Tag Archives: david cameron

Deathmatch: Salmond also facing the chop if he loses #IndyRef

David Cameron and Alex Salmond

The media have made much of the existential threat presented to David Cameron’s career in the event that the ‘No’ campaign lose the referendum. But before the polls tightened dramatically it was Salmond who getting asked about quitting.

He told reporters in September:

“No. We will continue to serve out the mandate we have been given and that applies to the SNP always. It applies to me – all of us.”

But one of his MPs in London didn’t get the memo, however, telling the New Statesman’s George Eaton that Salmond “could step down by November” if the unionist campaign triumphs. Unlike Cameron, however, Salmond would get out with his reputation intact — and indeed would probably be lionised for having forced a shift in the constitutional dynamics of the union against the efforts (if not the best efforts) of the Westminster establishment.

And unlike the Tories, the SNP have a ready made successor to their leader in the form of Nicola Sturgeon.

Picture: Surian Soosay

Did Andrew Marr catch Cameron lying on Crosby’s tobacco lobbying?

Lynton Crosby tobacco lobbying

David Cameron has displayed either skilful brinkmanship or a way with weasel words, depending on your point of view, in evading the question of the government’s interaction with tobacco-lobbyist-cum-Tory-spinmeister Lynton Crosby on plain cigarette packs.

The revelation, in this weekend’s Observer, that Crosby had lobbied Lord Marland by email on 1 November 2012 has had critics scurrying to Hansard to find evidence of contradiction in the PM’s previous statements. But perhaps most problematic claim by Cameron was issued not within the Commons chamber but in a BBC interview on 21 July 2013.

Dropping the present tense — which seemed to restrict the period covered by the denials to Crosby’s current tenure with the Conservatives — the PM told Andrew Marr:

“Let me be clear. He [Crosby] has not intervened in any way on this or, indeed, on other issues.

“The whole thing from start to finish has been something of a media invention. He hasn’t intervened.

That Crosby’s role with the Tories was announced on 18 November 2012 (17 days after his message to Marland) might provide a bit of wriggle room — were it not for the fact that the pair are “close friends” and it was known in Westminster that Crosby had been in talks with the Tories for months.

The Indy had even reported in early October that one of the final sticking points was Crosby’s demand that his firm also be given the party’s polling contract.

And it gets worse. In the same interview, Cameron explains his vacillation on plain packaging:

“We need more evidence. We need greater legal certainty.”

Scrapbook wonders whether there is a better way to undermine such certainty than to commission opinions from former Court of Appeal judges questioning the legality of plan packs on intellectual property grounds

… like the, errr, one that was paid for by Big Tobacco and sent to Lord Marland by Lynton Crosby on 1 November 2012.

A Scottish yes vote: Sajid Javid ‘being lined up as interim Tory leader’

Sajid Javid 10 Downing Street

As unionist panic sets in (a second poll has shown the Scottish referendum campaigns neck-and-neck) serious attention is now being given to the personal consequences of a yes vote for those in Westminster and Holyrood.

Along with more obvious candidates for defenestration — such as Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont — David Cameron himself is thought to be “in serious trouble” if Scotland went independent.

And with George Osborne long plotting a run for the leadership of his party, a Tory source has told the Telegraph that the man being lined up as interim PM is his close ally, culture secretary Sajid Javid:

The source said that Sajid Javid, the Culture secretary, would make a leader to take the party to the general election, supported by a team of “six or seven people with different skills”.

They included David Davis, the former shadow Home Secretary who challenged Mr Cameron for the leadership in 2005, Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, who has turned down ministerial posts in the Coalition to hang on to his influential role.

John Redwood, a former Tory Cabinet minister who once challenged Prime Minister John Major for the party leadership, is also mentioned.

Whether Cameron’s premiership would survive until May 2015, his reputation in the longer term — particularly with Conservatives — would most certainly not:

‘The prime minister that lost the union.’

Did DCMS stitch up Miliband and Clegg over WWI wreaths?

Wreathgate

With Ed Miliband slammed for not preparing a hand-written note on a WWI memorial poppy wreath — before it subsequently emerged that David Cameron was the only dignitary to have signed his ‘from’ card — this is a VERY awkward quote from Poppy Scotland:

“Our normal procedure is that we would just send the cards directly with the wreaths.

“We were asked to send [the cards] to the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and the wreaths were sent through to Glasgow in advance, but the blank cards to London.”

There are strict rules on the political impartiality of the civil service.

So having received the cards in derogation from “normal procedure”, who at DCMS offered the Tory prime minister the opportunity to sign his card — but not the Lib Dem deputy prime minister or Labour opposition leader?

UPDATE: Official DCMS line …

“The same wreaths and pre-written messages were provided to all wreath layers. Some chose to write personalised messages.”

Scrapbook understands that (a) Cameron’s office asked for a card in advance and it was added to the wreath in the morning and (b) that no one was given time on the morning to write a message — but some wreath layers bought their own message or wreath and substituted it on the morning.

EU nominee to dump shares after Scrapbook highlights lobbying links

Lord Hill: shambles

David Cameron’s nominee for the European Commission has been forced to announce the sale of his £375,000 shares in a lobbying group — just hours after Scrapbook highlighted a serious conflict of interest.

We published details of the Brussels-based EU lobbying operations of Huntsworth Plc — in which Lord Hill has a stake having sold his own public affairs business to them in 2006 — at around 2pm yesterday afternoon. At 10pm the Press Association reported:

David Cameron’s nomination of Lord Hill to represent Britain on the EU commission has been branded a “shambles” after he had to sell shares in a lobbying firm to avoid criticism over conflicts of interest.

The peer is acting to head off concerns over his significant holding in £140 million global public affairs company Huntsworth, which operates in Brussels.

With journalists briefed that the government wants to secure a finance-related position for Hill, companies listed as clients of the Huntsworth group underscore the utterly unsustainable nature of his shareholding:

  • Experian
  • Financial Reporting Council
  • Oil & Gas UK
  • Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
  • City of London Corporation
  • HSBC Bank
  • Capital One Bank
  • Investec Bank
  • La Salle Investments
  • SCM Private
  • Yorkshire Building Society

Forcing a top Tory peer to offload hundreds of thousands of pounds of shares in unfavourable market conditions (Huntsworth stock is down 40% since April) … it’s all part of the service.

Cameron’s commission candidate owns shares in EU lobbying firms

Lord Hill

In what could be the Tories’ second high profile appointments cock-up this week, it turns out that David Cameron’s nominee for the UK’s next European commissioner owns shares in multiple EU lobbying firms.

Before leading the House of Lords, Lord (Jonathan) Hill had an extremely lucrative career as a lobbyist, co-founding the public affairs outfit Quiller. He now has a stake in at least two similar companies which have a direct office presence in Brussels.

Records obtained by Scrapbook show that Hill owned 50% of Quiller before it was sold to Huntsworth Plc for £5.9m in autumn 2006 — presumably in a mixture of cash and shares, the latter of which appear on Hill’s entry in the Register of Lords’ Interests. Hill consequently has an interest in Huntsworth’s massive network of communications businesses — including Grayling and Citigate, which boast offices “in the heart of Brussels’ EU quarter”.

Lord Hill register of Lords' interests

Quiller have already been in hot water over their clients’ regular access to Conservative ministers –having employed one of George Osborne’s pals in a leadership role at the company. As a peer, Hill even intervened to support the sell-off of school playing fields to Tescoone of Quiller’s clients.

So how is it in any way sustainable for the UK’s Commission nominee to be making money from companies which lobby the Commission?

In full: A&E waiting times post that Cameron doesn’t want you to see

A major row is brewing ..

Here it is in full …

A&E waiting times House of Commons Library deleted blog

Cool Britannia II guest on”fat faced” and “flatulent” Cameron politics

Cool Britannia II reception

While Downing Street is refusing to release the full guest list for a star-studded creative industries bash in the Foreign Office courtyard — inevitably dubbed ‘Cool Britannia II’ — Scrapbook notes some of the reported invitees could make for some decidedly awkward chat:

Benedict Cumberbatch called David Cameron’s politics “fat-faced” and “flatulent”

The Sherlock star said of the class system portrayed in period dramas such as Parade’s End:

“Everyone was held in their place, but what was honourable about it was that there was a duty of care from the top down. That shouldn’t be tied in with any sort of fat-faced, flatulent Cameron effort at what Toryism – horribly – is now.”

Andy Coulson ‘conspired to launder Daniel Craig voicemails so they could be used by News of the World

Former journalist and self-confessed phone hacker Dan Evans told the hacking trial that the ex-News Of The World editor and David Cameron director of communications ordered him to make a copy of voicemails from the James Bond star’s phone and post them to the paper to make it look like they’d been sent in anonymously. Another NOTW hack picked up the package, saying with mock surprise “Look what I’ve found!”, Evans told the Old Bailey.

Michael Gove slammed Simon Cowell comments as “irresponsible and stupid”

The education secretary on guest Simon Cowell’s comments on the apparent uselessness of his education:

“This is an irresponsible and stupid thing to say. Teachers strive every day to ensure children understand the importance of learning, hard work and discipline. Simon Cowell’s comments undermine their efforts”.

Perhaps some useful info for the seating plan.

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