David Cameron is back from Corfu and on Radio Five Live this morning made some observations about the A-List:
- "One thing I am going to do is reform our selection of candidates for by-elections, so we can clear up any confusion there might be. I want to make it absolutely clear that when we have a by-election we have a priority list - an A-list, if you like - for that by-election and that should include candidates who may be on the priority list, who may be on the general list that we have. It may include local candidates who have never thought about being politicians before. That list should be drawn up by Central Office on the one hand and the constituency on the other. It may include as few as two or three candidates and then it will be voted on by the local party and they will choose the actual candidate. We can then clear up that all candidates going forward for a by-election are, in effect, A-list priority candidates, whether they have been on a list before or not."
- Asked about the letter sent to A-listers who had applied to a small number of seats: "All the people on the A-list were written to and reminded that it is very important that they do apply for seats when they come up."
- About the number of women chosen under the A-list so far: "I think that's progress. I would like us to do better and I will be looking carefully to see how the selections go. I always said that in the middle or end of August, when the first tranche of selections have gone through, I would have another look at how the system was working."
The Observer's Oliver Marre has written a piece about Adam Rickitt this morning. I hesitated writing this as Marre's nonsense doesn't deserve any publicity but some people have emailed me about it and it's important that it is refuted.
I have just spoken to Adam Rickitt and he refutes three central 'facts' in the article: (1) he doesn't have a spokesman, (2) he has met David Cameron, and (3) he is a paid-up Tory member. Adam is still determined to pursue his ambitions to become a Tory MP. It would be difficult for The Observer to have got many more things wrong in such a short piece.
Adam Rickitt has been the top punch bag for many of those people who have disliked the A-list but he deserves truthful and fair treatment and The Observer and Oliver Marre, in particular, should be ashamed of themselves.