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. Tim Pitt is moving to the Treasury from the Ministry of Justice. He worked with the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss at the MoJ, and is expected to have a combined role advising Hammond and Truss. Kane Daniell, an enterprising CCHQ aide, is also expected to move to the Treasury.

Get in touch with any updates…

Davis Not Going Soft: Still Backs Ending ECJ Jurisdiction

Contrary to weekend reports David Davis remains fully supportive of the government’s policy to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. On Saturday Davis’ ex-SpAd James Chapman said his former boss had been “hamstrung” by the commitment to leave the ECJ. Today’s Guardian claims there has been a “dramatic change of mood at DExEU since the general election”, erroneously suggesting Davis is now willing to make concessions on sovereignty and concede “political control“. These interventions are wide of the mark and do not represent Davis’ views, according to sources close to him.

The Brexit Secretary remains fully committed to the PM’s Lancaster House speech, which vowed to “bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain” and not “accept a role for the European Court of Justice that would see it still having direct legal authority in our country”. It is worth remembering that Davis himself set the ECJ red line in March, insisting there will be

“.. no future role for the European court in the interpretation of our laws and the bill will not oblige our courts to consider cases decided by the European Court of Justice after we have left..”

Allies of Davis insist he is not going soft on this key Brexit issue and say any suggestion to the contrary is mischief-making by anti-Brexit elements of the press. Indeed a DExEU spokesman flat out denied the Guardian’s story. A source says that Hammond, Davis, Boris and May are in agreement on all the major aspects of Brexit. Boris in particular would not countenance any backsliding on the ECJ issue. Chappers might be Davis’ former spinner but he is also an avowed Remainer, allies of DD find the notion he is still speaking for his former boss unlikely – to put it mildly. The key players agree on the overriding point that if the UK is still subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ then we will have not taken back control…

Gove: We’re Taking Back Control of Our Waters

SpAd List Latest: Sun Man In, Sun Man Out

Quite a few changes to the SpAd List since our last update. Chris Wilkins is the de facto Downing Street Director of Communications. He was May’s strategy chief and is highly thought of inside Number 10, though he is unknown to the Lobby. His job title – like the job titles of other Number 10 advisers – has been up in the air over the last few weeks. With the Queen’s Speech out of the way confirmation should soon be forthcoming. Bright Bluer James Marshall is the new policy chief, replacing ousted John Godfrey. The Prime Minister’s press secretary since the election has been former Sun man Craig Woodhouse. He is leaving government in the summer as was always the intention – Woodhouse is well-regarded in Westminster and will not be short of offers in the private sector. That means May still needs another press aide. 

One Sun man out, another Sun man in. The paper’s head of PR and leader writer Dylan Sharpe was due to join Damian Green before May called the snap election. The move is still on: post-reshuffle Sharpe will be moving with Green to the Cabinet Office.

Michael Fallon has hired Rob Oxley, CCHQ’s head of news during the election, as his new SpAd at the MoD. Oxley used to spin for Priti Patel at DfiD and was one of the main players at Vote Leave during the referendum.

There are at least seven or eight posts to fill at Number 10, Hammond still needs one or two more SpAds and Davis Davis still needs another SpAd, as does Priti. Full list below:

Get in touch with any updates…

Elphicke Running For Treasury Chair on Populist Ticket

Some new runners and riders in the select committee chairmanship stakes. Charlie Elphicke has thrown his hat into the ring for Treasury select committee chair, running as the populist candidate who would turn the committee into a story factory “across the media from tabloid to TV”. After all, why should the Public Accounts committee have all the fun. He is a former tax lawyer and PAC member so Philip Hammond could expect to face significant scrutiny. Make the Treasury Select Committee Great Again?

Elsewhere, Defence select committee chair Julian Lewis faces a challenge from up-and-comer Johnny Mercer. Bercow’s best mate Lewis hasn’t exactly been an inspiration and the committee may benefit from a sexier chair – Mercer is on the up, increasingly has the respect of colleagues and is certainly one to watch. Couple of weeks until election day…

Tory MPs Boycott Channel 4 News Over Jon Snow Bias

The general consensus among Tory MPs Guido has spoken to over the last few days is why should they bother appearing on Channel 4 News if their main anchor thinks it appropriate to shout “f**k the Tories”? A view taken by Grant Shapps when he was asked to go on last night. Snow-gate is now preventing C4 News from having a balance of guests… starting to become a problem for editor Ben de Pear…

May on Brown: “Control Freak… Meaningless Soundbites… Absolute Disaster”

Back in 2007 the Shadow Leader of the Commons, one Theresa May, wrote a cutting assessment of Gordon Brown’s first six months as PM for ConHome. Ten years on, the ironies are quite something…

Meaningless soundbites: “Brown is the master of the meaningless soundbite, an initiative a day… Well, if as Chancellor he was the master of the meaningless soundbite, as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has surpassed himself.” Not so strong and stable eh…

Control freak: “It’s a controlling thing – [Brown] thinks he has to control everything… Charles Clarke might have said this in public, but I’m sure David Miliband and Lord West are saying just the same thing in private. Can you think of any other foreign secretary who has had his speech torn up and re-written by Downing Street? Can you think of a minister who has had such an obvious dressing down as when Lord West said that the case for extending 28 days had not yet been made?” Ministers serving under May’s own control freak regime will find this particularly hilarious…

Psychological flaws: “You know Gordon, he feels so vulnerable and insecure. He has these psychological flaws… When Gordon Brown let the speculation about an early general election get out of hand, only to back down when he saw the opinion polls, there must have been much mirth amongst the Blairites.  The arrogance, the dithering, followed by the pathetic climbdown was just the sort of behaviour they had predicted.” Because Theresa would never make an arrogant decision about an election based on opinion polls…

Macavity quality: “The Chancellor has a Macavity quality. He is not there when there is dirty work to be done… Macavity the Cat has been at it again this week.  Knowing that the public hate the renamed European Constitution, and knowing that he has broken his manifesto promise to hold a referendum, Gordon Brown really didn’t want to be photographed signing the treaty with the other European heads of government.  So, he agreed to go to the Liaison Committee for his evidence session, knowing it clashed, and deliberately double-booking himself.” Not like May to go missing at important moments…

Team player? “The idea that he’s a team player is utterly ludicrous’ (former Permanent Secretary)… in his regular press conference, the Prime Minister studiously refused to back Harriet Harman – deliberately using her as a human shield.” Another one that will have Cabinet ministers laughing. Penny for Philip Hammond’s thoughts on the press conference reference…

Absolute disaster: “It would be an absolute f*cking disaster if Gordon Brown was Prime Minister’ (government minister, reported to be John Hutton)… Well I probably wouldn’t use the same language as John Hutton, but with the first run on a British bank for 140 years, the HMRC lost data fiasco, and his own Party facing a criminal investigation, it’s pretty hard to disagree with the sentiment.” Ahem.

Bring back Blair: “Looking at the opinion polls, I don’t think another Labour leader is what the general public want – but it seems clear that they can’t stand that Gordon Brown.” Now it is Tory MPs who are privately joking “bring back Dave”…

Funny how things work out…

Job Number 6 For Professor Osborne

Congratulations to George Osborne on job number six: he has just been appointed an economics professor at the University of Manchester.

  1. Washington Speakers Bureau after-dinner speaker
  2. Adviser to Blackrock
  3. Chairman of Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  4. Fellow at McCain Institute
  5. Editor of the Evening Standard
  6. Economics professor, Manchester University

Is George the best person to be teaching economics? Students will be wary of his previous forecasts: 500,000 to 820,000 jobs lost after the Leave vote (wrong), recession (wrong), wages falling by 2.8% (wrong), house prices hit by 10% (wrong). Undergrads will need to do better than their new professor’s Treasury paper to pass…

New PPS List in Full

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service
Rt Hon Theresa May MP – George Hollingbery MP and Seema Kennedy MP

HM Treasury
Chancellor of the Exchequer – Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP – Kwasi Kwarteng MP
Ministerial team – Suella Fernandes MP and Chris Philp MP

Home Office
Secretary of State for the Home Department – Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP – Robert Jenrick MP
Minister of State – Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP – James Cleverly MP
Ministerial team – Nusrat Ghani MP and Simon Hoare MP

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP – Conor Burns MP
Ministerial team – Amanda Milling MP

Ministry of Defence
Secretary of State for Defence – Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP – Oliver Dowden MP
Ministerial team – Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP

Ministry of Justice
Lord Chancellor, and Secretary of State for Justice – Rt Hon David Lidington MP – Lucy Frazer QC MP
Ministerial team – Alan Mak MP

Department for Education
Secretary of State for Education, and Minister for Women and Equalities – Rt Hon Justine Greening MP – Helen Whately MP
Ministerial team – Luke Hall MP

Department for Exiting the European Union
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – Rt Hon David Davis MP – Gareth Johnson MP
Ministerial team – Jeremy Quin MP

Department for International Trade
Secretary of State for International Trade, and President of the Board of Trade – Rt Hon Liam Fox MP – Tom Pursglove MP
Ministerial team – Mike Wood MP

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Rt Hon Greg Clark MP – Kelly Tolhurst MP
Ministerial team – Rishi Sunak MP

Department of Health
Secretary of State for Health – Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP – Jo Churchill MP
Ministerial team – James Cartlidge MP

Department for Work and Pensions
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Rt Hon David Gauke MP – Peter Heaton-Jones MP
Ministerial team – Huw Merriman MP

Department for Transport
Secretary of State for Transport – Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP – James Heappey MP
Ministerial team – Scott Mann MP

Department for Communities and Local Government
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP – Mims Davies MP
Ministerial team – Kevin Foster MP

Office of the Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Commons – Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP – Victoria Prentis MP

Office of the Leader of the House of Lords
Lord Privy Seal, and Leader of the House of Lords – Rt Hon Baroness Evans of Bowes Park – Victoria Atkins MP

Scotland Office
Secretary of State for Scotland – Rt Hon David Mundell MP – Alberto Costa MP

Wales Office
Secretary of State for Wales – Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP – Glyn Davies MP

Northern Ireland Office
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP – David Morris MP

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Rt Hon Michael Gove MP – Kevin Hollinrake MP
Ministerial team – Rebecca Pow MP

Department for International Development
Secretary of State for International Development – Rt Hon Priti Patel MP – Wendy Morton MP
Ministerial team – Michael Tomlinson MP

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP – Matt Warman MP
Ministerial team – Nigel Huddleston MP

Cabinet Office
First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office – Rt Hon Damian Green MP – James Morris MP
Ministerial team – Will Quince MP

Attorney General’s Office
Attorney General – Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP – Michelle Donelan MP

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Conservative Party Chairman – Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP – Edward Argar MP

New Tory MP Winks at PM

Did the new member for Aldershot Leo Docherty wink at Theresa May as he asked his first PMQ today? Smoothie…

May: Cladding Began Under Blair Government

After Corbyn blamed the Grenfell fire on austerity – and by implication the Tories – Theresa May claimed that the cladding of buildings happened under Labour during the Blair years. Never let the facts get in the way of an opportunity to rile things up, eh Jezza…

Tory MP Reveals Hard-Left Intimidation

Tory MP Sheryll Murray says that during the election campaign swastikas were carved into her posters, social media posts called for her to be stabbed and people urinated on her office door. Notable that Labour MPs heckled as Murray revealed the extent of hard-left intimidation… 

Housing Minister Takes Pasting From Angry Grenfell Residents

Alok Sharma only got the housing brief the day before the Grenfell fire. Today he was on BBC2‘s Victoria Derbyshire programme to face questions from very angry residents, live on air. Brave decision to put him up…

Davis: Transition Must Be Over By 2022

Yesterday Guido told you Leave Tories were willing to support the government on a so-called ‘clean Brexit with a soft-landing’, with transitional arrangements and a departure date before the next election. Today David Davis has confirmed Brexit will be complete by 2022 as “the most important thing is it’s got to be done before the election”. Consensus among Leave Tories and government…

May Tells EU Citizens: “We Want You to Stay”

Cameroons Disagree on DUP

David Cameron tweeted his endorsement of Theresa May’s deal, ordering Tory MPs to get behind the PM:

Seems Dave’s old team didn’t get the memo. Here’s George Osborne’s front page:

Guido can give you Photoshop lessons, George. Meanwhile Cameron’s old comms chief Craig Oliver is also slagging off the arrangement:

Not listening to the boss anymore…

Labour Promised More Cash For Northern Ireland in 2010

Labour are complaining today that Northern Ireland should not get more funding than other parts of the UK and that May has given them a deal “to help her cling to power”.

“Where is the money for the Tory-DUP deal coming from? And, will all parts of the UK receive the much needed additional funding that Northern Ireland will get as part of the deal? This Tory-DUP deal is clearly not in the national interest but in May’s party’s interest to help her cling to power.”

Almost gotta admire the hypocrisy…

In 2010 Gordon Brown wrote to the DUP seeking a deal to help him cling to power. He guaranteed money for Northern Ireland and implied Northern Ireland would need more cash than the rest of the UK:

“I am writing to confirm my continued commitment to the block grant for Northern Ireland for the current financial year and to confirm the financial settlement for the budget of the newly established Department of Justice… As you know, I believe it is an imperative to stabilise the economic recovery in Northern Ireland…. I recognise that the legacy of the past will make this more difficult to achieve in the coming months than we may expect in other parts of the United Kingdom. This is a challenge we must all meet. The achievements made by you and the political leaders of Northern Ireland have been an example to us all. I remain firmly committed to doing all I can to support this momentous progress and you can count on my continued support.”

In 2015 Labour under Miliband did the same. Read Gordon’s letter to the DUP, there are lots of similarities with May’s words today…

Leave Tories Support Time-Limited “Soft Landing” Brexit

Tory Leavers will support the government on interim Brexit arrangements lasting two or three years so long as the period is strictly time-limited and cannot be extended. Leave-supporting ministers and MPs say they back the government’s plan for a so-called “softer landing”, arguing it is both sensible and necessary to achieve a proper Brexit outside the single market and customs union. Yesterday leading Brexiter and Open Europe chairman Lord Wolfson called for a “smooth” rather than “rushed” departure process. The feeling among Tory Leavers is that the destination is the same – a clean, open Brexit – but there will be a “softer” journey to get there. 

Suella Fernandes, the new head of the influential European Research Group of 80 Leave Tory MPs, tells Guido:

“It is entirely pragmatic and sensible, as we do with other legislation, for there to be a strictly time-limited interim implementation phase, but by no means should that be read as a cover up for staying in.”

Leave MPs have two main conditions for supporting an interim arrangement. They say it is crucial the period is “time-limited” – that an irrevocable departure date is set and cannot be extended. Their fear is that without a time-limit continuity Remainers and civil servants will aim for “permanent transition” or repeated delays to ultimately keep the UK inside the EU. Leavers also 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. This means an interim period of two or three years, over well in time for 2022.

The Remain media’s focus on “soft” versus “hard” Brexit has been misleading. Everyone in government including Philip Hammond agrees on a destination outside the single market and customs union. It is the journey that is interesting – Hammond and Leavers now agree on a “softer landing”, so long as the transition is short and time-limited. Expect UKIP to complain (they have to, or else they have nothing to say). But so long as Leave MPs’ conditions are met this seems to Guido a sensible approach for a smooth, real Brexit…

Deal Done! May Hands DUP £1 Billion

Arlene Foster drives a hard bargain, especially considering the Tories didn’t need a formal deal for the government to survive. £ rising on the news…

UPDATE: You can download and read the deal in full here. Additional details of UK government financial support for Northern Ireland have also been released. It is intended to last for the entire length of the parliament…

UPDATE II: Key details:

+ £400m for Northern Ireland infrastructure

+ £150m for superfast broadband

+ £100m for immediate health and education pressures

+ £200m for health service transformation

+ £50m for mental health

+£100m for relieving deprivation

UPDATE III: TaxPayers’ Alliance slams the deal:

“Taxpayers resent politicians cooking up deals behind closed doors that invariably end with their cash being thrown wherever is politically advantageous rather than where it could be best spent. The unfair way in which money is allocated between the Home Nations has been clear for decades, best illustrated by the significantly higher levels of public spending in Scotland than in considerably poorer parts of England. But until there is a major decentralisation of tax raising powers, Westminster politicians will always have ultimate control of the purse strings and be able to dish out taxpayers’ cash in a way that benefits them more than the general public.”

Theresa May and the Holy Grail

Via Insiders ABC
[…] Read the rest


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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”


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