Nadine on Ten Years of Osborne

Three years after she called him an “arrogant posh boy”, Nads has torn Osborne a new one, again:

Jo Coburn: Could he be the next leader?

Nadine Dorries: Over… I would say the answer to that would be no.

JC: So really, George Osborne… is still privileged and out of touch in your mind?

ND: Look, George Osborne has spent the last ten years giving out sweeties to Conservative backbenchers, Labour Party people do it running for leadership as well. Sort of buying the friends, giving out the jobs. He’s run out of jobs to be able to give to people. He’s spent ten years buying votes on the backbenches, and the frontbenches too because he’s made those people into positions, so that one day they will vote for George Osborne to be leader. If that happens then I think what we need to do really, in all parties, is look at how our political system works because I don’t think it’s right that anybody of privilege should be able to come into parliament and use their privilege and their education, their background, in order to secure their career progression into the role of Prime Minister in the future. Because if George Osborne becomes Prime Minister, that is how he has done it.

JC: Would you leave the Party at that point?

ND: Well, we may have this discussion another day Jo.

So… put her down as a maybe?

REVEALED: Muslim Convert’s Threats to Tory MP

Muhammad Mujahid Islam, a Muslim convert whose birth name is Craig Wallace, was in court today accused of posting threatening comments to Tory MP Charlotte Leslie. Guido can reveal Islam’s Facebook posts made the day after the Syria vote, in which he threatens to “smash her windows then drop a bomb on her hoyse [sic]”.

In a separate abusive post, Islam makes another violent threat:

No prizes for guessing which politician he does like, though:

He pleaded guilty and was remanded in custody…

Cameron: #YouAintNoMuslimBruv

Full version:

Tory MP Doctors Constituent’s Email Adding ‘Death Threat’

Yesterday, Telford Tory MP Lucy Allan posted on her Facebook page an abusive email from a constituent she named as “Rusty from Dawley“. According to Allan, the final line of Rusty’s email contained the shocking threat: “there is no hope… unless you die”. This is Allan’s post:

Shortly afterwards, a Facebook follower commented on Allan’s post, revealing himself as the sender and claiming the MP had doctored his message and added the line “unless you die”. He strongly denied making the potentially criminal “die” comment.

Surely a serving MP would not doctor a constituent’s email?

Guido can reveal “Rusty“‘s email to Lucy Allan in full. It is relatively rude, but it does not contain the crucial “unless you die” line.

Allan has since deleted her original post. She has posted an explanation, admitting that she had edited Rusty‘s email and added the “unless you die” line herself. She claims she received the comment separately later on, yet she added it to Rusty‘s email anyway:

Lucy Allan denies she ‘doctored’ any email but tells Guido this morning:

“I took the unpleasant stuff from one of his emails and posted it on my Facebook to expose some of the relentless stuff we get. More stuff then came back by response, which I then added to my original post. I added more of the abuse received to my face book”

She would not say whether or not the “unless you die” comment also came from “Rusty“. So she edited an email from a constituent to include a death threat she says she received later on, from someone else. What on earth was she thinking?

Feldman’s Record Breaking Disapproval Swing

Beleagured Lord Feldman’s Tory bullying troubles have not gone unnoticed among party members. The Tory chairman has suffered a record-breaking 53 point drop in his net satisfaction rating among ConHome readers, the largest one month fall ever recorded. He is also the first to have a negative approval rating this parliament. ‘Red Hot’ Rob Halfon also took a battering and is down to second from bottom. How’s that whole buck-stopping-with-Shapps thing working out for ya?

Read: Government’s War Motion in Full

ISIL IN SYRIA (UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION

The Prime Minister
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
Secretary Theresa May
Secretary Philip Hammond
Secretary Michael Fallon
Secretary Justine Greening

That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an ‘unprecedented threat to international peace and security’ and calls on states to take ‘all necessary measures’ to prevent terrorist acts by ISIL and to ‘eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria’; further notes the clear legal basis to defend the UK and our allies in accordance with the UN Charter; notes that military action against ISIL is only one component of a broader strategy to bring peace and stability to Syria; welcomes the renewed impetus behind the Vienna talks on a ceasefire and political settlement; welcomes the Government’s continuing commitment to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees; underlines the importance of planning for post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in Syria; welcomes the Government’s continued determination to cut ISIL’s sources of finance, fighters and weapons; notes the requests from France, the US and regional allies for UK military assistance; acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties, using the UK’s particular capabilities; notes the Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide quarterly progress reports to the House; and accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government In taking military action, specifically airstrikes, exclusively against ISIL in Syria; and offers its wholehearted support to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

How would you vote? Have your say here…

Tory MP Fails Five Times to Clarify Feldman Claim

12 days ago, Tory MP Ben Howlett disputed Lord Feldman’s claim that he was “wholly unaware” of the Mark Clarke allegations prior to August, insisting his party chairman “has been well aware of all of this for a very long period of time”. Howlett made the claim in a Newsnight interview pre-recorded before CCHQ released Feldman’s line, but aired afterwards. At the time Howlett was seen as a whistleblower bravely speaking out against his party.

It would seem from his Newsnight interview that Howlett has information that could clear up whether or not Feldman misled the public. Guido contacted him on five separate occasions yesterday, politely asking for a quick clarification of why he believed Feldman had known of allegations against Clarke “for a very long period of time”. Howlett read the messages, but failed to respond. He did however find the time to visit a ‘gin bar’ in his constituency.

Is Howlett being lent on to keep silent and protect Feldman, or was his initial allegation incorrect? Why, after bravely speaking out two weeks ago, is he now refusing to clear up this crucial point once and for all? Hardly encouraging when there are already allegations of a cover up. Either Lord Feldman and Ben Howlett is not telling the truth. Which is it?

Pannick Stations at CCHQ

Following the meeting of the Tory party management board this afternoon, the party has u-turned and handed over full control of the investigation into the bullying scandal to Clifford Chance. In other words they have finally agreed to let it be independent. They will offer second interviews to those who have already spoken to the party’s initial investigation, while Feldman and Halfon will recuse themselves from the board meeting that discusses the report. Crossbencher Lord Pannick QC will review the whole process. Pannick stations!

Tory MPs’ Co-ordinated Defence of Feldman

Within the space of 60 seconds, three Tory MPs have tweeted almost word-for-word identical defences of under-fire Lord Feldman. Almost as if they were co-ordinated…

UPDATE: And another two!

Could CCHQ be any more transparent?

UPDATE II: And still they come…

Dynamite Memo Warned Feldman About Clarke in Summer 2014

Lord Feldman’s line since he was dragged into the Tory bullying scandal has been that he was “wholly unaware” of allegations against Mark Clarke until August 2015. On 18 November, a Conservative spokesman said:

“Lord Feldman acted immediately to set up an internal disciplinary inquiry as soon as he received the allegations in August 2015, of which he was previously wholly unaware.”

On 22 November, Feldman himself told the Mail on Sunday:

“I was wholly unaware of allegations of bullying and inappropriate sexual conduct by Mr Clarke prior to August 2015”

Does this stand up to scrutiny?

Feldman received a memo detailing a series of complaints about Mark Clarke in summer 2014. In the memo, Paul Abbott, chief of staff to Grant Shapps, warned Feldman about Clarke’s behaviour. Crucially, Abbott told Feldman that Clarke should not be employed by CCHQ. Instead of heeding this warning, Feldman and Shapps told Abbott that Clarke’s appointment was proving successful and he should make it work. This dynamite memo blows apart Feldman’s repeated on-the-record insistence that he was “wholly unaware” of complaints about Clarke before August 2015.

Tory MP Ben Howlett told Newsnight‘s report into the Tory bullying scandal that “Lord Feldman has been well aware of all of this for a very long period of time”. The key question Clifford Chance should ask the Tory party chairman is:

  • Why did Lord Feldman insist he was “wholly unaware” of the allegations before August 2015, despite Ben Howlett’s testimony that his party chairman knew “for a very long period of time” – and despite Feldman receiving complaints about Clarke in summer 2014?

On Saturday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said he had “full confidence” in Lord Feldman. That’s what they said about Shapps 48 hours before he quit…

Shapps Resignation Letter in Full

Dear Prime Minister,

In July 2014 I gave a second chance to former candidate Mark Clarke. Having been removed from the candidates list following the 2010 election, Clarke had gone on to establish a campaigning organisation called RoadTrip2015. He presented himself as having learned from his past experience, being more mature and wanting to prove himself again. After some discussion, I appointed him in order to incorporate RoadTrip into our wider campaign. The aim being to better coordinate his activity with our rapidly expanding Team2015 target-seat operation.

During this summer and autumn, there have been widely reported, very serious allegations made about the conduct of this former activist, who has subsequently been expelled from the Party. I appreciate that there are ongoing coroner and Party investigations underway, yet whatever the outcome of these processes, I doubt any of this will bring much comfort to the Johnson family whose loss is simply unimaginable.

Although neither the Party nor I can find any record of written allegations of bullying, sexual abuse or blackmail made to the Chairman’s office prior to the election, I cannot help but feel that the steady stream of those who raised smaller, more nuanced, objections should have perhaps set alarm bells ringing sooner. In the end, I signed that letter appointing Mark Clarke ‘Director of RoadTrip and I firmly believe that whatever the rights and wrongs of a serious case like this, responsibility should rest somewhere.

Over the past few weeks — as individual allegations have come to light — I have come to the conclusion that the buck should stop with me. Given the very serious nature of what has subsequently occurred and my role in appointing Mr Clarke, I cannot help but conclude that the only right course of action is for me to step down as a Minister in your government.

It has been an enormous honour to serve in your government which is making tremendous progress in taking Britain forward. You will have my full support from the backbenches, where I will also continue to work for my Welwyn Hatfield constituents who have elected me to serve.

But more than anything, I am deeply shocked and saddened by the recent death of Elliott Johnson and my thoughts are with his friends and family.

Yours ever,

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

Grant Shapps resigns for not acting on bullying claims that CCHQ say they never received…

UPDATE: Shapps is replaced at DFID by former minister Nick Hurd.

BBC / Sky: Shapps Resigns

The BBC and Sky report that Grant Shapps has quit over the Mark Clarke scandal. Yesterday Elliott Johnson’s father Ray called on both Shapps and Tory chairman Lord Feldman to resign. Statement expected this afternoon…

Col Bob Stewart Calls ISIS “Bastards” On Morning TV

Tory MP and former Colonel Bob Stewart referred to ISIS as “these bastards” on ITV this morning. Col Bob’s nonplussed look as Eamonn apologises for the profanity is a particular highlight…

Bomber Blunt’s Syria U-Turn

Three weeks ago Crispin Blunt, the chair of the Foreign Affairs select committee whose voice is crucial for Cameron in winning over MPs on Syria, opposed war:

“We are concerned that the Government is focusing on extending airstrikes to Syria, responding to the powerful sense that something must be done to tackle ISIL in Syria, without any expectation that its action will be militarily decisive, and without a coherent and long-term plan for defeating ISIL and ending the civil war… [as things stand] the Government should not try to obtain Parliamentary approval to extend British military action to Syria.”

Today Blunt backed bombing:

“On balance the country would be best served by this House supporting [the PM’s] judgement.

That should help Mark Harper get the numbers…

Osborne Cuts Opposition Funding

4024

Hidden away towards the back of the Autumn Statement was the section on “Reducing the cost of politics”, which consists of a modest 19% reduction in Short money allocations. This means the taxpayer-funded wedge to which opposition parties are entitled will be cut by millions. Good news for the taxpayer, bad news for the already massively in debt Labour Party.

Below is the sum each party was previously due to receive in each year of this parliament. In brackets is what a 19% cut would potentially look like:

Labour: £6.2 million (£1,178,000 CUT)

SNP: £1.2 million (£228,000 CUT)

UKIP: £650,000 (£123,500 CUT)

LibDems:  £540,000 (£102,600 CUT)

Greens: £212,000 (£40,280 CUT)

A handy benefit of being a Chancellor with an eye on the next election is you can severely wound your opponents where it hurts: in the pocket…

Flashback: Guido v Tim Yeo

Guido versus troubled Tim on Newsnight:

And chasing him all the way to Kent:

Enjoy Tim Yeo’s greatest hits here

Tim Yeo Loses Libel Action Against Sunday Times

Tim Yeo

Tim Yeo has lost his libel action against the Sunday Times. A very happy Jonathan Calvert, the journalist who wrote the original story along with Heidi Blake, tells Guido:

“We won on every count and judge used the following words to describe Yeo’s evidence: “implausible”, “unreliable”, “not honest”,”dishonest”, “untruthful”, “untrue” and “unworthy of belief”.”

Shades of Aitken and Archer…

UPDATE: Yeo has to make a costs down payment to The Sunday Times of £411,000 within 28 days.

Bombshell Bullying Messages of Halfon’s Lover

HALFON

Guido has been leaked a cache of private Facebook messages sent by Alexandra Paterson, the chairman of the Tory youth wing who was Rob Halfon’s lover and a close ally of scandal-hit Mark Clarke. In the messages, Paterson faces accusations that she has been bullying young Tory activists. She insists “there are reasons we do things” and that Clarke “gets very angry” when people make him look “bad”:

In one message, written before Elliott Johnson’s death and before Elliott and Clarke had fallen out, Paterson warns a Tory activist that she and Clarke “sanctioned” Elliott’s Tory youth gossip blog. She says threateningly: “just bare that in mind going forward”. Paterson then reveals she knows the activist has complained about her behaviour, claiming “things always will get back to me“:

In another separate message, Paterson warns a “young” Tory that she has the power to “protect” them, but “I can’t if you don’t do” what she orders:

Paterson’s claim that complaints about her conduct will “always” get back to her is interesting considering Mark Clarke also obtained the names of activists who had complained about him. The rest sounds like a bad gangster movie…

Pressure Mounts on SNP to Suspend ‘Missing Money’ MP

The SNP wasted no time in throwing their disgraced MP Michelle Thomson under a bus during her property scandal back in September. The allegations surfacing against Natalie McGarry yesterday have also warranted a police investigation, so Scottish Labour have demanded consistency from Nicola Sturgeon:

Dear Nicola,

The allegations about missing donations to Women for Independence (WFI) are very concerning. The alleged involvement of the SNP MP Natalie McGarry only adds to the seriousness of this situation.

When details emerged about the police investigation into property deals involving the SNP MP Michelle Thomson you said: “There is now a police investigation under way into these matters… Michelle Thomson has decided to step aside from the SNP while that investigation is undertaken. I think that is the right thing for her to have opted to do.”

Given that it was right that Michelle Thomson’s membership of the SNP was suspended during a police investigation, can you confirm that it is also right that the same standard will now apply to Natalie McGarry? People in Scotland would be surprised if no precautionary action is taken against Ms McGarry, given the serious nature of the allegations and the involvement of the police.

Sturgeon said it was right for Thomson to stand down because she was being questioned as part of a police investigation. Well, now McGarry is facing a police probe as well. Will she last the day?

Osborne’s Pre-Spending Review Bash Gets Out of Hand

george

Corridor colleagues complain that a party held at George Osborne’s MP office last week got a little out of hand. Not only were empty wine bottles strewn across the floor outside, the landing now stinks of booze and a light-fingered reveller even nicked the sign with the Chancellor’s name from the door.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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