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Scandal 1) Poulter referred to disciplinary committee over conduct with female MPs

“The Conservative MP Daniel Poulter has been reported to his party’s new disciplinary committee after allegations about his behaviour towards at least three female MPs. A Downing Street spokesman said: “Following a conversation with him, the chief whip has referred Daniel Poulter to the party’s new disciplinary committee for further investigation.” The move came in response to today’s revelation in The Sunday Times that Poulter had been the subject of a formal complaint by his fellow Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen. Poulter, 39, a former health minister, has been accused of breaching the new code of conduct published last week. He is believed to be one of the first MPs to be reported under the new procedure.” – Sunday Times

Comment:

  • I’m doing what the whips wouldn’t – Andrew Bridgen, Sunday Times

Scandal 2) Green hit with ‘extreme porn’ claims… from ex-police officer

“Theresa May’s deputy, Damian Green, was rocked last night by a former police chief’s claim that pornographic material was discovered on one of his parliamentary computers. A statement prepared by Bob Quick, a former assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan police, claimed the material was discovered by officers during an inquiry into government leaks in which Green was embroiled in 2008. Quick, who headed the leak investigation, confirmed to The Sunday Times yesterday that his officers had reported finding “extreme” pornographic material on a parliamentary computer from Green’s office… However, at 10pm last night Green tweeted that the allegations were “completely untrue”. The claims about the material and the computer were “false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty to keep the details of police investigations confidential, and amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination”.” – Sunday Times

  • Barwell and Williamson accused of ‘sitting on’ allegations – Sunday Telegraph
  • May faces ‘increase in MPs who want her resignation’ – Sunday Express

Analysis:

  • Deputy was meant to be a man May could rely on – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times

Comment:

  • The Prime Minister could be the ideal woman to clean up Westminster – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The new Conservative code of conduct. May should beware the revenge of men.

Scandal 3) Pincher accused of ‘unwanted pass’ on activist

“The Westminster sex scandal deepened last night after a Government whip was accused of making an unwanted sexual pass while dressed in his bathrobe, like a ‘pound shop Harvey Weinstein’. Tory whip Chris Pincher is said to have attempted to untuck the shirt of former Olympic rower and Conservative activist Alex Story after persuading him to come back to his London home. Mr Story, who was 26 at the time, said Mr Pincher poured him a whisky, massaged his neck and whispered: ‘You’ll go far in the Conservative Party.’… In a separate incident, Mr Pincher is accused of ‘touching up’ former Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, who told him to ‘f*** off’. Mr Pincher did not refer to that allegation in his statement last night.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Unnamed Labour MP claims Tory MP sexually assaulted him – Sun on Sunday

More:

  • Journalist claims Fallon tried to kiss her after ‘boozy lunch’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Kawczynski alleged to have pressured researcher to date an ‘overseas contact’ – Mail on Sunday

Comment:

  • My ‘awkward Carry On moment’ with a whip – Alex Story, Mail on Sunday
  • Crass sitcom jokes grated in the 70s, but so does ousting a minister for making one – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times

Scandal 4) May has set up by-election squad

“Theresa May has set up a secret by-election squad over fears the Westminster sex scandal could force out sleaze-hit MPs. The PM has put party workers on high alert to launch instant campaigns in seats at risk of being snatched by Labour. Officials have been ordered to ensure top-notch candidates are waiting in the wings. Mrs May is taking no chances as a torrent of sex pest allegations continue to sweep the corridors of power. With a Commons majority of just 12 seats, she cannot afford her slender lead to be withered away due to by-election defeats. A party source said: “We’re in a state of readiness to launch a local campaign at any time, almost anywhere. The events of the past week have taken us deep into uncharted territory. We have been told to leave nothing to chance and have drawn up a whole raft of contingency plans.”” – Sun on Sunday

  • Watchdog team will ‘man mark’ drunken Tory MPs in Commons bars – Sunday Times
  • Bercow accused of ‘shirking responsibilities’ – Sunday Express

More:

  • Dover Tories say Elphicke is ‘innocent until proven guilty – Mail on Sunday
  • Young activist sexted by Crabb backed him for leader later – Mail on Sunday

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Past scandals show that Prime Ministers must uphold respectability – or are lost

Scandal 5) Labour braced for claims against six MPs

“Labour was braced last night for further revelations amid claims at least six more MPs and one party aide could face accusations of sexual harassment. It is understood a new list — similar to the Tories’ sex dossier — has been compiled. One complaint is alleged to have been made by a Labour MP who was groped by a party aide. The party refused to reveal whether it was investigating any further complaints. “The party takes all complaints of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination extremely seriously,” a spokesman said. On Friday Clive Lewis became the fourth senior Labour figure to come under investigation since the Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara was suspended over claims of misogyny. Fellow MP Kelvin Hopkins has also been suspended from the party after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him.” – Sunday Times

Comment:

  • A witch hunt is not the answer to Westminster’s problems – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • This scandal is a horror – Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times
  • Men are not predators and women are not prey – Zoe Strimpel, Sunday Telegraph
  • The Brittan case reminds us that due process is still essential – Peter Preston, The Observer

Editorial:

Tory and Brexit donors ‘braced for revelations’ after Bermuda hack

One of the Conservative Party’s biggest donors and a billionaire hedge fund manager who played a key role in the Brexit campaign are both braced for revelations about their financial affairs, The Telegraph can disclose as a second company is revealed as a victim in the offshore Bermuda hack. Lord Ashcroft, who has given millions to the Tories, could see his company’s financial deals exposed as he is a client of a company which has been caught up in a huge data leak. The dealings of Robert Mercer, a major donor to Donald Trump who also aided the Leave.EU campaign, could also come under scrutiny following  the attack on one of the world’s biggest offshore law firms. The men are the first to be named in connection with hack on Appleby, first disclosed by The Telegraph, files from which are expected to be published by an international group of left-leaning journalists on Sunday.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Johnson in spotlight as questions raised over Russian influence – The Observer

Ministers 1) Gove drafted onto Brexit ‘war cabinet’

“Michael Gove has been added to Theresa May’s Brexit “war cabinet” in a move that strengthens the power of those who voted to leave the EU. The environment secretary and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, have both joined a group of six ministers who had been plotting Britain’s negotiation strategy. The move means cabinet Brexiteers now have a big majority on the body that will decide Britain’s future. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who voted “remain” but now says he would back Brexit if the vote were held again, has also joined the committee. Senior government sources said the expansion had occurred in order to get Gove on the panel because he is seen as a key power broker whose approval would be needed for any deal. He is viewed by Downing Street as an imaginative problem-solver.” – Sunday Times

  • May kickstarts talks by accepting £53 billion Brexit bill – Sunday Times
  • SNP launches ‘outrageous’ Brexit attack on the Government – Sunday Express

Ministers 2) Relationship between May and Hammond reportedly hits new low

“Relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond hit an all-time low after a stormy Budget meeting this week. Their already difficult relationship is under fresh strain following a major disagreement over how to solve the housing crisis. They met in No10 to plan big measures in the Chancellor’s annual economic blueprint on November 22. But aides claimed to be staggered by how condescending Mr Hammond was to the PM. They said he made no effort to hide his contempt for Mrs May. One No10 insider told The Sun: “Officials in the room could not believe how Philip was speaking to the PM. It was like he felt he had to explain everything to her like a child. It came across as unbelievably rude.”” – Sun on Sunday

  • Chancellor ‘plans to build on the green belt’ – Sunday Express
  • Hammond under pressure to drop ‘giant’ business rate hike – The Observer

Editorial:

  • Chancellor must dodge Brexit bricks and deliver on housing – Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Hammond plumbs a record depth in our Cabinet League Table

Ministers 3) Williamson criticised for voting record on the Military Covenant

“The new defence secretary has been accused of showing “disdain” for the armed forces after he consistently voted against strengthening the military covenant – the promise from the nation that servicemen and women and their families will be treated fairly. When appointed after the sudden resignation of Sir Michael Fallon last week, Gavin Williamson said he was “determined to ensure that the armed forces receive the recognition they deserve for the great work they do, including through the armed forces covenant”. His voting record, however, is less clear-cut. According to the website TheyWorkForYou, Williamson “consistently voted against strengthening the military covenant” in 2011 and 2012, including in February 2011 when he opposed a binding military covenant set out in law.” – Sunday Times

  • Defence Secretary helped shoot down plans to upgrade missile bases – Sun on Sunday

Comment:

  • Rise of ‘Gavin Who’ shows May is in a last-ditch fight for Downing Street – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times

Dia Chakravarty: The Tories should make space for their bright younger talent

Mrs Badenoch is an exceptional example, but she is representative of a diverse next generation of bright young Tories, alongside the likes of James Cleverly, Tom Tugendhat and Suella Fernandes. Each tells an interesting story and all are capable media performers. Why aren’t the Tories making better use of their considerable pool of relatable spokespeople to put forward a positive case, not just for the party but for the centre-Right in general? It must be obvious that the only way for this election-weary, listless government to recover is to allow the younger generation with fresh ideas, energy and confidence into it. With the right messengers in place, the Conservatives will be in a position to deliver their message far more effectively.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. It’s a thumbs-down from Party members to all the main candidates to succeed May

Abbott wrongly claims 16-year-olds can fight in the Armed Forces

“Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has wrongly claimed 16-year-olds can fight for their country as a reason for why the voting age should be lowered. Speaking in a video posted on her official Facebook page, the Labour MP said: ‘I believe in votes at 16. If you’re old enough to fight for your country, you’re old enough to vote.’ But Abbott didn’t realise that soldiers cannot be selected for combat until they are 18. It is the latest in a series of gaffes by the shadow home secretary. In May she was humiliated in an LBC radio show when she said it would cost just £300,000 to pay for an extra 10,000 police officers – and later said ‘I mis-spoke’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Brown claims UK was ‘misled’ over the Iraq War – Sun on Sunday

News in Brief:

  • The fallout over Williamson could break the Conservatives – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Corbyn is already doing economic damage – Robert Colvile, CapX
  • As a trainee teacher, I saw the damage the SNP have done to education – Madeleine Kearns, The Spectator
  • Johnson is damaging Britain’s global stature – Martin Fletcher, New Statesman
  • The world needs Britain to have its own trade policy – Shanker Singham, Brexit Central

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