Conor Burns is MP for Bournemouth West. Follow Conor on Twitter.
I thought carefully before writing this article. About whether to bother. I write it secure in the knowledge that cloaked in the anonymity of the internet it will get comments asking what right I have to comment on Eastleigh given my track record there.
One Hedge End resident in the constituency remembered me last weekend and gave me the most memorable doorstep experience of the last few weeks. He assured me that he had voted for me “both times”. Before saying, “Well it’s worked out pretty well for you son – you’ve got the seaside and Huhne getting a cell”!
So yes I have a track record in Eastleigh – I fought the constituency twice. And I lost it twice. I contemplated a third (because the party asked me to) but for reasons I will explain I decided against.
However with over six years as the candidate there and nine years as a local resident I did want to use my knowledge to help Maria Hutchings in her fight. Over the last few weeks I made fourteen visits to help in Eastleigh – fortunately it’s not a long drive from Bournemouth (even without speeding). I came back as an activist. I delivered leaflets, canvassed and asked friends to join me. I had no input into the campaign beyond street campaigning.
I make no comment positively or otherwise about the campaign. And I refute any blame being attached to our candidate. Maria Hutchings is a lady of authentic decency as anyone who knows her will attest.