Bercow Apologises to Esther McVey

speaker-watch1

After a point of order from Tory MP Heather Wheeler, Bercow has apologised for his sexist “washing machine” jibe yesterday about Esther McVey:

“If I caused offence by what I said, I very happy apologise to that Member… It was an off the cuff remark, and may well have been a foolish one, and I apologise for it.”

Video to follow…

UPDATE:

ON GUIDO FIRST: Kensington Final Three



Guido is told Charlotte Vere, Shaun Bailey, and Victoria Borwick are in the final for Kensington….

Shock Kensington Olympic Contender

Wrong Laura Trott, Standard

Smear and Loathing in SW7

A colleague of Victoria Borwick, the current favourite to be the next Tory MP for Kensington, denies being behind an attempt to smear a rival candidate. The rumour was put about to the media yesterday – in writing – that “George Osborne’s private office” was calling up Kensington members to pressurise them to back No. 10 Special Adviser Laura Trott. N0. 11 sources deny outright that any such calls were made.

Apparently: “The call was pretty high pressure, and when I said I wanted a local candidate not some advisor I’d never heard of I was told quite clearly that “the Chancellor needs Laura in parliament.” It’s bad form, and I don’t think many members in Kensington are going to put up with it.”

It was said to have been a woman: “she said she’s from ‘the Chancellor’s office’. I felt very pressured and like I wasn’t allowed to disagree with her.”

When Guido put it to Borwick’s people, they simply said “Victoria doesn’t want to comment.”

We report, you decide.

UKIP Spoof Tories’ Salmond Poster

After the Tories’ poster showing Miliband in Salmond’s pocket, UKIP release their own version…

Jihadi Baddie Hosts Event in Parliament

Sayeeda Warsi and a host of Labour MPs attended the unveiling of a ‘Muslim Manifesto’ yesterday at an event on the parliamentary estate. Did they know it was organised by an ‘Islamic extremist’ who has praised Al-Qaeda?

Azad Ali is the Head of Community Engagement at Mend, an ‘anti-Islamophobia think tank’ which met yesterday to demand a “review [of] all counter-terrorism legislation enacted since 2000”.

Ali has previously written of his “love” of Al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki and was suspended from his job at the Treasury after he attempted to justify the murder of British troops. He has also admitted attending speeches by Al-Qaeda hate preacher Abu Qatada. Ali has previously been described as an “Islamic extremist” by an eminent expert in the field. 

Earlier this week, Mend defended CAGE, the extremist group linked to Jihadi John, accusing the media of “an attempt to discredit” them. Their event in parliament, which Ali live-tweeted, was attended by left-wing Labour MPs Yasmin Qureshi, Gerald Kaufman, Kate Green and Andy Slaughter.

So was Baroness Warsi, who said their “Muslim Manifesto is something you can take to your election candidates”. 

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth added: “I think this manifesto is really important and a great initiative. I will be studying it very carefully and I will be passing it on to our Shadow Cabinet”.

What was Azad Ali, a man who has professed his love for a senior Al-Qaeda leader, doing in the heart of parliament?

No Commons Debate Over Plain Packs

Plain packs will be slipped into law next week without so much as a debate in the Commons:

Parliamentary business for Monday 9 March 2015:
General Committee
4.30pm Twelfth Delegated Legislation Committee
Subject: Draft Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015
Location: Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster

“Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.” – Michael Crichton

Friday 13th For Kensington Selection

Standard reveal the dates:

“The Evening Standard understands that the local party will be given six names by Central Office next Tuesday and they will be allowed to whittle that list down to three. A party spokesman confirms this timetable, but wishes to emphasise that the initial six will be the product of ongoing discussions between the local party and party HQ. The chosen three will then pitch to members and face a vote three days later at the Town Hall, next Friday. The local member says security will be “very tight” so only members of the association who live within the Kensington constituency (and not those in neighbouring Chelsea and Fulham) can get in.”

Lucky day for one…

Former Tory MP Denies “Rent Boy Ring” As Cops Search Home

Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor tells the Today programme he wants to be interviewed by police “at the earliest opportunity” after his home was searched by police investigating allegations of child abuse. He says he “never attended sex parties” and was not part of a “rent boy ring”…

Kensington Deadline Noon Today

The next MP for Kensington has until noon today to submit their 500 word candidate application for the seat. There is increasing chatter around local boy and former Boris adviser Kulveer Ranger, who is believed to be in the running though has to overcome the not inconsiderable obstacle of being a man. Guido understands there has been an unprecedented level of entries from candidates for the seat. These will be whittled down to a final three, who will then be presented to the association in the coming weeks. Two hours til deadline…

Clegg and Cameron at Sixes and Sevens

Red magazine have been quizzing the party leaders…

Tell us in six words why we should vote Lib Dem?

“Stronger economy. Fairer society. Opportunity for all.”

Yep, that would be seven words.

Tell us in six words why we should vote Conservative?

“Security for you, your family and country.”

Yep, that would also be seven words.

It must be a coalition thing…

Boxgate: Proof Party Leader Stood on Box for Photo-Op

A concerned wee reader gets in touch regarding the use of boxes by politicians in photo-ops:

“At just 5’5” and with our MEP, Ian Duncan, and David Cameron being well over 6 foot, I confess I’m perched on a box of jump leads I retrieved from the boot of my car in this pic taken at Loch Lomond last year. However, the PM is such a gentleman that when we last had our picture taken at Number 10, he slipped off his shoes so that I didn’t look just quite so short.

There’s the difference – Miliband bigging himself up in front of men, while Cameron is more than happy to be a gentleman to women…”

Thanks for clearing that one up, Ruth from Scotland…

Boxgate Goes Box Office at PMQs

Ed’s leaflet woes and Guido’s important boxgate scoop got the full box office treatment at PMQs today:

PM: “We’re all starting to think about leaflets, I’ve got a little question. Apparently you can go round to his office and he stands on his soapbox to make him look a little bit taller. Let’s ask, how many people are going to put the leader of the opposition on their leaflets?”

Well it looks like David Cameron got his “daily dose” of Guido yesterday.

UPDATE: In Vine form:

Kensington Rumour Mill: Late New Entry

There’s a surprise new entry in the race to be the next Tory MP for Kensington: the glamorous union-slayer Simone Finn. Despite being an adviser to the Cabinet Office, Finn is not currently seen as the “Downing Street candidate” and has business background. But the mother of two is an old friend of Dave’s. Regular readers will remember her though as being central to Frankie Maude’s trade union reforms. She’s feisty…

Dr No Majority

Unfortunate positioning of the gun at the Tory fundraiser at the Film Museum’s Bond Exhibition in Covent Garden last night. Shurely shome mishtake…

Sol Campbell Drops Out of Kensington Race

Must be because he’s a man. Or perhaps the fact he couldn’t even get the name of the constituency right is more telling. Though that carefully worded statement suggests he might be up for a mayoral run

When Dave Met Sebastian From Little Britain

David Walliams tells MailOnline what happened when he met the PM:

“Because I’m taller than him, I offered to stand on a lower step so we wouldn’t look odd together – he’s a tall man but I’m ridiculously tall.

He’s the Prime Minister so he should be the one who is most powerful-looking. He told me not to flick my hair like my character Sebastian, who flirted with the PM relentlessly.

And, of course, I immediately did it. It’s almost like I’ve got Tourette’s. When I’m told not to do something, I have to do it.”

Whatevah!

Classic “Don’t Let The Other Party Wreck It” Campaign Poster

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They say there are only two types of political campaigns, “Time for Change” and “Don’t let the other guy wreck it”. Can you guess from the new poster above which one Lynton Crosby is running?

Guido vaguely remembers a wrecking ball featuring in a previous Tory campaign which he can’t find, though it is a bit reminiscent of this old Saatchi poster:

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Or maybe it is a Mileyish wrecking Balls?

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Last image courtesy of @GeneralBoles

Tory Stunts: Sol Campaign Sparks Spurs Backlash

Guido’s revelation earlier today that the Tories were using Sol Campbell to campaign in Spurs’ backyard of Enfield has upset plenty of voters, but local MP Nick De Bois is defending the stunt:

Clearly no one from CCHQ was at White Hart Lane when they released 4,000 balloons with the word Judas on them to celebrate last time Sol was in town:

Back of the net.

Campbell Sells His Sol to the Tories

Yesterday Sol Campbell said he was taking things “step by step” when asked on Sky if he would run in Kensington. Today Tory HQ have already got him putting his name to cringey campaign emails to young activists inviting them to campaign in Enfield, less than 5 miles from White Hart Lane, home of Spurs:

From: Sol Campbell 
Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 12:06 PM
Subject: Your chance to defend for England
To: xxx

Dear xxx

I know what it’s like to work hard, and to keep fighting right through to the 90th minute.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

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