15 Aug 2013 08:48:52

Heath's egg joke

By Paul Goodman
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Talking of Miliband's egging yesterday, the throwing of another once provided voters with one-off evidence, never to be repeated, that Edward Heath had a sense of humour.  During the 1970 election campaign, Harold Wilson, then Prime Minister, was hit in the face by an egg thrown by a Young Conservative demonstrator.  Asked about the incident, Heath said:

"This was a secret meeting on a tour which nobody is supposed to know about. It means that men - and perhaps women - are walking the streets with eggs in their pockets, just on the off-chance."

14 Aug 2013 07:16:11

Two more unbeaten games for the Bluebirds

AFC Bluebirds is a five-a-side team made up of players from across Westminster. The team are proudly sponsored by Conservative Home. Follow them on Twitter. This match report is written by Joe Cawley.

Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 18.42.44Lining up for the first game of the night, the ConHome-sponsored Bluebirds team was in good spirits. Without their enigmatic Captain for another evening, an unusual, calm composure settled over the team confident in their ability. This confidence did not prove to be without merit; as soon a Bluebirds ran out on to the pitch, their game was all flowing football, quick passing and darting runs. The first half saw Nick Pickles step up to the plate, putting away two sharp goals after consummate passing play from the back. For all their superiority in the first half, Bluebirds struggled to find the net and only went in 3-1 up at the break.

After a quick half time pep talk led by Kevin Evans, Bluebirds started the second half like the first, dominating possession and keeping the ball squarely in the opposition’s half. The striking boots had clearly been put on in the half time break, and goals started to fly in. The opposition keeper must have had some sympathy with Chris Bryant on Monday evening. It was hard to keep track of Bluebirds all-out-assault, but Nick Pickles, Jimmy McLoughlin and Kevin Evans secured hat tricks, with every member of the team slotting at least one. The game’s final score was hard to tally, at a guess 15:3*.

It is with this performance that Bluebirds stepped up to the second game. Aware of last week, where a first game victory had led to a second game in which defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, Bluebirds came out with resolve. Once again, the passing and the movement was strong and purposeful, but there was no doubting that this team was stronger than the first. Bluebirds momentum was also hindered by what can only be described as a deeply angry and misguided referee, making decisions that would dog Bluebirds' performance throughout the match. Even with these hurdles to overcome, Bluebirds went in 5-3 up thanks to solid play at the back from Chris Rees and Jack Withrington, midfield magic from Kevin ‘Hazard’ Evans, Adam ‘Mata’ Brown and Luke ‘Oscar’ Webster and the continued fire power of Jimmy ‘dreadnaught’ McLoughlin.

Bluebirds started the second half as they meant to go on, scoring quickly from the restart and putting so distance between themselves and the opposition. However, the old curse reasserted itself, and the opposition started to come back. Working on a strategy of passing to their strong and quick centre forward, the opposition knocked in a couple of quick goals. With the talent of their striker, it was only the work rate and determination of Chris Rees at the back that kept more from being put away. With the game now squared at 6-6, the referee took the view that if several wrongs do not make a right, then maybe an absolute howler would.

For what was definitely a foul, but foul of no particular note, the referee suddenly decided he was working in the prem and sent Jimmy off for being the last man. With indignation running high Bluebirds battled on with four men. So incensed were Bluebirds with this affront to the spirit and rules of the game, that whilst down numerically, Bluebirds pulled ahead to 7-6. What followed was a tense five minutes of play with the opposition scoring, only for Kevin Evans to put a blinder away. With only seconds left the opposition powered down the pitch and scored with the last kick of the game. With the final score at 8-8*, Bluebirds are moving in the right direction.

*Actual scores

Bluebird 7 : 7 RPFC
Twobirds 12 : 2 Unathletico Archway


12 Aug 2013 16:44:22

David McLetchie CBE MSP, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has died

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

McLetchieWe're saddened to report that David McLetchie CBE, MSP for the Lothians and the first leader of the Scottish Conservatives after devolution, has died aged 61.

Mr McLetchie, who had long dreamed of representing the Conservative Party in his native Scotland, became one of the party's first MSPs in 1999, led his colleagues until 2005 and even after stepping down from the leadership continued to play a major role, including serving as Chief Whip. More recently, he sat on the Board of Better Together, campaigning against Scottish independence.

Ruth Davidson MSP, the current Scottish Conservative Leader, has paid tribute to him, saying:

“The dignity, courage and good humour with which David faced his illness was inspirational and his passing leaves a large hole in Scottish public life, in the Scottish Conservative Party and amongst those who were closest to him.

“First and foremost my deepest condolences go to his wife Sheila and their family. David had so much left to give and it is difficult to describe just what his loss at such a relatively young age means to all who knew him.”

11 Aug 2013 14:25:12

Newspapers report Conservative membership figures

By Peter Hoskin
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Following ConservativeHome’s own demands for official party membership figures from CCHQ, both the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times have sifted through constituency accounts to produce some numbers of their own. For the records, here are some of the key points from both papers’ reports, although it’s worth reading them in full. The Daily Telegraph first:

  • “MPs now openly admit they may have fallen below 100,000 for the first time in post-war history.”
  • “In Milton Keynes, where two Conservative MPs have seats, the number of full party members has fallen from 520 in 2010 to 264 in 2012.”
  • In Peterborough, where the Tory MP Stewart Jackson has a majority of 4,861, party membership has fallen from 264 two years ago to 140.”
  • “In Bedford, where Richard Fuller has a majority of 1,353, membership has slipped from around 300 to 213 in two years.”
  • “In the safe seat of Rugby, members have fallen from 194 to 155.”

And the Sunday Times (£):

  • “The scale of the collapse in Tory membership has been revealed by data showing that up to half the activists in some cabinet ministers’ seats have deserted the party since the election.”
  • “The worst-affected cabinet member is Pickles, whose Brentwood and Ongar constituency posted a 49.3% fall in membership between 2009 and 2012.”
  • “Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, saw her membership numbers plummet 43.9% from 787 in 2009 to 441 in 2012.”
  • “In the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency of Duncan Smith, numbers fell by 37% between 2009 and 2012.”
  • “In the Basingstoke constituency of Maria Miller, the culture secretary, who oversaw the gay marriage legislation, just 259 members remained at the end of 2011, compared with 339 before the election, a fall of 22.7%.”
  • “Only David Cameron and William Hague, the foreign secretary, have bucked the trend for steep declines in ministers’ seats. Both have seen drops of less than 2%.”

9 Aug 2013 13:19:14

Jacob Rees-Mogg falls victim to his own unworldliness, and the ever-present threat of entryism

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Jacob Rees-MoggWith the the news reservoirs running dry, the papers have hungrily devoured Jacob Rees-Mogg's encounter with the Traditional Britain Group.

In a nutshell, Rees-Mogg spoke at their dinner, and it has since emerged that the TBG espouses some disgusting ideas about black and asian Britons returning "to their natural homelands".

It's a scandal, and justifiably so - if an MP speaks at an event they are giving some kind of endorsement to their host, as well as assisting them by driving up ticket sales. The group in question is racist, and Jacob has now wisely submitted to public questioning over his decision to speak at the event and taken the opportunity to utterly reject such views.

He is able to do so because he is not a racist, and would never have knowingly accepted an invitation from someone who was.

He is in this situation because he fell victim to two factors.

Continue reading "Jacob Rees-Mogg falls victim to his own unworldliness, and the ever-present threat of entryism" »

7 Aug 2013 17:01:11

Sir Alan Beith's retirement offers a great opportunity to Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Berwick

By Mark Wallace
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Anne Marie TrevelyanAfter 40 years representing Berwick-upon-Tweed in Parliament, the Lib Dems' Sir Alan Beith has announced he will be stepping down at the 2015 General Election. 

His retirement, whilst long suspected, had not been confirmed until now. It is certainly good news for Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was reselected earlier in the year to fight the seat for a second time.

Sir Alan has a significant personal vote who support him rather than his party. The Lib Dems may well struggle to persuade that chunk of the electorate to back their new candidate.

In 2010, Anne-Marie reduced Beith's majority from 23.9 per cent to 7 per cent. Without his personal following turning out to vote Lib Dem in 2015, she could well take the seat.

She is certainly an experienced and energetic campaigner - this is a great chance for her to convert all that hard work into victory. Her response to the news of his retirement struck the right balance between paying tribute and looking to the future:

"Sir Alan has been a loyal servant and honorable politician for the people of North Northumberland for over four decades and we are grateful to him for his dedicated public service. The election in 2015 will be about getting a better deal for Northumberland and that means we need a strong, energetic voice in Westminster to make things happen."

7 Aug 2013 09:27:27

Bongo-Bongo land revisited. From Alan Clark's diaries.

By Paul Goodman
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Margaret Thatcher summons Clark to appoint him Minister for Trade:

"She said someone (I wonder who [1]) had said that I would be unacceptable to, e.g., the Nigerians because of (conveyed but not said) my remarks about Bongo-Bongo land. 'But of course you will be perfectly acceptable, won't you?

[1] On his own subsequent (that evening) admission, it was Douglas Hurd."

6 Aug 2013 06:48:24

Introducing eight new PPCs from across the country

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter. 

Candidate Map
Following the selection of the candidates for the 40 target seats that make up half of the 40/40 strategy, selections are proceeding apace in other constituencies. By my count, eight more seats now have PPCs in place. 

They are:

  • Birmingham Erdington: Robert Alden. Cllr Alden fought the seat in 2010, increasing the Conservative vote by impressive 9.7 percentage points. If he repeats the feat he will unseat Labour's Jack Dromey, and as a local councillor has the experience and access on the ground to take a serious run at it.
  • Brighton Pavilion: Clarence Mitchell. A former journalist, Mitchell is probably the most high-profile candidate selected so far. He is best known as the PR representative of the McCanns in their search for their missing daughter, Madeleine. In 2010, the Conservatives slipped to third place in Brighton Pavilion as Caroline Lucas became the first Green MP.
  • Carshalton and Wallington: Matthew Maxwell Scott. Maxwell Scott is a Wandsworth Councillor and a professional speechwriter in the private sector. He will be taking on Lib Dem MP Tom Brake, who has a majority of 5,260.
  • Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: Will Goodhand. As the MD of a marketing farm, no doubt Goodhand is already planning his messaging for the campaign in one of the top Tory targets in the North East. Labour incumbent Tom Blenkinsop has a 1,700 majority here, so the seat is up for grabs in 2015.
  • Taunton Deane: Rebecca Pow. After 16 years as a journalist, specialising in agriculture and rural affairs and becoming Britain's first environment correspondent on the way, Pow has since launched her own business. She has lived in Taunton for 27 years, and will be up against the Lib Dems' Jeremy Browne, who holds the constituency with a 4,000 vote majority.
  • Westminster North: Lindsey Hall. Another former journalist, Cllr Hall leads Westminster City Council's drive against fraud. The Conservatives were unlucky not to win Westminster North last time round after a series of messy disputes involving the A-list candidate, Joanne Cash. Hopes will be high that Cllr Hall can get the job done properly.
  • Westmorland and Lonsdale: Ann Myatt. Dr Myatt, a consulting dermatologist, stood in 2010 in Hemsworth, where she was the only main party candidate to increase their vote. She now faces Lib Dem President Tim Farron in a seat which is a totem of the yellows' local campaigning model.
  • Yeovil: Marcus Fysch. A local businessman, Fysch was selected through an open primary public meeting, attended by over 200 local voters. He is a County and District Councillor, with experience of fighting the Lib Dems that should prove useful taking on David Laws.

This new raft of candidates allows us to update the analysis of who will be standing at the next election.

Three more female PPCs take the ratio up to 29 per cent, well above the current Parliamentary figures. Half are local to their seat, lower than the 75 per cent in the first 40 selections but still good news. Two have previously stood for Parliament and several have local and national campaigning experience.

Their professional backgrounds are varied, and the presence of three former journalists, several business leaders and a professional speechwriter all suggests that associations increasingly value the ability to communicate a point and lead a team. 

All in all, some welcome additions to the team who will be fighting the 2015 general election on the ground in some must-win seats.

1 Aug 2013 08:48:32

Two questions about the MEP candidate selections which CCHQ must answer

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Grassroots
Yesterday, the results were announced of the ballot ranking candidates for next year's European elections (ConHome was, of course, first to the news and the full lists were published here).

There are two questions that arise from the process, (aside from the absurd rule by which candidates are forbidden from campaigning):

1) What was the turnout?

While the adoption of a postal ballot system in all areas except Scotland is a step in the right direction, giving party members greater power and opportunity to take part in the selection process, the published results are still rather vague.

Last time round, in 2008, this site campaigned for the full figures to be published from the ballot, including turnout. Those calls were rejected, at the time to avoid the embarrassment of revealing that several female candidates bumped to the top of the list had proved much less popular than several of their competitors. 

It is very disappointing that despite the lip service that is paid to internal democracy, the importance of primaries and so on, this data has yet again not been published. I suspect there is nervousness at CCHQ that the data would reveal awkward facts about the scale to which party membership has declined, but concealing a problem is the opposite of solving it.

We will be asking again for the party to publish full turnout data and the total number of votes received by each candidate. In a democracy, party members have a right to know.

2) Were all the candidates fully committed?

As I noted yesterday, something strange happened in the results for Yorkshire and the Humber. Number Six on the regional list remains unfilled.

How could this happen when there eight candidates competing to fill six places? Well, it seems that three candidates must have turned down the places they were given by the party membership - presumably because they were too low to offer them a chance of becoming an MEP. I haven't yet spoken to Fleur Butler, Spencer Pitfield and Karl Poulsen about what happened, but the absence of all of them from the final Yorkshire list is quite bizarre.

Now, the place will be filled by someone co-opted by the Party Board - essentially meaning members have been denied a choice by those who told them they wanted to be candidates.

It's entirely possible - likely even - that candidates in other regions dropped out due to dissatisfaction, but that it was masked by a reserve being bumped up the list. That there were too many vacancies in Yorkshire for the reserves to make up the numbers is quite shocking.

A quirk of party rules means that if you are standing in the European elections, you cannot also become a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. One can follow the thought process of a candidate who is offered a choice between a no-hope position on the Euro list and a roll of the dice seeking a Parliamentary nomination, but choosing self-interest over the greater good is quite shameful.

Those candidates who have accepted low places on the list should be praised - they will flog around campaigning for the next year with no hope of reward, a great example to rebut the lazy assumption that everyone in politics is out for themselves. They should also be able to stand for Westminster if they so wish, as punishing them for doing the right thing is unfair.

Those candidates who refused to do such essential but unglamorous work should find their search for a nomination elsewhere harder as a result - is there a system to ensure their decision is noted by associations assessing their applications?

The question remains, why were such individuals put forward as candidates in the first place? Honour should be enough to ensure that candidates do not simply bail out when they don't get what they want, but the candidate assessment process should also try to prevent such incidents occurring in the first place.

31 Jul 2013 15:30:22

AFC Bluebirds soar in double victory

AFC Bluebirds is a five-a-side team made up of players from across Westminster. The team are proudly sponsored by Conservative Home. Follow them on Twitter. This match report is written by Chris Rees (pictured below). Follow Chris on Twitter.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 16.51.12Silly season began this week with Parliament entering recess, but the Conservative Home sponsored Bluebirds and Twobirds made sure there was nothing casual about their performances. With two outstanding displays of unity, the teams enjoyed a memorable night playing the beautiful game.

Twobirds, stepping out in their shin-padded regalia, were first up, only to find a distinct lack of an opponent. With the opposition eventually turning up twenty minutes late, Twobirds were given a 2-0 head start. James Doyle, making his return after an all too long absence, played a pivotal role in extending this lead. With the opposition on the ropes after having a man sent-off for unfootballing rhetoric, Twobirds exposed the space by utilising the infamous fork formation. The added penetration, coupled with their superior discipline, left the opposition more exposed than a Shadow Labour Welfare Minister talking about benefit caps on Question Time. They may only be true blues, but Twobirds made light work of their first game winning 8-3.

Bluebirds, seeing their younger brother stick the fork in, went into their game with a point to prove. Going an early goal down can often send a team into disarray, but with government experience on their side, the Bluebirds exhibited all the characteristics of a well-oiled machine. Then, like the winner of a hard fought by-election, this author managed to score a notorious 'lamb shank' – also known as a glorious long range shot into the bottom corner. The Bluebirds were on the board. Sadly this was the only successful long range effort of the evening with many other speculative attempts going to waste. Nonetheless, the Bluebirds battled on and went through a beautiful passing stage.

Continue reading "AFC Bluebirds soar in double victory" »

31 Jul 2013 13:41:35

Selection results published for European election regional lists

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Today the results of the selection ballots for next year's European elections are announced, and candidates learn if they made the list and if so in which position. Our congratulations to those who have succeeded and commiserations to those who did not do as well as they had hoped.

We've been updating the results during the afternoon, and now can confirm that this is the full list:

East of England

1. Vicky Ford MEP

2. Geoffrey Van Orden MEP

3. David Campbell Bannerman MEP

4. John Flack

5. Cllr Tom Hunt

6. Margaret Simons

7. Jonathan Collett

It's interesting to note that while the regional selectoral college denied David Campbell Bannerman the privileged position of a sitting MEP, leaving him to compete with the wider list for his position, he still secured 3rd place - topping the members' ballot. It seems that while local party officials disliked the fact he had defected from UKIP it did him no harm among the membership.

South West

1. Ashley Fox MEP

2. Julie Girling MEP

3. James Cracknell

4. Georgina Butler

5. Sophia Swire

6. Melissa Maynard

London

1. Syed Kamall MEP

2. Charles Tannock MEP

3. Marina Yannakoudakis MEP

4. Caroline Attfield

5. Lynne Hack

6. Sheila Lawlor

7. Glyn Chambers

8. Annesley Abercorn

South East 

1. Daniel Hannan MEP

2. Nirj Deva MEP

3. RIchard Ashworth MEP

4. Marta Andreasen MEP

5. RIchard Robinson

6. Graham Knight

7. Julie Marson

8. George Jeffrey

9. Rory Love

10. Adrian Pepper

As with the East of England, the two MEPs who were stripped of their privileges by the selectoral college - Richard Ashworth and Marta Andreasen - have nonetheless topped the general list, coming in at 3 and 4 on the list respectively.

North West

1. Jacqueline Foster MEP 

2. Sajjad Karim MEP 

3. Kevin Beaty 

4. Deborah Dunleavy 

5. Joe Barker 

6. Daniel Hamilton 

7. Chris Whiteside 

8. James Walsh

North East

1. Martin Callanan MEP

2. Cllr Ben Houchen

3. Andrew Lee

East Midlands

1. Emma McClarkin MEP

2. Andrew Lewer

3. Rupert Matthews

4. Stephen Castens

5. Brendan Clarke-Smith

Wales

1. Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

2. Aled Davies

3. Dr Dan Boucher

4. Richard Hopkin

West Midlands

1. Philip Bradbourne MEP

2. Anthea McIntyre MEP

3. Daniel Dalton

4. Michael Burnett

5. Sibby Buckle

6. David Price

7. Dan Sames

Yorkshire and the Humber

1. Timothy Kirkhope MEP

2. Alex Story

3. John Procter

4. Carolyn Abbott

5. Michael Naughton

6. [To be confirmed]

It is unclear why Number 6 on the Yorkshire list is unfilled - this may be because CCHQ are awaiting confirmation from a candidate that they are willing to accept the position. Certainly in the past some candidates have stepped aside when they have been ranked low down the list, but we do not yet know if this is the case.

Finally we have the Scottish list, which was decided some weeks ago:

Scotland

1. Ian Duncan

2. Belinda Don

3. Nosheena Mobarik

4. Jamie Gardiner

5. Iain McGill

6. Stuart McIntyre

And there we have it, bar the sixth spot in Yorkshire - the full line-up of those who will be standing in next year's European elections.

24 Jul 2013 12:05:33

Sajjad Karim, Tory MEP, labels eurosceptics a "Taliban"

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Sajjad KarimAnnoyingly, the term "Taliban" has gained currency as a vague political insult - often, I suspect, used by those who lack the gumption to call anyone a Nazi. One example of the tendency comes from Vince Cable this morning, discussing the Bank of England.

Another comes from a Conservative MEP - discussing eurosceptic members of his own party.

The Daily Mail reports of Sajjid Karim:

"Writing on Twitter during a debate on Europe, he said: 'It seems the anti-EU taliban find it difficult to accept a different point of view!'

He added: 'The ANTI-EU TALIBAN don't want an informed British public or an informed debate. Bring it on!'"

A lot of Conservatives who would happily describe themselves as anti-EU would be surprised to hear one of the party's elected representatives label them an intolerant "Taliban". It certainly isn't a productive contribution to the debate, or helpful in improving relations between the party and its members.

It is one thing to disagree with people on your own side, and the Tory party is rightly a broad church, but it is quite another to go out of one's way to insult them.

Continue reading "Sajjad Karim, Tory MEP, labels eurosceptics a "Taliban"" »

23 Jul 2013 07:00:54

Full list of would-be MEP candidates in all regions - there's still time to use your vote

By Mark Wallace
Follow Mark on Twitter.

Grassroots

By now, all Conservative party members should have received their ballot papers for the selection of MEP candidates to stand in next year's European Parliament elections. We've covered various of the regional shortlists over the last few weeks, but for the record here is the full list of all the candidates seeking selection.

Each region features two lists. Those sitting MEPs who received more the 60% of the vote in the regional selectoral college automatically go to the top of the list, and members now get to rank them in order. The general shortlist features the candidates who will make up the rest of the party's platform in each region - members vote for a number of them to decide the order in which they will be ranked below the approved MEPs.

It's noteworthy that three sitting MEPs (including both the defectors from UKIP and Richard Ashworth, the delegation leader) failed to secure the approval of the selectoral college, and are thus having to fight it out for a place among the general candidate shortlist. This is a good sign that local members and officials are starting to flex their muscles and become far more demanding when picking candidates to send to Brussels.

North East

Martin Callanan MEP

--

Ben Houchen

Andy Lee

John Sharp

 

North West

Jacqueline Foster MEP

Sajjad Karim MEP

--

Joe Barker

Kevin Beaty

Deborah Dunleavy

Charles Fifield

Daniel Hamilton

Greg Morgan

James Walsh

Chris Whiteside

 

Yorkshire

Timothy Kirkhope MEP

--

Caroline Abbott

Fleur Butler

Michael Naughton

Spencer Pitfield

Karl Poulsen

John Proctor

Alex Story

 

London 

Syed Kamall MEP

Charles Tannock MEP

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP

---

Annesley Abercorn

Caroline Attfield

Glyn Chambers

Lynne Hack

Sheila Lawlor

Warwick Lightfoot

Anthony Samuels

 

South East

Daniel Hannan MEP 

Nirj Deva MEP 

---

Richard Ashworth MEP

Chris Cortes

Tony Devenish

George Jeffrey

Graham Knight

Rory Love

Julie Marson 

Adrian Pepper

Richard Robinson 

(As noted previously, Marta Andreasen MEP is technically eligible to be a candidate on the general shortlist. Howeverm I'm told she hasn't attended at least one of the hustings, suggesting she may be ruling herself out of the running.)

 

South West

Ashley Fox MEP

Juie Girling MEP

---

Georgina Butler

Don Collier

James Cracknell

Melissa Maynard

Virginia Morris

Sophie Swire

 

East of England

Vicky Ford MEP

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP

---

David Campbell Bannerman MEP

Jonathan Collett

John Flack

Cllr Tom Hunt

Gagan Mohindra

Margaret Simons

 

West Midlands

Phil Bradbourn MEP

Anthea McIntyre MEP

---

Susan Arnold

Sibby Buckle

Michael Burnett

Daniel Dalton

Ian Jamie

David Price

Daniel Sames

 

East Midlands

Emma McClarkin MEP

---

Stephen Castens

Brendan Clarke-Smith

Andrew Lewer

Toby Makhzangi

Rupert Matthews

Sudesh Mattu

 

Wales

Kay Swinburne MEP

---

Dan Boucher

Aled Davies

Richard Hopkin

Steve Haggett

 

Scotland

Scotland ranked its candidates by votes at a series of hustings, rather than through the postal ballot process used in the rest of the country. The results of that ranking are:

1. Ian Duncan

2. Belinda Don

3. Nosheena Mobarik

4. Jamie Gardiner

5. Iain McGill

6. Stuart McIntyre

**UPDATE**

If, like me, you haven't received your ballot papers for some reason, you should contact Electoral Reform Services:

On-line voting: Tel: 020 8889 9203 Email: onlinevoting@electoralreform.co.uk
Postal voting: Tel: 020 8889 9203 Email: customerservices@electoralreform.co.uk

22 Jul 2013 16:22:23

Brian Binley MP to leave the Commons at the next election

By Paul Goodman
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Binley-Brian-2I feel as though I've been a member of the Conservative Party for a long time...but Brian Binley has been one since the year before I was born.  And it is with sadness that I report the announcement this afternoon that the MP for Northampton South and member of the 1922 Executive Committee, will stand down from the Commons at the next election.  He is due to be 73 by the time it is fought.

Binley entered Parliament in 2005, and says that he believes that ten years in Parliament was "enough":  "Whether I have ten years left, or even 20, there are other things I want to do," he said.  He says that he is now in remission from a cancer diagnosed earlier this year.  "I was always told my disease was manageable and I now say to people, 'If you have to have cancer, ask for the menu and ask for a low-grade manageable one'."

Binley's majority at the last election was 6004.

 

21 Jul 2013 16:47:53

Brady and Jenkin urge Cameron to ditch the Lib Dems next year

By Peter Hoskin
Follow Peter on Twitter

By way of an addendum to my post yesterday, it’s worth noting that both Graham Brady and Bernard Jenkin have today suggested that the Coalition breaks up next year. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Brady says:

“It makes sense to plan an exit well in advance of a 2015 election. We need to convey a clear, separate identity and a separate set of aspirations from the Liberal Democrats.

You can’t get those messages across in three weeks or even three months. You need a sustained period of time to ensure voters are comfortable with what you are saying — at least six months.”

And from the same report:

“Mr Jenkin, a senior backbencher, said he supported calls for the Coalition to be scrapped next year.

‘In the end, actions speak louder than words,’ he said. ‘Unless we are campaigning for a coalition after the election we had better show that we mean what we say and that we want to stand as a separate party and stand for separate things.’”

A few anonymous “senior Consevatives” also offer their views, from claiming that a split would suit both parties, to urging against one. We’re probably entering a season in which such arguments will be aired more loudly and more frequently.

The thing is, David Cameron isn’t playing along. Although he stressed in his Marr interview earlier that he’s aiming to lead a Conservative majority government after the next election, he was also careful to add “I’m not going to speculate about anything else,” and praise the work of the current Coalition. He knows that he may have to rely on the Lib Dems again, after 2015.