Uh oh. Phil Hammond clumsily tells Marr “there are no unemployed people” – despite the number of unemployed being 1.42 million. In context itis clear he meant technology had not increased unemployment. He was forced to insist he hadn’t “forgotten” them. Labour will be banging on about this forever…
Here are seven words you can expect to hear a lot more of over the next few weeks and months: Guido understands the new Tory slogan is “Building a Britain fit for the future”. Theresa May used it three times at PMQs on Wednesday, telling the Commons: “this government is building a country fit for the future”, “we are building a Britain fit for the future” and “We in the Conservative Party are building a Britain that is fit for the future”. This morning the CCHQ Twitter account used the same phrase.
This looks like the new lead narrative for this government, the long-awaited new version of George Osborne’s successful “Long Term Economic Plan”. Tory MPs will be hoping it is accompanied by new policies delivering tangible results for voters and a clearer idea of what the Tories think Brexit Britain should look like. Does “building” suggest the major policy announcement in next week’s Budget could be a much sought after house building programme?
Tory MPs considered the pre-conference promise of 5,000 new homes a year derisory to the point of being insulting to voters. Good news is coming in the Budget, though. Number 10 chief of staff Gavin Barwell says in a rare tweet that Hammond is going to do “more” next week:
With exception of #housing bubble just before the crash, housebuilding now at highest level for a generation. Real progress but more to do
— Gavin Barwell (@GavinBarwell) November 16, 2017
And Sajid Javid adds this morning that the Chancellor is going to show a Churchillian drive to deliver “real action” on house building:
“Faced with the crisis of the Second World War, Churchill demanded “action this day” so the country could rise to the challenge. And, faced with an unprecedented housing crisis, that’s what you’re going to get from this government. Real action, day after day, week after week, to give this country a housing market that works for everyone. In next week’s Budget you’ll see just how seriously we take this challenge, just how hard we’re willing to fight to get Britain building.”
It is hard to exaggerate how annoyed senior Brexiters are by today’s Telegraph front page, which splashes on the faces of 15 Tory MPs and dubs them “the Brexit mutineers”. Prominent Leavers are tearing their hair out at how politically stupid this is and are at pains to make clear it doesn’t represent their views. It’s one thing taking apart Dominic Grieve’s arguments, but monstering 15 Remainers like this very obviously risks hardening their stance. Indeed the likes of Anna Soubry are already using it to rile up other Remain MPs. Brexit minister Steve Baker has tried to calm things by distancing Leavers from the Telegraph splash:
I regret any media attempts to divide our party. My Parliamentary colleagues have sincere suggestions to improve the Bill which we are working through and I respect them for that. https://t.co/t6r4ojKPbd
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) November 14, 2017
Brexiter Dominic Raab, who spoke for the government during last night’s debate, has also slapped down the front page:
I agree. Colleagues today were reasonable and constructive. We are working together to get this important legislation right. https://t.co/LUgfS3lRjB
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) November 14, 2017
Given the lack of political direction at the Telegraph it is likely they just have no idea what they are doing. Slightly maddening for this supposedly Brexit-backing paper to be helping Remain ultras like this…
Daniel Korski always had a hands on attitude to the creative industries when he was a Downing Street adviser. He was made a Commander of the British Empire by David Cameron for his service from 2010 to 2016. That is all.
Tory MPs Kemi Badenoch and James Cleverly have written to Jeremy Corbyn calling on him to investigate Emma Dent Coad and withdraw the whip:
We write to you as former members of the London Assembly, friends and colleagues of Shaun Bailey AM, and Members of Parliament.
The comments made by Ms Dent Coad in relation to Mr Bailey are unacceptable in any circumstance and particularly so from an elected representative. Your failure to condemn her comments is both disappointing and concerning.
Your silence is disappointing because it gives the impression that you are comfortable with the comments Ms Dent Coad made. It is concerning because it reinforces our belief that there are too many people in the Labour Party who see Conservatives from BAME backgrounds as “traitors” and, therefore, legitimate targets for abuse.
During the 2017 general election campaign, you claimed that “only Labour can unlock the talent of BAME people” a claim that was as inaccurate as it was insulting. This claim also betrays a belief that BAME people should feel indebted to the Labour Party. Indeed, just last night another of your MPs, Clive Lewis, claimed that you can’t be a Conservative and tackle racism – once again inaccurate and insulting.
Ms Dent Coad’s comments were made on social media and raise a number of questions that must be urgently addressed:
* Will you condemn the comments made by Emma Dent Coad?
* Why was Ms Dent Coad selected as a parliamentary candidate given these comments were made publicly before her selection?
* Will you now investigate this matter and do you intend to remove the whip from Ms Dent Coad during such an investigation?
Your party’s condescending attitude to BAME voters and candidates really must be addressed. Now is the time to do so.
Kemi Badenoch MP
James Cleverly MP
Kemi has also written an epic Twitter thread which Guido has reproduced below:
“I’m a black conservative. I don’t think every offensive comment is racism, but when I see real prejudice I have to call it out. Emma Dent Coad’s comments were profoundly distressing, and a toxic reminder of the struggle black people face daily in defeating stereotypes. The fact that she made them while an elected councillor is a disgrace. This is why it is still relevant to discuss today. The tragedy is that someone who holds these views is an MP, representing a sizeable black population, make no mistake, this is racism…
An assumption that there’s only one way to be black, and anyone who doesn’t conform is a “coconut” an “Uncle Tom” or a race traitor. It is a poisonous belief and destroys the lives of so many children. I once heard a black boy accuse another of “acting white”. Why? Because he wore glasses and liked reading. Imagine what it’s like being in a classroom where everyone thinks like that?
Where do such attitudes come from? From “Community leaders” like Ms Dent-Coad, who want to tell us what to think and how to behave. They haven’t given us permission to leave our ghettoes, be Conservative or make friends with posh white people. This was Shaun’s crime. This attitude traps many black children within imaginary boundaries they believe they aren’t allowed to cross. They end up living less than the very best lives they can.
I have read Clive Lewis’s awful remarks to Nimko Ali. Patronising and wrong-headed. Denying blacks a basic human right to support a party of their choosing. It’s the attitude I referred to in my conference speech -that you can’t be black and conservative. Emma Dent-Coad did NOT apologise for her offensive remarks, merely for Shaun being upset by them.
My message to young black people everywhere is please, please feel free to be who you want to be. Don’t let Labour’s stereotypes and low expectations hold you back and never let them treat you like black sheep who will always follow them.”
Well said. How will Labour respond?
Daisy Goodwin, creator of ITV series Victoria, says a senior Downing Street adviser put his hand on her breast when they met at Number 10 between 2010 and 2016. Goodwin tells the Radio Times the aide was a few years younger than her, so likely to be in his forties:
“The official, who was a few years younger than me, showed me into a room dominated by a portrait of Mrs T and we sat at a table carved, he told me, from one piece of wood. Then to my surprise he put his feet on my chair (we were sitting side by side) and said that my sunglasses made me look like a Bond girl.
At the end of the meeting we both stood up and the official, to my astonishment, put his hand on my breast. I looked at the hand and then in my best Lady Bracknell voice said: ‘Are you actually touching my breast?’ He dropped his hand and laughed nervously… I wasn’t traumatised, I was cross, but by the next day it had become an anecdote, The Day I Was Groped In Number 10.”
Former Downing Street aides have been speculating which of them can’t be left alone in a room…
Kensington Tories are continuing to handle Grenfell with their customary sensitivity. They’ve sent this questionnaire to voters asking “how important” the tragedy is to them on a scale of nought to ten: “0 – not important at all, 10 – very important”. What do you reckon…
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) November 12, 2017
Bang on from Gove, who gave Marr a passionate defence of Boris in the wake of increasingly hysterical point-scoring by his enemies. Gove argued:
“It’s plain wrong for us to try to find fault with democrats when the real responsibility is to say to the Iranian regime: you are a serial abuser of human rights, you are the principal sponsor of terrorism, you have blood on your hands in Syria, your responsibility is to insist that this British citizen is at liberty. We play their game, we play into the extremists’ hands if we do anything other than show solidarity in the face of their abuse of human rights.”
Look at those losing their minds about Boris this week: George Osborne’s Evening Standard, the Guardian, the Mirror, the Times, Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan, ultra Remain MPs and journalists. They are ignoring that Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin’s husband, has said: “It’s not in Nazanin’s interests to have the Foreign Secretary battling for his job”. And yet Boris’ political enemies are cynically trying to make the whole story about his career rather than Nazanin. They are more interested in attacking Boris than getting her home…
Female Brexiter out, female Brexiter in. Shows the new Chief Whip Julian Smith is taking decisions quickly and crucially is keen to promote women and fresh faces. Tory MPs and grassroots have been crying out for younger, punchier figures around the Cabinet table who can fight the fight – Penny is a true believer and the sort of person who the government should be looking to promote. Should also calm Leavers. Will be a popular appointment…
UPDATE: Sarah Newton is made Minister of State at DWP and hotly tipped 2015 intaker Victoria Atkins becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office.
Wheels down for Priti Patel at Heathrow, no time for duty free as she is quickly whisked into the waiting motorcade. Guido can confirm she has turned her phone on and gone online on WhatsApp:
She has also changed her WhatsApp status, referencing Nadhim Zahawi defending her as a “workaholic” on Newsnight last night:
Mark Garnier breaks his silence about those sex toys:
“The events of 2010 concerning myself and a former member of staff have been reported outside the context and circumstances in which they occurred.
“At the time we were friends, and I want to be clear that I did not force or pressure her into doing anything.
“It is right that the public expect high standards of behaviour from their elected representatives, and I apologise to my constituents that this situation has occurred.”
He’s not resigning…
Meanwhile Damian Green has inexplicably tweeted a photo of himself about to board a lifeboat. He needs one…
After the Jewish Chronicle reported that Number 10 knew about Priti Patel’s meeting with Bibi before they previously admitted and also ordered Priti to cover up details of two further meetings with Israeli officials, a Downing Street spokesman says the JC is wrong:
“It is not true that the Prime Minister knew about the International Development Secretary’s meeting with PM Netanyahu before Friday 3rd November. It is equally untrue to say that No 10 asked DfID to remove any meetings from the list they published this week.”
Not looking good for Priti, who is currently somewhere over Greece and due to land at Heathrow just after 3pm…
UPDATE: Flight Radar live on Sky News: ‘As you can see she’s currently somewhere over Albania…’
The word is Priti Patel never made it to Uganda and instead stayed overnight in Nairobi. There is speculation she is now flying back to London – could she be on the Nairobi to London flight which departed 6:30am UK time? Priti was last active on WhatsApp at 6:16am our time, so it looks like a possibility. You can follow the flight here. If so she’s due to land in London some time after 3pm…
UPDATE: Looks like Priti is without WiFi for the next eight hours:
Bad news. Priti Patel’s Kenya Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner does not have WiFi. She is not reading our tweets. pic.twitter.com/7pMqg0OgHu
— Alex Wickham (@WikiGuido) November 8, 2017
Andrew Rosindell has tabled an extremely sound Early Day Motion countering the hard-left’s celebration of the Russian revolution centenary. The motion will remind the House – and the Labour front bench in particular – of the murderous consequences of that fateful ‘revolution’ which ushered in decades of oppression and misery for millions. It reads:
“That this House notes, with great regret, that 7 November 2017 marks 100 years since Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution which subsequently demonstrated, time and again, that Communism is a murderous political ideology, incompatible with liberty, self-government and the dignity of human beings, and injurious to the national, ethnic and religious traditions of the world’s peoples; further notes that Communism subjected millions to theft, surveillance, terror and ultimate destruction; acknowledges that the cultural, political and economic legacy of Soviet Communism still negatively affects vast numbers of people today; and accordingly believes that the crimes of Communism, together with those of its mirror image, National Socialism, must forever serve as a warning to humanity of the terrible consequences of totalitarianism in all its forms.”
Will Corbyn put his name to this? Will any moderate Labour MPs dare to?
This is the extraordinary moment fearless Tory aide Chris Muspratt pursued Kieron Nickles, the vandal who had thrown a brick through the window of Andrew Rosindell’s car. Nickles testified that he had lost his temper after hearing “Vote Conservative” blaring out of Rosindell’s vehicle during the election campaign. The defence stated: “He believed it was a breach of the peace, and so picked up a brick from the garden, and put it through the window”. What Nickles didn’t bargain for was Rozza’s parliamentary assistant Muspratt giving chase, leading to not one but two nasty falls for the perpetrator and a demolished garden fence for a constituent. Nickles was yesterday given an 8 week curfew and ordered to pay £300 costs. Justice served…
The much-anticipated Sunday front pages make grim reading for the government. Theresa May’s de facto deputy Damian Green is tonight accused of having “extreme porn” found on one of his parliamentary computers. The Sunday Times says the discovery was made by cops when they raided Green’s office in 2008.[…] Read the rest