Corbynistas Board Outrage Bus Over Toby Young Appointment

It seems the way to virtue signal that you are a Tory-hating lefty in 2018 is to jump on the outrage bus about Toby Young’s appointment to the Office for Students board. Some of the abuse and whinging from Corbynistas upset that someone with right-of-centre views has got the job is just unhinged. Paul Mason for example is claiming Toby “despises working class kids”. Not a great attack line given he has helped set up four state schools educating 2,000 children, with more than a third at his secondary school eligible for the pupil premium. What has Paul Mason done to help working class kids?

The next moan is that Toby isn’t qualified for the job and that he is unsuitable because he is of the right. Danny Blanchflower, the economist who always gets everything wrong, has even suggested universities should refuse to have anything to do with the Office for Students until he is fired. Guido supposes he is entirely unqualified apart from having worked at Harvard and Cambridge, being a visiting fellow of the University of Buckingham, a Fulbright Commissioner, co-founder of four free schools and director of the New Schools Network.

And as for being political, lefty tweeters don’t seem to have a problem with the chair of the Office for Students Michael Barber being a former adviser to the last Labour government. Quangos are stuffed with lefties and Labour supporters across the board, it is just hypocritical for them to oppose a mainstream centre-right educationalist taking a position. Philip Blond makes a sensible point:


Almost as if it’s all faux outrage just so Owen Jones, Paul Mason et al can get some retweets…

Boris’ Holiday Car Trouble

MPs on their Christmas holidays update: The EyeSpyMP Twitter account has spotted a frustrated Foreign Secretary gesticulating at the car hire desk in Turin airport:

We’ve all been there…

Chris Pincher and Stephen Crabb Cleared

Attempting to untuck the shirt of a Olympic rower is not a breach of the Tory code of conduct:

“Following media allegations, Chris Pincher referred himself to our Code of Conduct. Following an investigation, a panel headed by an independent QC considered the evidence and has concluded there has not been a breach of the Code of Conduct.”

Tories getting all these out over the Christmas news lull…

UPDATE: Stephen Crabb also off the hook. A Conservative Party spokesman said:

“Following an investigation, a panel headed by an independent QC has concluded that Mr. Crabb’s behaviour did not constitute harassment. However, it found that his behaviour in this matter was inappropriate and fell short of the standards the Party expects.

“The Party Chairman has reminded Mr. Crabb of the need to adhere to the spirit and letter of the Code of Conduct at all times. He accepted this unreservedly and has made a full apology.”

Mark Garnier Cleared

Number 10 say:

“Following allegations of sexual misconduct, the Prime Minister asked the Cabinet Office to look into the behaviour of Mark Garnier MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade. The Cabinet Office’s investigation primarily considered Mr Garnier’s behaviour as a Minister, but also heard evidence from before he was appointed to government. 

The Cabinet Office concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Garnier’s conduct as a Minister since 2016 had breached the expected standards of behaviour. The Prime Minister’s view is therefore that Mr Garnier did not break the Ministerial Code while holding government office.

“The Cabinet Office also took evidence in relation to an incident that happened before Mr Garnier was a Minister, between Mr Garnier and a member of his parliamentary and constituency staff. The Cabinet Office concluded that there was no dispute about the facts of the incident, but there was a significant difference of interpretation between the parties, and that the member of staff in Mr Garnier’s office was distressed by what had occurred.

“It was not his intention to cause distress, and Mr Garnier has apologised unreservedly to the individual. On that basis the Prime Minister considers that a line should be drawn under the issue.”

Turns out the ministerial code says you can’t lie about porn but you can ask your researcher to buy sex toys…

Damian Green Resigns

The PM’s deputy goes after Sue Gray’s report found he breached the ministerial code…

Olney’s Remain Trolls Wish Zac a “Cancerous New Year”

This is what Zac Goldsmith received in the post this morning. It ain’t just Remain MPs receiving abuse…

Damian Green Report (Finally) Imminent

The Damian Green decision has been “imminent” at various points over the last 10 days depending on which paper you read. Guido understands that the final evidence was taken earlier this week and we are finally at the point where the findings can be announced. Green is answering questions about Brexit to the Lords EU committee at 2:15 pm. Everyone wants this wrapped up as soon as possible, Sue Gray’s report could be published as soon as this evening or tomorrow. 

Green’s survival comes down to how he and Number 10 answer the following: Did he lie? Did he break the ministerial code? Has he had any other inappropriate workplace relationships? Did he brief the press about Kate Maltby? Did anyone in Number 10 know about any of this before it became public? If the answer to any of these is yes, things are going to get messy…

Tory Stars Court Young Activists at Xmas Bash

Big turnout at a Christmas bash for young Tories in Westminster last night, where 100 enjoyed wine and mince pies, with another 200 on the waiting list. A dozen MPs came along to the venue on Smith Square; speeches from movers and shakers James Cleverly (who reminded the room of the role of young people in preventing a socialist government), George Freeman and Priti Patel were well received.

A lot of excited discussion about the future direction of youth movement within the party. Who knows, maybe the Tories might even have a youth-wing in 2018?

Minister’s Christmas Prophy-Laugh-Tic

Health minister Steve Brine with a festive response to a question about condom usage…

Anne Marie Morris Not Dreaming of a White Christmas

Tory MP Anne Marie Morris continues her rehabilitation… subtlety never was her strong point.

Tory MP: Brexit Rebels Betrayed Voters

Tory MP Henry Smith reflecting the feelings of the vast majority of his colleagues…

Anne Marie Morris Has Whip Restored

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for using such inappropriate and offensive language. The whip has been returned to me today. I feel proud and privileged to be a Conservative Member of Parliament and I will continue to serve my community and my country to the best of my ability.”

After months of lecturing Labour about how they deal with race row MPs and candidates, the Tories restore the whip to Anne Marie Morris…

‘May Not Bringing Brexiteers With Her’

Pretty damning analysis from the Telegraph’s Juliet Samuel about the situation between Brexiteers and Number 10. Let’s hope this can all be resolved amicably when the Cabinet meets to discuss the end state later this month…

Osborne Doesn’t Rule Out Return To Parliament

George Osborne didn’t rule out a return to parliament at his press gallery lunch today. The Evening Standard editor gave a lively speech and when asked if he would return to parliament he said: “I don’t rule it out”. But he did rule out joining the NUJ…

Osborne had the following to say:

On Boris: “A pretty effective mayor of London.” 

On the Tory leadership: “It is the consensus party view that there will be a Conservative Leader contest this parliament.”

On Corbyn: “If the Labour movement was led by a social democrat of even middling ability they would now be 20 points ahead in the polls.”

On Freezergate: Taught him “a thing or two about editorial conference.”

On why Remain lost: “We looked like the establishment.”

On the importance of the metropolitan elite: If the Tories are “anti-modern and anti-metropolitan then people will be anti-us.”

Mayoral bid or return to the Commons? A George / Amber / Ruth Remoaner dream team…

H/T The Lobby

Boris: Whole of UK Must Take Back Control

Boris put it simply in the Q&A after his speech today:

“Whatever way we devise for getting onto the body of the talks, it’s got to be consistent with the whole of the United Kingdom taking back control of our laws, of our borders and of our cash.”

Close alignment does not sound like taking back control. Worrying this needs to be said 18 months on from the referendum…

‘One Week to Stop a Soft Brexit’, Barwell Failing to Hold it Together

Two columns today show just how serious things are between Number 10 and the Brexiteers. In the Speccie James Forsyth quotes a leading Vote Leave figure warning there is “a week to fight back” against a soft Brexit. His piece blames the whole clusterf**k on a “hopelessly understaffed” Downing Street, “a general lack of direction and grip” and the vacuum caused by Damian Green’s distractions. In the Times Iain Martin is even more damning, he says Number 10 “resembles a morgue” and names Gavin Barwell as “struggling to hold it all together”Yesterday Guido told how May is being bounced by Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins into a non-Brexit which prevents us from diverging from the EU – this is now the crunch issue.

Cabinet Brexiteers do not believe Theresa May wants to sell them out on Brexit. However they think May, Barwell and Number 10 do not understand the implications of the direction they are taking on regulatory alignment. Leavers are genuinely raging that there is no one in charge and the lack of leadership in Downing Street has allowed Heywood and Robbins to dictate the process and shift them towards a soft Brexit. Tories are even muttering wistfully that Nick Timothy would never have stood for this – it is a sign of how bad things are that some are almost longing for the days he was in charge. The Cabinet reckoning on the Brexit end state is promised before the end of the year. May has delayed it to hold her government together but in doing so her indecisiveness and caution has allowed the Remainers to walk her towards a non-Brexit.

The Vote Leave figure says there is a week to fight back against a soft Brexit. The other way of looking at it is May has a week to save herself from the consequences of taking the wrong path… 

Santa Bone Delivers Presents in Brussels

A lot of work has clearly gone into Peter Bone’s excellent Christmas card this year. Think we have an idea what he thinks we should give them in the Brexit bill…

Hammond: We’ll Pay Divorce Bill Even If There’s No Deal

Well done Phil, great negotiating tactic.

Hammond: We Don’t Know What We Want From Brexit End State

Philip Hammond has confirmed to the Treasury select committee that the Cabinet still hasn’t discussed what the Brexit end state will look like, i.e. whether it will be the convergence non-Brexit preferred by him, Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins, or a real Brexit in which we properly diverge from the EU. It has been 18 months since the referendum, it’s mad the Cabinet has not even discussed what Brexit Britain will look like. If the government has no idea on the end state, are they even ready to move onto the next stage of talks?

May Promises Mogg Red Lines Aren’t Turning Pink

May tells Brexiteer Tory MPs that the red lines set out in her Lancaster House speech remain…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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