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It will be interesting to see if he has changed at all during his time outside Parliament. I would have few objections to seeing him back in Parliament it seems to be what the majority of members want.

The only good think about HF losing his seat was that Nick Herbert joined the green benches.

Flight has also taken on the Chairmanship of the Globalisation Institute think-tank.

This is wonderful news. The sooner Howard is back in Parliament, the better! Ann Widdecombe is retiring at the next GE, so he should spend a bit on time in Maidestone and the Weald...

I thought Michael Howard was right to sack Flight. His appauling lack of discipline ended a period where the Tories had been contesting at the start of the campaign and played right into the hands of Labour.

What about candidates who lost by narrow margins but might have won had Flight not torpedoed the entire campaign?

What about Roger Helmer?!

I agree with Wasp. Howard Flight fully deserved the treatment he got after single-handedly ruining what had been a promising start to the election campaign. After what happened to Oliver Letwin four years before, Howard Flight's outburst was mindbogglingly stupid.

Howard Flight is an archetypical "loose cannon" You do need the or one or two of those, keeps the rest of us on our toes. His is the sort of loose cannonary that goes off message at the drop of a hat. Its in his psyche. Sudden, sometimes intuitive, sometimes disasterous remarks.

I agree with Chris. Surely at this stage, we should be concentrating on getting a sitting MEP reinstated as a Conservative MEP. His was the more unfair sacking.

Howard Flight deserved to be sacked as Deputy Chairman - what he didn't deserve was to be sacked as an MP. We all make mistakes but Michael Howard over-reacted and Flight's treatment was unfair. As the Editor said, the only good thing to come out of this was the election of the excellent Nick Herbert in his place.

Although I sympathised with Flight's views on taxation, the way he opened his mouth during an election was profoundly stupid. I don't believe that the leadership should go uncriticised but it is better if criticism comes from the grass roots i.e us rather than MPs. All this does is encourage a perception of division.

I can't remember exact examples but ever since 1997 I remember thinking "Why can't you just keep your mouth shut" when some MP decided to speak out against the party leader. This is especially annoying when they've spoken out against one of the (few) popular policies. I am most unsympathetic when it appears that they are selfishly only thinking about themselves and do not represent a significant following within the party. Egos are always a problem in politics. I've always held that any pompous comment by a politician should culiminate in a sacking. Who was it that walked out of an interview in the 1980s because he was (rightly) called a "here today, gone tomorrow politician"? He should have been given the boot for that.

Anyway, rant over.

I 'm with those who agree that Howard Flight got what he deserved.There may well be several people who would be Conservative MPs now rather than 'near misses' if Flight had not made the remarks he did.
If he does get a seat in the future I hope he will repay the generosity of those who selected him with more discipline than he has showed in the past.

I too agree with Chris. Why is Roger Helmer still not back in the Conservative fold? Anyone who looks at his website or who looks at his record during his time as a Conservative MEP will find nothing that could possibly prevent him from being an elected member of our party. I hope this state of affairs does not go on for much longer.

I'm pleasantly surprised at the views here on Howard Flight's dismissal. I wholly agree too and am quite ambivalent to his return.

I also agree with Editor about Nick Herbert joining the parliamentary party.

If we are to have an A-list the many people ahead of Howard Flight who would present the party in a more agreeable and sympathetic light.

He seems to be well suited to his position as President of the Conservative City Circle and I’m sure he will bring in numerous benefits to the party thorough his role.

I thought it wrong to force the local constituency to de-select Howard Flight but quite understood Howard's anger. Howard's reaction was in keeping with his Home Office record. Exemplary punishment acting as a deterrent to anyone else thinking of stepping out of line.
A party fighting to build a platform for recovery cannot afford a Deputy Chairman making comments that undermine the credibility of a key policy. Oliver Letwin was perhaps fortunate to have a more understanding leader in William Hague.

Editor, would it be possible to organise an article/petition calling for the reinstatement of Roger Helmer. He's my MEP and I along with others campaigned strongly at conference for this situation to be resolved. It's gone on long enough.

If we'd gone into the last election with a serious and determined commitment to cut taxes and public spending instead of a half hearted last minute feeble proposal to save a tiny fraction of the £ 700bn annual budget then Howard Flight would never have made the comments he did. The public isn't stupid. They know the Government can't go on with the present public spending explosion without wrecking the economy and having to face up to reality sooner or later. Why does the present Tory leadership
continue to pretend otherwise ?

The trouble is the public have had 8 years NuLab propaganda saying "Cuts in tax mean cuts in public services".

Now we know that's all nonsense, but the public at large don't. As such you get all these people saying they've done a great job with the economy. They haven't, the Bank of England have done a great job with the economy.

While the public at large are holding these pro Labour beliefs we have to teach them that tax cuts don't mean school closures and waiting lists. Only then can we start saying we're going to cut tax.


This is a great idea. Maybe an online petition that could then be sent to David Cameron and Timothy Kirkhope showing the level of support for Roger.

Richard, Andrew,

If you want to make the case for the reinstatement of Mr Helmer I'll post it and we can have a vote...?

Would you like to coordinate between yourselves...?

A vote sounds a good idea. I'll e-mail you in a bit Richard to see if we can sort something out.

I'm willing to help write something too. I'll email Richard.

Howard Flight deserved to be sacked as Deputy Chairman - but he didn't deserve then to be deselected.

Not only was his deselection unfair - it was counterproductive as it ensured far more publicity for this story than it would otherwise have got.

And, of course, it is essential that somebody argues against Helmer being allowed to rejoin the parliamentary group. Many Conservatives, self included, would oppose such a move. He'd be more at home in the League of Polish Families.

Sean, you're spot on.

Either way I don't see what Flight would bring to parliament. He should be pensioned off with a peerage.

And, of course, it is essential that somebody argues against Helmer being allowed to rejoin the parliamentary group. Many Conservatives, self included, would oppose such a move. He'd be more at home in the League of Polish Families.

Why do you say that Justin? What's Roger done or said that has especially upset you?

Howard Flight is also a Patron of Harlow Conservative Constituency Association. He is an active Patron, strongly supported by local members and has visited Harlow Conservatives a number of times as well as helping to raise funds in past elections.

You have e-mail Richard.

Robert Oulds is also back.

Last night I am informed he was elected Chairman of the Slough Conservative Association.

O dear...

What exactly does the Conservative City Circle do?
This is the first I'm hearing of it!

It was always ludicrous that he be ejected as a candidate simply for saying that if other efficency savings were found then they would be additional to what was proposed, there can in some circumstances be arguments as to what constitutes a saving and what is an essential or important part of service provision but regardless of what their political views are nobody with any sense finding something that they believed to be a waste of money or that could be done in a better way, would leave things as they were with the only thing then being whether the money saved would be respent on the same thing, redirected to some other area of public spending or for reducing the deficit or repaying National Debt, or for cutting taxes.

The move simply made Michael Howard look ridiculous and someone who would react to short term press reports.

Beyond the circumstances of Flight's deselction, I am not aware of anything of note concerning the gentleman. Is he therefore really Gold List material?

Not that we should have a Gold List.

Is he therefore really Gold List material?

Surf back through the last half dozen or so years Finance Bill committee stages and you'll see ample evidence of HF's extraordinary ability as he consistently scored points off a Government backed by the ample resources of the Treasury. Ability alone wasn't enough - he often worked until 5 in the morning to be prepared for the next day in Committee. There was no hiding place out there!

Unfortunately HF was a serial loose cannon who had been hauled up by MH numerous times for going off message. That's why he was told, before the fatal CWF meeting, to stay strictly on message. However HF has always had a weakness for saying what he thought an audience wanted to hear.
MH was damned if he fired HF (in the eyes of some on this thread, among others) and damned if he didn't - because Labour would have spent the whole campaign saying there was a hidden agenda.
He's a brilliant man, who would make a great backbencher, but I doubt if he'll return to the level he once achieved.

Don't forget that the common voter sees things quite differently. They judge an MP according to his interest in their particular needs. HF had the ability to find time for individuals well beyond what would normally be expected of an MP.

Though Old School, Flight's record speaks for itself. How many of the other Conservative MP's have such a strong record in careers outside of Politics. If we really arguing that Labor has overspend on Public Services then Flight is precisely that argument. Surely blaming him for others failing to win seats is a little naive - Justin?

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