There was a lot of controversy recently when the Mail on Sunday revealed that Helen Grant - the candidate chosen to replace Ann Widdecombe for the Maidstone and the Weald constituency - had been considering standing for Labour just two years ago. More controversial was the eve-of-poll revelation in Ealing Southall that our candidate, Tony Lit, had attended a Labour fundraiser only weeks earlier. There was also some unhappiness that Saj Karim MEP, a recent defector from the LibDems, was 'toplisted' as a Conservative European elections candidate without grassroots members being given a say.
One of the questions we asked in the latest ConservativeHome.com survey concerned the minimum time that someone should have to wait before being eligible to stand as a Tory candidate. More than 1,600 members voted in the survey and most agreed that there should be a minimum period; 25% thought that there should be no minimum time.
Given that it was about two years from Helen Grant's dalliance with Labour until she was adopted by Maidstone Tories, she satisfied the vast majority of members' expectations of a 'waiting time'. CCHQ should, nonetheless, have told M&TW Tories about her recent political past.
Related link: Grassroots reject special favours for defectors