Tag Archives: charles kennedy

Nadine spends weekend pretending she likes the Boundary Review

Justifying her rebel support for a motion which could see the Nick Clegg’s beloved Lords reform talked outNadine Dorries spent Sunday morning complaining that the Liberal Democrats would spike the boundary review if changes to the upper chamber were opposed by Tories. In reality, Nadine is desperate for a Lib Dem insurrection over boundary changes — because she stands to lose her seat.

Attacking Charles Kennedy on Sky News’ Murnaghan, Dorries foamed:

“So why are you blackmailing us then? They are saying ‘if you don’t give us the vote on Lords reform, we won’t give you boundary control.”

But as Scrapbook reported in April, Dorries is at loggerheads with her own party over changes which would see her constituency obliterated. Indeed, one Tory strategist has been heard to utter:

“There are some interesting seats disappearing. Put it this way: no one is shedding any tears over Mid Bedfordshire.”

Dorries doth protest too much.

Beards and sandals make way for beards and full-body tattoos

Conference always brings the oddball party members out in droves — and the Liberal Democrats aren’t to be outdone. Adapting the costume de rigeur of beard and sandals, delegate Matthew Whelan has turned up with beard and tattoos instead.

The self-styled “King of Ink Land”, who has legally changed his name to, erm, “Body Art” enters the conference hall with up with 80% of his body covered in tattoos. Whelan has spent £20,000 on the body modifications, and likens his body to a BMW, saying he wants his skin preserved after he dies.

Taxidermists also plan to preserve Ming Campbell in the event of a future Charles Kennedy leadership challenge.

Charles Kennedy snubs Clegg speech and leaves conference early

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy will miss Nick Clegg’s keynote conference speech later this afternoon after several sources spotted him on a train to London from Liverpool. He had already skipped a Guardian fringe event where he was the star billing.

Kennedy was the only Liberal Democrat MP to vote against the coalition, whom he subsequently described as “bastards”.

There can be little doubt this will be seen as a snub to Clegg.

Clegg: my party hate me even more than you do!

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has today conceded that he’s even less popular amongst rank and file Liberal Democrats than he is with the public.

Abandoning the party’s long-standing policy of equidistance was always bound to cause ructions, with Scottish Liberal Democrats like Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy favouring a coalition with Labour. But with the Liberal Democrats’ Chief Secretary to the Treasury being the designated hatchet-man, and rumours of the LibDems most popular figure contemplating defection its little wonder that grassroots members are getting “nervous.”

Recent polls show LibDem support playing a game of limbo, posing only one quesiton: “how low can they go?!”

The defection rumour mill: Charles Kennedy to be given ballot in Labour leadership contest?

UPDATE 20:05 Following more than 24 hours of conspicuous silence from Kennedy (save an email to Clegg which they didn’t release) he will resurface tonight/tomorrow in an interview for Scotland’s Sunday Mail.

UPDATE 23:50 The full Mail interview isn’t online yet but AP has some quotes “It is absolute rubbish … I am not joining the Labour Party and have not had any discussions about it with anyone from the Labour Party … I will go out of this world feet first with my Lib Dem membership card in my pocket”. Very good, Charlie, but why didn’t you say that 24 hours ago? Not a very good week for Liberal Democrat pressers.

Where on earth is Charles Kennedy? It is now late afternoon and he still hasn’t gone on the record to quash speculation he is is plotting a defection to Labour. Denials, however strong, from “a spokesman for the Lib Dems” or “Lib Dem sources” simpy ain’t the same thing as word from Kennedy and, embarrassingly, leave the whole party establishment in the dark.

As Liberals scramble to cobble together a “this is a silly season rumour” narrative, the bog standard rebuttal from pundits has been backed up by arguments around timing. Iain Roberts writes on Lib Dem Voice:

“One thing would be very odd indeed were the story to be true: the timing. The information clearly hasn’t come from Kennedy, but from the Labour Party. Yet if a party – any party – has a defector crossing the floor, they move heaven and earth to time the news release for the maximum media impact; and that’s not in the dead days of August. The party conference season is just a few weeks away.”

However other sources have questioned the conventional wisdom of a conference season bombshell. Scrapbook can reveal one mooted strategy is a defection before September 1st, just in time to back the younger Miliband in Labour’s leadership contest:

“I’m told  that he has been in talks with Ed Miliband and will be endorsing him. The plan would be to defect just before ballot papers go out so he has a vote.”

It is possible the whole thing will transpire to be a shot across Nick Clegg’s bows. But if Charles Kennedy’s intention to cross the floor is in doubt, his antipathy for the coalition is not. With a habit of missing whipped coalition votes, he reportedly remarked to one colleague “I don’t want to vote for these bastards”.

If he doesn’t go on the record soon just watch the negative briefings (and the muck) start to fly. With the copy deadline for Sunday papers looming large, Kennedy will be under enormous pressure to clarify his position.

The journalists will definitely be looking for Charlie this evening.

Charles Kennedy's division lobby absenteeism

Charles Kennedy loves Westminster – of that there can be little doubt. A consummate debater since his days at Glasgow University, the Rt Hon Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber has been a regular fixture in the House (and the various other parliamentary facilities) since standing down as leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2006.

However Mr. Kennedy has recently been conspicuous by his absence. Last week Charlie failed to appear to back the inclusion of Trident, missed another vote on the government’s deficit reduction plan, and last night failed to turn up to support the Government’s proposed VAT rise.

Charlie has reportedly remarked to a Labour MP:

“I don’t want to vote for these bastards.”

So far, at least, he hasn’t very much.

Those Liberal Democrat and Tory VAT policies in full*

Charlie K’s expression is prescient.

UPDATE: Double irony alert! Scrapbook wonders whether David and George recall this advert from 2008?

*Exclusive to all blogs.

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