minister or special adviser, he would have had to clear his new appointment with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA). Despite attending Political Cabinet and still having the ear of half the Cabinet, the authorities have confirmed to Guido that Feldman doesn’t have to get his new job cleared by anyone.

Tulchan only recently entered the shady world of lobbying. As well as Feldman they have former Cameron spinner Graeme Wilson, ex-Osborne SpAd Lisa Jarrett-Kerr and former Tory aide Joe Armitage on their books. Their new under the radar hire spent the last few years phoning up big companies asking for money, sure he’ll make use of those skills at his new gig…

Hunt Paper: “Hard Brexit Means People Fleeing UK”

Big spending Torbynista and Remainer Jeremy Hunt has been indiscreet with his papers as he walked into Downing Street this morning. This oral questions briefing document he’s holding contains the words “Hard Brexit means people fleeing UK“.

Some Cabinet members at the moment need to get a grip…

Mackinlay in Court Today

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court today:

Craig Mackinlay, 50, of St George’s Square, Pimlico, central London, charged with two counts of making a false election expenses declaration.

Marion Little, 62, of New Road, Ware, Hertfordshire, and Nathan Gray, 28, of Red Oak, Hawkhurst, Kent, each face three counts and one count respectively of making a false election expenses declaration.

Stay tuned…

UPDATE: Mackinlay pleads not guilty.

Torbynistas’ £9 Billion Bill

More taxes, more spending, more borrowing, slower deficit reduction, wobbling on tuition fees and ending the public sector pay cap – some members of the Cabinet are becoming Torbynistas. Jeremy Hunt has demanded the “1% cap for NHS workers” is lifted, Justine Greening wants the same for teachers. Now Boris is briefing out he “strongly” believes the public sector pay cap should go. The IFS says copying Jezza’s cap-ditching policy would cost £9.2 billion per year, at a time when the national debt stands at nearly £1.9 trillion…

The 1% cap figure is also very misleading. Many NHS workers and teachers get a salary rise each year additional to national pay. As former minister Rob Wilson points out, this isn’t widely known and is worth several hundreds of pounds a year to several thousand pounds a year depending on salary band. The 1% figure everyone uses isn’t the whole story, for many the real number is more like 4%.

As the IFS says, in the last ten years public sector pay has accelerated faster than the private sector. Indeed earlier this year the IFS reported public sector workers are still being paid hundreds of pounds a year more than their private sector counterparts, despite “austerity“. None of the Torbynistas calling for an “end to austerity” are talking about how they are going to pay for it. For Boris this could be the most expensive Tory leadership campaign in history…

DCMS Rebranded, Sort Of

DCMS is changing its name to DDCMS, except it will still be called DCMS. Confused? The government explains:

“In a move that acknowledges the way the Department’s remit has evolved, the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley have agreed a departmental name change. The Department will continue to be referred to as DCMS in all communications, but is now the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”

Saves paying to have everything in the department rebranded. Though they’ll need to redo that logo, it’s missing a comma…

Hammond Bolsters Treasury SpAd Team

The Treasury is getting three new Special Advisers following the departure of Philip Hammond’s long-serving aides Graham Hook and Hayden Allan. As reported by the Sunday Times, Hammond has appointed former Treasury minister Jane Ellison, who lost her seat at the election, as an adviser to shore up his position in parliament.[…] Read the rest

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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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