Arron Banks Sues Over Russia Claims

Arron Banks is suing Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council, which accused him of serving as a “key pro-Russian actor in the UK”. He’s unhappy with their report “The Kremlin’s Trojans”, which describes Banks and Leave.EU / Grassroots Out as having links with “pro-Russian figures”, namely UKIP and George Galloway. Banks says the report accuses him of being a “Russian agent” who is “clandestinely working for Russia”. Guido has had a quick read – the bit specifically about Banks doesn’t seem to make those claims, though the introduction does talk about “Trojan horses” working for the Kremlin. Banks is also suing 3 British MPs though his spinner says he cannot name them for legal reasons. Remember Banks himself wound the rumours up by claiming a “KGB man” took him to the Russian Embassy. Expect they will settle quickly…

Nuttall Made “Close Personal Friends” Claim in 2011 As Well

Paul Nuttall’s press officer offered her resignation over the “close personal friends” claim she is said to have written on his website in 2012. Yet that was not the only time Nuttall’s name was associated with those words. In August 2011 the BBC quoted him making the same claim – apparently taken from his press release:

So twice Nuttall’s team wrote statements claiming he had “close personal friends” at Hillsborough, and one of them was published by the BBC. And Nuttall says he knew nothing about it…

Nuttall Press Officer Takes Rap

Paul Nuttall’s press officer Lynda Roughley dives on the grenade and takes the rap for the incorrect Hillsborough website claim:

“I am entirely responsible for the website post regarding Paul’s comments about having ‘close friends’ who died at Hillsborough. Paul is a man of great integrity and would not say something he knew to be untrue. It’s me who has made this mistake, and one I feel absolutely terrible about. I am frankly mortified at the distress this issue has caused Paul and may have caused to anyone involved with the Hillsborough tragedy. I have today offered my resignation, I could not be more sorry.”

Enough to stop it cutting through to voters?

Nuttall Admits Hillsborough Claims Wrong

Trouble for Nuttall in Stoke…

Labour Leave Cleared Over Seb Dance’s UKIP Claims

Publicity-loving Labour MEP Seb Dance last week stirred up a full-blown internal investigation into claims that pro-Brexit group Labour Leave made improper payments to UKIP during the EU referendum campaign. Such payments would be in breach of Labour’s rulebook. The party’s largest donor and Labour Leave founder millionaire John Mills was caught up in the story, with Dance calling for him to be thrown out of the party.

Labour Leave yesterday received a letter including the following statement from the party’s General Secretary Iain McNicol:
“I am satisfied that the money was transferred for the purposes of meeting shared costs for joint referendum events that had been paid for by UKIP. This has been reported as such by Labour Leave in your spending return to the Electoral Commission. In addition, the Commission advised you to report this payment as a “donation” for regulatory purposes. There is no indication that the money has, or will be, used for any other purposes.”
All a song and Dance over nothing…

Clegg: ‘UKIP Has a Permanent Role’

Last night Nick Clegg gave a talk at UCL where he was asked by a student what he thought the future of UKIP would be now Britain had voted to leave the EU. He said: “There’s a permanent role for UKIP in Britain and this may surprise you but that’s the way it should be”. He was deadly serious about this point, that he wanted UKIP to last: 

“UKIP should play a continued role as a voice for those who don’t like the modern world… It is a travesty that 4 million people voted for UKIP at the last election and all they got was Douglas Carswell. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t agree with anything they stand for.” 

He also claimed, with a sense of sadness, that “Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, runs our country now.” 

Can’t think why he hates Dacre…

UKIP MEP Ordered to Pay £160,000 to Rotherham MPs

UKIP MEP Jane Collins has been ordered to pay over £160,000 to the three Rotherham Labour MPs she libelled about the town’s child abuse scandal. The MPs had wanted £150,000 each, though a court today ruled Collins must may £54,000 to Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion. Collins will also have to pay significant costs. A very expensive party conference speech.

Mrs Farage: Nigel and I Separated

Kirsten Farage confirms what Kippers have known for a while, telling PA:

“My husband and l have lived separate lives for some years and he moved out of the family home a while ago. This is a situation that suits everyone and is not news to any of the people involved.”

Puts news of Nigel’s overnight companion in some perspective…

Inside Paul Nuttall’s Stoke Bedroom

Michael Crick and Channel 4 are on Paul Nuttall’s case after he moved into the Stoke house on his nomination form yesterday. C4 are “unable to confirm if Nuttall has a bed or what he slept on last night”.

Guido can lay this to rest. Nuttall spent the night on a mattress on the floor:

The things they do to win by-elections…

Leave.EU Say Nuttall Ahead in Stoke

Take it with a bucket of salt but Leave.EU – the pro-UKIP Arron Banks group – has carried out a poll putting Nuttall ahead in Stoke. They say they have “a sample bigger than 4,000” with the following results:

UKIP: 39%

Labour: 33%

Tory: 11%

LibDem: 10%

Constituency polling is notoriously difficult…

UKIP Launch NHS Counter-Attack: Labour Like “Abusive Parent”

Paul Nuttall has taken on Labour’s main attack line in Stoke by vowing to oppose NHS privatisation and launching a stinging attack on Labour’s record. No cat out of the bag but a crowd-pleasing policy pitch nonetheless: anti-privatisation, anti-PFI, abolishing hospital car parking charges, migrants must pay in for 5 years before accessing non-urgent treatment and foreign aid cash diverted to the health budget. Some tasty lines from Suzanne Evans too: “If Nye Bevan were here today, he would be disgusted by what the Labour Party has done to the NHS” and “Labour is like an abusive parent spending their own children’s money”. The NHS is the key non-Brexit by-election issue in Stoke: the town is a 30 minute drive from Stafford hospital which is still recovering from a major care standards scandal. There is one problem with Labour’s claim that Nuttall would privatise the NHS: he wouldn’t…

Labour Leave: Select Brexiteer to Hold Stoke

Labour Leave has a poll out this morning giving Paul Nuttall a 10% point lead in Stoke, on 35% to Labour’s 25%. It is being downplayed by psephologists as something of a voodoo poll due to its tiny sample size of 182 (the seat has an electorate of 62,000). The headline numbers should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, though the fieldwork does throw up one interesting titbit: “If Labour select a ‘staunch’ Brexiteer as their candidate then the numbers change completely”. The survey finds that if Labour has a Brexiteer as their candidate, the numbers then show them winning by 13 points, on 43% to UKIP’s 30%. Makes sense that Labour will fare better in Stoke with a Brexiteer than with a Remainer, will they heed this advice?

Farage Hired By Fox News

Breaking Stateside:

FOX NEWS CHANNEL SIGNS FORMER UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER NIGEL FARAGE TO CONTRIBUTOR ROLE

NEW YORK — JANUARY 20, 2017— FOX News Channel (FNC) has signed former United Kingdom Independence Party Leader (UKIP) Nigel Farage as a contributor. In this role, he will offer political analysis across FNC and FOX Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming.

Nige makes it big in the US…

CONFIRMED: Nuttall Running in Stoke

On Wednesday Guido revealed Paul Nuttall was minded to run in the Stoke by-election, today his team confirm he’s thrown his hat in. He will almost certainly be confirmed as UKIP’s candidate tomorrow morning. Big call, and the news Labour didn’t want…

UKIP Out-NHS Labour in Copeland

Labour have made much of their Copeland candidate Gill Troughton’s NHS links, billing her as a doctor and surgeon. Well, sort of. According to her LinkedIn profile Troughton was a junior doctor at Kent and Canturbury Hospital for eight months in 1991, then a junior surgical doctor at Frimley Park Hospital for another seven months until February 1992. After that she gave up the medical profession for a career as a school governor and councillor, though she has been a St John’s Ambulance volunteer since 2012. There is no Gillian Troughton in the General Medical Council’s list of Registered Medical Practitioners. Not quite the lifelong NHS career they’d have you think.

UKIP have trumped Troughton with their own candidate Fiona Mills, who has worked for the NHS for 24 years, most recently as an accountant where she “worked closely with clinicians to try to deliver quality services for patients and value for money for taxpayers”. Not exactly a nurse, though at least she’s worked in the NHS for more than a few months. Obvious why both parties are claiming strong NHS credentials, the local Keswick Hospital is a key issue for Copeland voters…

Nuttall’s Friends Tell Him to Stand in Stoke

Friends of Paul Nuttall are intimating that he is minded to stand in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election. He is certainly being told by senior Kippers, both those on his team and Farage supporters, that he must run. In the ‘pros’ column, Nuttall is said to see it as a chance to quickly seize the narrative, carve out a vision for UKIP under his leadership and keep the party relevant following Theresa May’s speech yesterday. In the ‘cons’ column, the seat will be tough to win – Labour are the bookies’ favourites and their by-election machine is formidable. He’ll inevitably have to deal with cries that he bottled it if he doesn’t run. The UKIP candidate is expected to be chosen by the NEC either tomorrow or on Friday. Official announcement Saturday 11am…

Labour MP’s Awkward Gaffe Attacking Grieving UKIP Councillor

Labour MP John Healey is poking fun at his opponents on the campaign trail in Dinnington, where he claims the “UKIP councillor walked away from his job”. Well, sort of. Cllr Ian Finnie resigned last month, explaining that he no longer wanted to take public money for a job he could not devote himself to following tragic family circumstances:

“the loss of two of my very close brothers this year and another with serious health issues has taken its toll on me and my family. My full time time job is also a factor and my own constant illnesses in and out of hospital are too… I feel that I cannot give enough time to fulfil my duties expected of me. I will not claim public money for a role that I cannot give enough time to.”

Guido will give Healey the benefit of the doubt and say presumably he didn’t know about all this. Though he has been repeatedly informed on Twitter and has decided not to clarify, which is a bit off. The pitfalls of tweeting before thinking.

UKIP Write to Honours Committee Requesting Knighthood for Farage

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall and three of the party’s peers have written to the Cabinet Office Honours and Appointments committee to argue that a knighthood for Nigel Farage is “in the national interest”. The Kippers’ case is that Nigel did “more than anyone else” to secure the EU referendum and made a “very substantial” contribution to the result. They say his relationship with Donald Trump means he has since “become a figure of international significance”, and also cite his charity work.

Honours and Appointments,
The Cabinet Office,
1 Horse Guards

London SW1A ZHQ. 6th January,2017

For kind attention Ms Alison Bennett

Dear Sirs,

We write to recommend a Knighthood for Nigel Farage.

After taking back the UKIP leadership in 2010, he built it into a party which won the last EU Elections, and for which 3.8 million people voted in last year’s General Election. This amounted to 12.6% of the votes cast, or one third of those received by the successful Conservative Party.

More than anyone else he provoked the recent referendum on EU membership, and his contribution to the result was very substantial.

0n 21st August 2016 Lord Pearson wrote to the Prime Minister suggesting that Mr. Farage should have been offered a peerage. This was an error, because he would not actually accept a peerage now, as he wants to see out this EU Parliament, and could not take a seat in the Lords while remaining in that Parliament.

He has since become a figure of international significance, thanks to his support for President-Elect Donald Trump during his campaign for the Republican leadership. He and Mr. Trump enjoy a good personal relationship, which is likely to endure.

As to work outside politics, he gave up what would undoubtedly have been a lucrative City career to build UKIP, which has been a very full time job over the years. He has however given his time to many charity events, when people donate to a charity to have a meal with him or hear him speak. We do not have a record of the amount so raised, but it must be substantial.

We would be happy to answer any questions the Committee might have, and trust they agree that a Knighthood would now be appropriate. We suggest that it would also be in the national interest.

Signed

Malcolm Pearson (UKIP Leader, House of Lords).
Paul Nuttall (UKIP Leader).
David Stevens of Ludgate (UKIP, House of Lords).
David Willoughby de Broke (UKIP, House of Lords).

Undoubted that Farage deserves recognition for his contribution to British politics over the last 20 years…

Neil Hamilton Endears Himself to His Constituents

How is Neil Hamilton getting on as leader of UKIP in Wales? A politician you could never accuse of being out-of-touch, Hamilton this week announced he is opening a new office in his constituency. Unfortunately Team Neil spelt the name of the town and county wrong in the press release. Not once. Not twice. Not thrice. But four times.

“People wanting to know more about the party and speak to either Neil Hamilton or his advisors will be able to do so at Whitlands (sic) Town Hall, in Whitlands (sic), Camarthenshire (sic) from Monday January 16… Neil has been busy planning where to site an office in his constituency and is delighted that he is now being able to open one in the town of Whitlands (sic)”.

Aides blamed computer issues for the faux pas. Fel rhech mewn pot jam…

Farage v Brendan Cox

The LBC interview they’re all talking about this morning…[…] Read the rest

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Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

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