Tag Archives: theresa may

Bitchy blue briefings: ‘scary’ Michael Gove vs ‘no friends’ Theresa May

Times front page: Gove/May extremism row

Rivalry between Theresa May and Michael Gove has exploded into the open once again — with the pair bitterly briefing against each other on the issue of extremism in schools.

With Gove attempting to outsource the blame for claims of Islamist entryism to the education system in Birmingham, May has hit back by releasing a letter with barbed questions to the education secretary (IN FULL BELOW). Meanwhile a “Home Office source” – a phrase regularly used as a euphemism for special advisers — told the Times:

“Why is the DfE wanting to blame other people for information they had in 2010? Lord knows what more they have overlooked on the subject of the protection of kids in state schools? It scares me.”

While sniping on terror began in April the public enmity between the pair can be traced back much further. In March 2013, Gove slapped May down at the Tories’ political cabinet meeting for a wide-raging speech viewed to be staking out a party leadership claim as a “realist”.

The ‘tipsy’ education secretary followed this up on 5 December when he told guests at Rupert Murdoch’s Mayfair home that Theresa May ‘had no friends’ on the Conservative benches — a claim which was briefed to the Mail on Sunday three months later.

With visitors to the Murdoch dinner table not in the habit of briefing exchanges for reasons which are perfectly obvious, Scrapbook wonders which guest could possibly have a vested interest in ensuring the discussion was leaked — and whether they had the nod from old Rupe’?

IN FULL: MAY’S LETTER TO GOVE »

Theresa May and the half-naked man

Theresa May talks to half-naked man in Norwich

Home secretary Theresa May got an eyeful out canvassing with ex-minister Chloe Smith — when she was greeted by a half-naked man just out the bath. The exercise in au naturel voter ID was in vain, however, with the man telling the Tory pair that “you’re the wrong party” before insisting “No, you can’t” when they tried to give him a leaflet.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO

Chloe Smith resigned from the Cabinet Office to defend her marginal Norwich North seat — a ‘tipping point’ constituency for a Labour majority.

Should she fail to extend her tenure, ambitious Smith faces the prospect of being remembered almost solely for her car-crash Newsnight interview.

MORE: Watch Smith in her Newsnight car crash »

British citizens sent threatening ‘get out’ texts by Home Office

Home Office immigration texts

The UK Border Agency has sent what are thought to be hundreds of intimidating text messages to British Citizens threatening them with deportation. The has come to light after a British man of a South Asian background was sent a message “from the UK Border Agency” which told him:

“You are required to leave the UK as you no longer have right to remain.”

Unfortunately for Theresa May’s Home Office — who run the Border Agency — and their contractor Capita, this morning’s Guardian diary reports that the message in question was sent to Suresh Grover, who founded an anti-racism charity. The messages are apparently intended for foreign nationals such as over-stayers, but with at least 200 formal complaints over the texts, the number of messages sent in error to British Citizens is thought to be much higher.

First the racist van — now the Home Office tell British Citizens to “get out”.

Russell & Bromley gave Theresa May her own custom range of shoes

Theresa May's jewel shoes

Having told Tory conference that she wants to scrap the Human Rights Act while wearing a pair of £215 ‘Polly’ jewel-heeled lace ups from Russell & Bromley, Theresa May has given aficionados of the Commons Register of Members’ Interests another excuse to cite her discount card for the shoe store:

Theresa May register of interests

The shoe maker has gifted the home secretary a discount card every year since she told Tory conference they were the “nasty party” — in what she subsequently revealed to be leopard print shoes from Russell & Bromley.

What is less well remembered, however, is the gift of “three pairs of Hot2Trot shoes” which only appear on the register of members’ interests for 26 November 2002 – and were custom made for May by Russell & Bromley designer Beverley Feldman.

Theresa May Hot2Trot shoes

And the emblem embroidered onto the front of one pair?

Red roses — the symbol of, errr, socialism and the Labour Party.

Police tsar poll branded “a comedy of errors” over poor turnout

The Electoral Reform Society has lambasted the government’s handling of the Police & Crime Commissioner elections as a “comedy of errors“, predicting a record low turnout of 18.5%.

The ERS said:

“This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish. Polling stations are standing empty because voters knew next to nothing about the role, let alone the candidates they were expected to pick from.”

Meanwhile, anecdotes on Twitter suggest an appallingly low turnout, which will damage the PCC role before it has even been won.

Twitter’s verdict on PCC turnout »

How Theresa May tried to hide police cuts before Police Commissioner vote

  • Changes in police numbers statistics mask local officer cuts.
  • Government ‘ceased collecting’ figures in London.
  • Parliamentary questions left unanswered before PCC vote.

As voters head to the polling stations to elect Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales, Theresa May’s department seems to be using official statistics to hide the scale of police cuts.

With some 15,000 police officers to go by 2015, details of local police officer numbers are of prime importance — but for more than a year the Home Office has failed to publish them. Formerly, statistics were published by police forces as well as smaller areas called Basic Command Units (BCUs).

BCU statistics were published on a yearly basis, and indeed were published in March 2010 and March 2011. But strangely, when it comes to March 2012 those figures figures weren’t published. Following this up, Labour MP Jim Cunningham asked about the lack of BCU figures for the Met, and was told:

“Figures at London borough level ceased to be collected from 2011-12.”

Additionally, parliamentary questions relating to other Police areas were shrugged off, with the Home Office saying that an answer would be provided as soon as possible — but before one appeared Parliament went into recess for, erm, the Police Commissioner elections.

What was that about lies, damn lies and statistics?

No answer from May on Jubilee stewards firm’s Olympic contracts

When, during an urgent statement on security company G4S’ failure to recruit enough personnel for the Olympics, the Home Secretary was confronted about the company at the heart of last month’s Jubilee stewards scandal, she would not say whether she had faith in them to fulfil their Olympic fire marshals contract.

Theresa May was challenged on Close Protection UK by Labour’s Kerry McCarthy, who asked if she thought them fit and proper for the job. Evading the question, May said only:

“There is no complacency in government. If there had been complacency in government we wouldn’t have announced the decision to actually bring the [army] contingency in.”

A strange statement, given that there is plenty of reason to doubt CPUK’s fitness for the task. In the aftermath of the Jubilee pageant fiasco, Scrapbook exposed the murky truth behind the firm and its key figures, including:

  • That its director Molly Prince had had five businesses “struck off”.
  • That she had a prior conviction for perverting the course of justice.
  • That a CPUK senior manager had been allegedly passed sensitive information from the police national computer.
  • That Prince had used trainees as personal “bodyguards” on a champagne night out.
  • That one of the firm’s coaches had crashed whilst on work for the Olympics, hospitalising passengers and seeing the driver — a CPUK employee — arrested.

Complacency? What complacency?

Theresa May announces investigation into Olympics security company

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) have launched an investigation into a company contracted to supply fire marshals for the Olympic games, Political Scrapbook can reveal. In a letter (below) to John Prescott, home secretary Theresa May said that Close Protection UK (CPUK) would be probed after unpaid workers were forced to sleep rough in central London before the Jubilee river pageant.

Prescott had argued that the revelations about the company and its owner Molly Prince appeared to show a breach by CPUK of 2.4.2(f) of the SIA Approved Contractor Status Terms and Conditions of Approval, which states a contractor can have approved status removed if it is “found no longer to meet the fit and proper person criteria applied by the SIA.”

Speaking to Political Scrapbook, Prescott said:

“I now await an urgent response from my letter to LOCOG requesting an investigation into how CPUK were appointed to a reported £850,000 fire marshalling contract for the Olympic venues and the company’s competencies to deliver it.”

“I believe the safety of spectators, staff and competitors is of the utmost importance and we need to be assured that CPUK can deliver this.”

This is further to an existing inquiry by the Prospects Group, the company responsible for running a government workfare programme in South West England, into both CPUK and the charity Tomorrow’s People which was involved in organising the jubilee workfare placements with CPUK.

But a report commissioned by the SIA into their Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) showed that it was a laughing stock within the industry. Security managers were quoted saying that the tick-box system was unenforced and “incredibly easy” to pass, with one saying: “To apply for ACS all you need to do is cut and paste from [security companies] G4S and Mitie and you’ve got it.”

The report may also offer some explanation as to why 2012 organisers went with the CPUK bid — thought to be “significantly more competitive” — when it only provides fire marshals in comparison to trained firefighters offered by competitors:

“Small companies can now go into a tendering process with a tick next to SIA licences and a tick next to ACS, which are the same ticks as [Company X]. Whereas in reality [Company X] is much better. So contracts are going to the cheapest companies.”

The gold medal for cutting corners goes to …

Read Theresa May’s letter in full »

  • Follow us on Twitter