More Question Time Briefing Leaks

Seems the last minute nature of the panel – it was supposed to be a Ken, Boris, Brian & Jenny Question Time until the BBC changed their mind – has prompted some hasty preparation.

This was found in the Marquis of Granby pub…

Dorries Should Defect

It does amuse Guido that those so quick to dismiss the views of Nadine Dorries in very personal terms because they disagree with her, have showered her with praise today for going for Cameron’s jugular on today’s Daily Politics. If a sustained bitter campaign of bile was unleashed in a similar way from the right on a female Labour MP, the kickback would be very different. If Nadine really holds her party leadership in such low regard, is it not time for it to send an even clearer messageTwitter would love it…

24% of Tory Voters Prefer Farage to Cameron Carswell Ahead of Cameron on Preferred Policies

Dave beats Ed 37% to 30% when it comes to the question of which party leader best defends Britain’s interests. No great surprise there.

To those who claim UKIP is not going to cut through what is interesting is that the pollsters Survation found that 24% of those that voted Conservative in 2010 –  almost a quarter – choose UKIP’s Nigel Farage as the party leader that best defends Britain’s interests. The crowding at the centre of politics is opening up space for UKIP on the right…

Tory MP Douglas Carswell might also have the last laugh after being slapped down by Cameron at PMQs for a lack of a sense of humour. The Mail on Sunday found that voters preferred Carswell’s policies over Cameron’s:

To be fair Dave too used to be in favour of an EU referendum, open primaries, MP right to recall laws and the rest. Before he was elected…

The UKIP Surge is Not a “Shock”

Lots of chatter this morning about the “shock” poll that has seen UKIP overtake the LibDems, but once again it seems people just haven’t been paying attention. UKIP bloggers like Michael Heaver have been tracking this trend for months and predicted it was only a matter of time. Although they use a slightly different methodology, last week Survation had a similarly high UKIP standing. Yesterday the Standard called an Assembly Seat for the Eurosceptics and predict that the Greens will lose both of theirs, though you wouldn’t know that from most of the coverage. The crucial figure for UKIP strategists is where this surge is coming from: with reliable pensioner voters UKIP are on 17% and ten points clear of the LibDems. For those hacks saying how shocking this all is, Guido recommends reading Anthony Wells who calls it “inevitable”.

Who You Calling Swivel-Eyed?

In a Telegraph interview the drippingly wet Greg Barker when asked about the need for a change of direction following a poll giving UKIP 11% support and surveys showing 10% of Tory voters from 2010 have switched to UKIP retorted:

“We don’t need to follow UKIP into swivel-eyed rhetoric.”

As ConservativeHome notes, that is hardly the way to win back lost supporters. What struck Guido most was that Greg Barker, a screaming climate change racket fanatic, is really on dodgy ground with that line. Look into his eyes…

UPDATE: Within a minute of publishing Greg Barker sportingly tweets:

Farage Says “Stop Ayatollah Livingstone”

With Jenny Jones from the Greens is telling her supporters to back Ken with their second preferences and now this morning Nigel Farage has signalled similar UKIP support for Boris. Unlike with the Greens, the promise of a job wasn’t needed first…

UPDATE: UKIP send over a full statement from Farage:

“Ken Livingstone is dangerous and does not represent the aspirations of Old Labour at all. His comments on Islam, calling for London to be a ‘beacon for Islam’ and to spend the next four years ensuring Londoners know the teachings of Mohammed’ are divisive, opportunistic and totally unacceptable. He has clearly been learning politics from George Galloway and is pandering dangerously to one religious group. He is standing to be the Mayor for the whole of London and particularly with the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, should be someone all Londoners can respect and be proud of. Whilst we have deep reservations about some of Boris’s views, especially his support for amnesties for illegal immigrants, we now recommend that Londoners give him their second preference vote. Ken Livingstone – Ayatollah Livingston – would be a disaster for London.”

Ouch!

Exclusive: Stringy Says Vote UKIP after 32 Years as a Tory

Tory member and big donor Sir Peter Stringfellow is openly endorsing UKIP. He claims this is the first time he has not supported the Conservative candidate in an election in thirty two years. This normally warrants expulsion by CCHQ, but the nightclub owner has given them thousands over the years. Guido’s table-top sources whisper seductively that Stringy could be about to jump officially…

Tory/UKIP Defection Runners and Riders

Tim Montgomerie’s warning today that two Tory MPs are seriously considering defecting to UKIP has got the rumour mill spinning. As ever Guido gives you his tongue in cheek take on the runners and riders.

Mark Pritchard
Eurosceptic rating: 10/10

Pritchard is a serious contender. The secretary of the 1922 Committee resigned from his position as the Conservative Party’s International Office deputy chairman last month, telling the papers that his decision was a protest against Cameron’s weakness on Europe. Could he be about to jump ship?

Bill Cash
Eurosceptic rating: 10/10

Cash has a history of causing trouble over Europe, and was famously part of the Maastricht Rebellion that did for John Major. He has a fractious relationship with Dave and led a rebellion against the Coalition last year. Said to be reaching the end of his tether, though has stated on the record he does not want to quit the EU.

George Eustice
Eurosceptic rating: 9/10

An outside punt but it would be the completion of a journey for Dave’s one time Press Secretary who now leads a new group of moderately disgruntled eurosceptic Tory MPs. Guido can’t really see it happening due to the bright party career ahead but…

He’s ex-UKIP…

Douglas Carswell
Eurosceptic rating: 9/10

Carswell has long been an outspoken critic of the government, and ramped up the pressure on Cameron last year by suggesting that ministers could not be trusted to defend British interests on the continent. Extremely closed to fellow rabblerouser Dan Hannan. His name on a UKIP ticket would be a huge coup…

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Eurosceptic rating: 8/10

Everyone’s favourite eccentric backbencher lambasted the Tory leadership last year for allowing the Lib Dems to dictate Coalition policy on Europe, and has suggested that the EU could be the issue that brings down the government. He is even an expert on ‘flexicurity’…

Nadine Dorries
Eurosceptic rating: 8/10

To say there is no love lost between Nadine and Dave would be an understatement. Dorries has been strongly critical of Cameron’s stance on abortion, child benefit and his closeness to Nick Clegg, and was furious after her boss’ quip at PMQs that she was ‘frustrated’. Revenge is a dish best served cold and the party machine are not helping her with a little local difficulty in the Boundary Review.

While Guido understands that a defection isn’t imminent and Tim was obviously trying to put pressure on them not jump, there is clearly serious and growing discontent among Tory backbenchers. It can only be a matter of time…

BBC Denies the Science

For the last two months UKIP have been polling ahead of the Greens in London. In March it was 5% to 3%. Tonight Newsnight are inviting the two candidates who have a chance of winning the London Mayoralty on for a live debate, they have also invited two other runners on for good measure. Green Jenny Jones will get national airtime despite the fact that her party has no hope of winning in London. 

The Beeb are repeating a mistake they have made before. In the Norwich and Bradford by-elections they gave the Greens plenty of airtime and ignored the Eurosceptics. In both cases UKIP beat the hippies, and in Norwich they absolutely stuffed them. UKIP have managed to secure a small piece to camera, but the editorial logic is warped and is not supported by the facts. You read it here first…

UKIP’s Young and Old Jumpers

UKIP must be doing something right when even the liberal metropolitan elite are discussing their high profile defections over macchiatos this morning. In the Guardian, Sir Michael White thinks he has found the future leader of the Eurosceptics, and he’s not talking about Roger Helmer MEP, who finally had enough of Sayeeda Warsi and jumped from the Tories this weekend:

“Smartly dressed and well-spoken, sporting long blonde hair and 3in heels, she does not fit the Ukip stereotype. No blazer and regimental tie, no beard or beer gut, Swann is researching a PhD on 19th century social Darwinism and the small state”

The lines from former CF Chairman Alexandra Swann’s speech that could really stick “are this Liberal Democrat led government” and David Cameron being “as true a Conservative as Belgium is a real country.” She certainly got the room going…

Top Tory Totty Jumps Into Bed With FarageSwann Migrates

Guido’s favourite Young Conservative has defected to UKIP. Top Tory totty Alexandra Swann was the Deputy Chairman of Conservative Future and a Tory researcher, but will be taking to the stage tomorrow at their spring conference in the charming seaside resort of Skegness. This is the latest humiliation for the Heath-ite chairman of the Tory’s youth movement, Ben Howlett, who recently infuriated the party by siding with the Germans over Commonwealth countries at an international right wing conference.

That safe seat he boasts about in bars late at night is looking highly dubious…

UKIP Steal Tory Candidate and Helmer's Last CCHQ Battle

After Guido’s scoop this morning about CCHQ’s tactful start to the upcoming Heathrow By-Election, all sorts of other divisions have been emerging today. Many are asking what happened to the Tory love-in with open primaries, or even a basic selection meeting. The Commentator reports further embarrassment for Dave:  one former approved candidate did get a look in for selection, by UKIP:

 “…the UKIP candidate, highly likely to steal more than the 992 conservative votes that Jerry Shadbolt took in 2010, is none other than former Tory candidate for Edmonton, Andrew Charalambous. The businessman and barrister is also the founder of ‘Surya’, the world’s first eco-nightclub which hosted the official ‘Conservative Future’ party in November 2010. Activists may be confused as to whether to campaign for Cameron, who delivered them government, or for Charalambous, who delivered them… booze.”

With the Tories in a strong second place in the seat, the form set by the Oldham by-election should mean that we will be seeing the LibDems taking a sham role in this race. With the backdrop to this election, we could easily see UKIP coming third.

Talking of Euro-sceptics. Word reaches Guido from his Brusselois co-conspirator that all is not well with the outgoing Roger Helmer MEP. Normally the rules state that whoever is the next down the party list, automatically replaces a resigning MEP. However not everyone in CCHQ is enamoured with the equally Euro-sceptic replacement Rupert Matthews. He is a little eccentric and likes UFOs, but that can hardly render you unfit for selection when Norman Baker is in the government.

Some obscure quirk of the party constitution is being cited as a way of over-ruling the convention, but Helmer is having none of it. He has declared that unless Matthews is anointed his successor he won’t be resigning after all…

Fa-Rage Against the Machine Hits Half a Million

Guido has seen a rather excitable internal UKIP memo that celebrates Farage’s “who do you think you are speech” hitting half a million views. It’s been translated into Greek, Spanish, German and Polish. The email decries the lack of press coverage in this country, but notes abroad, on places like Fox News “Nigel is featured more prominently and in much more heroic light than at home”. The original on English version, plus the foreign combined copies, have been seen by nearly 600,000:

Well on target for Guido’s prediction of a million views. Are they listening yet?

Fa-Rage Against the Machine Hits 300,000

Last Friday Guido noticed a speech that Nigel Farage had given in the European Parliament a couple of days previously was creeping up into the thousands of views on YouTube. So he decided to give it a bit of a push.[…] Read the rest

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Farage's Rage Going Viral

Nigel Farage’s “What gives you the right?” speech from Wednesday is bang on the money and going viral with nearly 50,000 views in two days:

The officials in the chamber always laugh when Farage holds up the mirror, but those smirks are looking more and more like gallows humour every day. […] Read the rest

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Heated Confusion

After their tent village was exposed as a sham yesterday, it seems the Occupy London protestors, and especially their designated spin-doctors, are getting a little bit grumpy. Guido hears that a Bryn phoned up the UKIP press office to make a complaint about Nigel Farage’s comments in yesterday’s Express about the threat to Remembrance Sunday.[…] Read the rest

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UKIP Do Not Back Withdrawal

If their fresher recruitment material is anything to go by…[…] Read the rest

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Exclusive: Roger Helmer Resigns as an MEP

In a letter of resignation to the the East Midlands Conservatives regional Chairman Stephen Mold, Helmer wrote:

Dear Stephen,

Resignation from the European Parliament

It was a great pleasure to see you at the Party Conference in Manchester last week.

I am writing to you now to advise you that I shall be resigning my seat in the European parliament effective December 31st this year.

[…] Read the rest

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Currently On the Streets of Manchester

No surprise that this one was cheered by some activists as it drove around the conference zone…[…] Read the rest

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Made in Taiwan

UKIP has a rule that they do not go on the many copious junkets that are on offer to MEPs. Alarm bells started to ring on May 16, when David Campbell Bannerman went on a trip to Taiwan, telling his party staff it was on private business. […] Read the rest

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