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I wouldnt take the gig if offered it but its up to them.

He wont gamble at all. He barely considered an early election. Its all a ruse to make the Tories panic which we, as planned, did.

A government can only unite a country if it has the policies to unite a country. Gordon Brown's gimmick of appointing Messrs Bercow and Mercer will fool no-one. This is cosmetic surgery for an ugly unproductive government. Come into my parlour said the spider to the flies.

Dave was obviously right to sack Mercer - what a bone head!

Unsure whether to criticise Mercer and Bercow or not. Brown has obviously appealed to their vanity but both may be motivitated simply by desire to serve their country.
Nevetheless if as I suspect Brown seeks to make any political capital out of this I would hope both would quit toot sweet.
I still haven't forgiven Chris Patten or Ken Clarke with the charade they were involved with over the Euro.

Cameron can easily take the sting out of this by saying he welcomes the fact that Brown feels the need to take Conservative advice on important matters, rather than leaving it to the Labour party.

John Bercow, despite his past seedy background in FCS, has shown some concern for people-centred matters in recent years so his recruitment by the Prime Minister comes as no surprise.

I'm surprised about Mercer who seems to have an unattractive and rather nasty side to him. However his military knowhow could be useful.

This is likely to be a halfway house for Bercow before he becomes a Labour MP in due course.

What possessed Mercer and Berkow? Why not go the whole hog and bu**er of to Labour. This gives GB the chance to portray himself as a unifying figure despite the fact that he has voted for anti-English legislation ( Barnett maintained; Devolution; and MANY more such examples). I just wonder what MP's are on these days.....

They should be told that they will not be conservative candidates at the next election unless they decline the offer to serve. No ifs or buts. Nomination rules means that ultimately CCHQ can decide who is or is not an official Conservative at the GE. Mercer should know better that you do not consort with the enemy and Burcow is just too awful and useless to think about and would not be missed by his local party at all

I hope that their constituency Associations call them in for a chat. I hope that funds are diverted away to other MPs and candidates that are more deserving of support.

How Mercer can "help" the Govt after the muck chucked at him and our party by Labour is a mystery. Also Bercow denied being linked in any way with Labour and now the truth emerges. Middle aged crisis?

If this is true then as both are in 'safe' Conservative seats, both in my view should be deselected and new candidates appointed without any further delay.

just shows the desperation of brown. keep the faith.

All of this will be forgotten when those leading Lib Dems and Labour types we heard so much about a few months back finally get round to defecting over to us.

They are coming over, aren't they? It wasn't all just bungled spin?

If I was their Conservative voters I would be very surprised and query their reselection.

It does make you wonder at Conservative MP's, whose application to the task of opposition has been less than overwhelming, and as these two have done manage to sabotage the interests of centre right politics.

I hope their local Conservative associations will deselect them.

The final sell-out for Bercow. How can this man look at himself in the mirror every day? Wonder if he is about something else as he heads off to Labour.

"How can this man look at himself in the mirror every day?"

Perhaps because he is not actually tall enough to see himself in the mirror?

Benedict, who is your money on to be the first to defect. I think Frank Fields is favourite. He has been flirting with the party for some time now. As an outside bet how about Ruth Kelly once Labour dump her from the cabinet? I reckon she has Tory-leanings even though she probably won't admit that to herself.

The two Tories "advising" the government will not cost the Tories any votes at all. I don't believe voters are influenced by defections, let alone "agreements to advise". We advise the government all the time on committees, in less publicised commons debates. Patrick Mercer is a soldier, not a politician, and is probably, so far as he is concerned, getting on with helping the country be run properly. I see no reason not to inviegle more Tory expertise into security policy - and even if it does get publicity, we can spin it as Tories coming to prop up Labour, and Cameron being fluffy and consensual, which he seems to like.

"The final sell-out for Bercow"

Yes it hard to understand why the Conservative Association of Buckingham continue to have Bercow as their candidate when he is cited as wanting to cross the floor of the House, and if elected as MP at the next election would most probably cross the floor of the house after the next election.

Why are they working so hard to elect a Labour MP?

It is completely unacceptable to give this kind of assistance to our political enemies. It should under no circumstances be tolerated by the constituency associations concerned. The Leader of our Party can decide when and if he wishes to co-operate with other parties. Backbenchers must follow his lead. This is disgraceful, egotistical behaviour from Bercow and Mercer. They are deluded if they think that Brown wants them there for anything other than the political capital he can gain from capturing them. Immediate deselection is the only response.


Buckingham Conservative Association should call in Mr Bercow for urgent answers....

Wow, there's a surprise, a lot more vitriol from our resident UKIP-trolls aimed at Bercow than at Mercer, despite the fact they've both done the same thing...

As it turns out, Mr Editor, you weren't so very wrong about Mr Bercow going to help Labour at a time of maximum advantage to Gordon Brown!

It's funny. It is a very familiar Tory mantra (from the lovely Mr Dale downwards) to ukippers, that they should stop supporting ukip and help the Tories who are more likely to form a government.

Well, Labour are in government, so where better to get your goals delivered that working with the party that is actually *IN* government?

Fight for change from within and all that particulary as the top 3 parties have converged on this political agenda that they label 'the centre ground'.

You can't have it both ways chaps...

So let's get this straight: soldier-patriot advises the state on how best to keep the country safe, and there are people here who call themselves Tories who are mewling about this? Oh, and our press team really is so p*sspoor that they can't spin this as 'hopeless government *has* to turn to a Tory to help discharge their basic, primary role'?

The unworthy smear on Patrick Mercer above - that he's doing this perhaps because of "[his] continuing disappointment at Mr Cameron's treatment of him", rather than because of patriotism pure and simple - is especially ignoble from anyone who believes we are in the middle of a 'war' at the moment. Tinny, inadequate party factionalism really does have it limits. Fact God men like Mercer know where they are.

Never type in anger: 'thank God', rather than 'fact God', which is of course a point of view, but not the theme of this thread.

"So let's get this straight: soldier-patriot advises the state on how best to keep the country safe, and there are people here who call themselves Tories who are mewling about this?"

If a patriot he would have nothing to do with a Government which took us to war on a lie, for there can be no greater act of treachery than that! But if Mr Mercer wanted to be of service to the country, he shouldn't start by trying to do it by damaging the ability of the opposition to hold the Executive to account.

It's interesting that the predictions that Brown would lurch to the left have been wrong. Brown has in-fact surged to the right and is trying as hard as he can to destabilise the Conservative move to the centre ground.

This is a very cunning ploy, and in years gone by, would have the Tories jumping for the right-wing bunker and more political oblivion (where upon, the government of all the talents is dispersed and Brown does what he wants as usual). We have been out manoeuvred too many times by this guy to fall for this one again....err well I hope we have. Divide and conquer is the plan, but we need to cooperate with him for it to succeed. We should see this as a real sign of the threat we pose to his ambition, and a signal that we are strong enough to beat Brown.


HF @ 1040

"I hope that their constituency Associations call them in for a chat."

The chat should be very short and emulate Sir Alan Sugar:

'You're fired!'

If the advice either of these individuals (I forbear to use the word 'gentlemen')gives is contrary to Conservative party policy (regardless of who is right and who is wrong), then neither man can possibly remain as a Conservative MP. Not least because when any Conservative expounds that policy Brown will pop up and brandish Bercow's or Mercer's contrary advice and flourish it under our noses.

If nothing is done to remove these people now it will send the message to all of us that there is no real difference between the parties and that taking 30 pieces of silver is no bar to being a Conservative MP or indeed to being a member of the party.

Some of us will be watching very carefully at the robustness or otherwise of Mr. Cameron's response to this.

btw... what makes people so easily lead into switching sides or so-forth. I would never in a million years dream of working with the Labour party. Now I know we have our differences on this side of the fence, but thats a Captain James T Kirk light century away from thinking like a socialist, or even NuLab Socialist-Lite. Why do MP's do it, are they just power humgry opportunists with a few white lies to tell? Beyond me.

..and if you call for the deselection of every Tory MP who feeds ideas to help the government then that would have to include Cameron over his phone-tap suggestion (or other assistance on privy council terms).

Ugly tribalism of the type seen on this thread today can only harm your goals.

What about the whip? I bet McLoughlin will be making a few calls.

'Ugly tribalism', which is exactly what informs Gordon Brown's actions today.

After 10 years of a Labour government and a critical time in the election cycle, these two want to help Brown stay in power?
Sorry, Mercer has shown ill judgement yet again and as for Bercow, words fail me!!!!

"Bercow is a rat in human form."

And Mercer...?

Yes the sheer unpleasantness of the venom expressed here is very interesting to behold.

I have very little time for Mercer and I have actually had contact with Bercow years ago whom I personally found rather distasteful. However they are entitled to make up their minds for themselves.

The Nasty Party indeed.

if it is correct that the party gave permission for this, then they are barking. This will dismay many many people and be seen as a very grave error of judgement.

The Labour Party must be falling about laughing this morning.

'Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad' seems to be about it.

Some Labour MP's about their new colleague:


Racist abuse can have no place in any walk of life, and it is appalling and inappropriate for any politician, never mind a senior Tory MP like Patrick Mercer, to suggest that 'this is just the way it is in the Army'.

Our troops and our officers are 21st century people who recognise that there is no place for prejudice in the modern world... Patrick Mercer may have a military background but he no longer speaks for the Armed Forces.

It is an insult to the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces with great distinction, and it does not represent a true picture of today's Army which goes to great lengths to ensure that all those who serve, irrespective of their race or ethnic origin are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential


The comments are breathtaking and dreadful and Mr Mercer's resignation is appropriate


We are relieved that the leader of the opposition has sacked Patrick Mercer.

This sends a clear signal that racist attitudes and comments are not acceptable. Grown up modern politics has no place for bigots.

It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure regressive comments such as these do not undermine the achievements that have been made in race equality over the last 30 years

Sadiq Khan, a Labour MP, said: "Patrick Mercer's comments are deeply shocking and so is the initial response of Cameron's HQ.

"Rather than dismissing it as a 'personal matter' David Cameron's Tory Party should have sacked him immediately. This shows that the Conservative Party has not changed."

The Labour MP Shahid Malik said they showed the Tories remained the "nasty party" and had not changed under Mr Cameron's leadership. "It doesn't matter what they tell you, they still are the nasty, racist, sexist, homophobic party they have been for many, many, many years," he said. "It is going to take a long time to weed out the inherent racism that actually exists in that particular party."

Alan Johnston

What is more, however genuine Cameron’s newfound centrism, ‘his party isn’t with him’. Johnson suggests that ‘Patrick Mercer [the Tory frontbencher recently dismissed for allegedly racist comments] better reflects the Tory backbenches, and he’s probably on the liberal side.’

Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz MP, Chair of Labour's Ethnic Minority Taskforce, commenting on the actions of Cllr Brian Gordon who 'blacked-up' as Nelson Mandela, said:

"This sort of behaviour is shocking and completely unacceptable.

"It is deeply depressing not only that Cllr Brian Gordon blackened his face in an attempt to dress up as Nelson Mandela, but also because the leader of Barnet Council, Mike Freer - a Tory parliamentary candidate - could not understand that people might find Cllr Gordon's behaviour offensive.

"Today we find out that yet again, Tory Central Office has distanced itself from racism in the party by refusing to comment. It's less than a month since they behaved the same way over the Patrick Mercer affair. Only when the pressure mounted did they act.

"The actions of Cllr Gordon and Mr Mercer reveal the true nature of the Tory party. It will take much more than warm words and PR from David Cameron to bring about real change in his party."

I welcome this, and I think all sensible, broad-minded people who really care about society would welcome it too. I think it is an excellent sign of maturity in politics to be willing to put country before party, and to contribute ideas on a given area of expertise to the government if invited. Neither of them have defected, and they rightly sought the Conservative Party's agreement before accepting. I agree with Caroline Spelman's statement that of course we want to see good ideas translated into the right action ... but let's give it a chance. It is churlish to do otherwise.

The fact is that Patrick Mercer was merely pointing out how he found things in the Army, that abuse was commonplace and that everybody who got things wrong got abused. He also said that he took action in cases where there were unprovoked instances of racial abuse and that he didn't pay attention to people's ethnic backgrounds when deciding who to have in a particular position, he was critical of a system that encouraged people to use status of being from a particular minority ethnic group to seek privileges, it may be that he could have done things better (who couldn't?, no one's perfect!) and while it is neccessary to have punishments for failure and rewards for success certainly use of abuse unrelated to the failures isn't the way to do it, but David Cameron's response was a kneejerk one reminiscent of that of Michael Howard's sacking of Howard Flight, Trevor Phillips and Gordon Brown on the other hand have both recognised valuable insights that Patrick Mercer has into such issues and his experience with regard to National Security and Defence and managing a group of men from different backgrounds.

I think many of the contributors to this thread really need to grow up. Sometimes I despair of some of the narrow-minded twits in our party.

We have little option but to grin and bear this. In view of the exceptional circs, the constituency parties should ask them for public undertakings that they would resign their seats if they now defect to Labour following re-election next time as Conservatives, in return for keeping them on as candidates. They could argue that there is otherwise a danger of mass desertion of their core vote to an independent Conservative candidate who electors know would never join the Labour Party.

Also how about approaching Kate Hoey and Frank Field to advise us? Kate could advise on either countryside policy or, if she could be induced, on achieving a referendum on the EU treaty; Frank Field perhaps on some aspect of welfare reform. The delicious aspect of this is that the Labour Party could not object without looking hypocritical. And then if Bercow or Mercer defect, we will have our counter-defectors fully in place. A bit like Moscow knowing that they will get diplomats expelled in London if they expell ours in Moscow.

The actions of these men make a Labour victory at the nest election more likely. They should be honest and join the Labour party as that is the impact of their actions.

They are being used by Gordon Brown, in his attempt to smother democracy in England.

Why is everyone treating this as a defection or potential defection in the future on this thread? Can you not please grow up, think outside the box, adapt to a new and more mature way of doing politics, and believe that what matters more than power for power's sake is the opportunity to influence policy. Of course I want a Conservative government and I want to see David Cameron win the next election - but in the meantime, why not take the opportunity, when offered it, on specific policy areas where there can be cross-party agreement, to actually make a difference for our country instead of getting into a tizz about the next coffee morning or the next parish council meeting?

The way some people go on on this thread, you will actually encourage defections - is that what you want??

Didn't Cameron say in his first dispatch box speech that he wanted to 'help' the government?

If he OK'd this move he's certainly helping Brown in more ways than one.

Surprised by Mercer, although these military men sometimes do tend to be a bit naive and unworldly about politics. As for Bercow, his defection is long overdue.

How much longer will the Tories of Buckingham put us with this insufferable and untrustworthy egotist?

Wow, is that it? Is that the seismic announcement Gordon was going to make?

All that time in recess and that's it?

Clearly too busy reading the Conservative policy reviews wondering which bits they are going to steal.

Nice to see it hasn't shifted Tory spending plans off top spot in the political news today.

What with the recent polls showing ground made up, Gordon can't play the same gimmick again and again.

Old. Stale. Past it.

How much longer will the readers and editors of conservativehome.com put up with Traditional Tory, an insufferable narrow-minded unimaginative uncreative cowardly power-hungry nut?

Ben Rogers, Bercow and Mercer by assisting Brown is to help the Labour Government stay in office ( Brown wouldn't do it otherwise ) so if wanting to get shot of this miserable Labour Government and resentful at the Conservative MP's who are assisting them in their aim is to be narrow minded, then I am happy to put my hand up and say guilty as charged!

Surprised by Mercer, although these military men sometimes do tend to be a bit naive and unworldly about politics.
People are talking as if this is the first time members of an opposition party have acted as advisors to the government, in fact David Cameron's policy groups had submissions from people from other parties, David Mellor and Michael Hestletine both accepted tasks from Tony Blair in 1997, Alex Carlile is acting as an advisor of Legal aspects of National Security matters to the Department of Justice and there are no signs that he's about to defect, in the US when one party has both the Presidency and Senate they usually still have people from the opposing party in their cabinet even; Beveridge was a Liberal MP, I don't see that it is any different from taking part in a Select Committee and in a situation of opposition participating in decision making in such bodies is one way of actually being able to do something useful and possibly effect changes - the General Public are going to be impressed where opposition parties and backbenchers of parties in government do what they can with what is available for them to get things done, and are not likely to be impressed by MPs simply refusing to give any input, it doesn't mean they have to abandon their principles - they can give their opinion and experience and if this is rejected then they can at least feel they tried, Tony Blair met with Michael Howard for example to discuss Criminal Justice legislation and they were able to come to an agreement, thus from Tony Blair's point of view in those circumstances he could show that he already had some experience of decision taking at a governmental level and was doing something of direct use to the country.

I note Caroline Spellman's statement, she has reinforced my view that she lacks the drive and determination to bring us a victory.

May I remind her that her job is to get this party out and our party into Government. Not spend resources on reinforcing Gordon Brown as the "unity Govt".

Would Labour MPs have been allowed to join John Major's initiatives in 1990 to 97? I do not recall any. Labour MPs then used to spend their time OPPOSING the Govt.


Posted by: TomTom | September 03, 2007 at 11:08

I stated that Bercow had learning difficulties and it was deleted which makes the comment that was not deleted all the more remarkable, viz

Bercow is a rat in human form.

Posted by: Tory G | September 03, 2007 at 11:29

Clearly my comment was the more insightful, therefore deleted

Thank you Yet Another Anon. AT LAST there is another sane voice on this thread. To all those bursting blood vessels, please stop - you will be putting a big and unfair strain on the already overstretched NHS. What kind of message would it have sent to the public if John Bercow and Patrick Mercer had refused, or if the Tory Party leadership had rejected them? It would have said we were a narrow-minded, partisan, unimaginative sect that was more interested in power for power's sake rather than advancing ideas that might help improve policy. I don't think that signal would have won us any favours at all. I think by demonstrating a willingness to work with the govt where possible, we actually could win some credit politically as well as advancing the ideas themselves.

"or if the Tory Party leadership had rejected them?"

Simple, if asked, and it now seems Brown didn't, they should say that with an election in the immediate offing, it wasn't in order for Conservative MP's to help Labour form their policies. Of course if Brown would care to give an undertaking there wouldn't be an election for the next two years, the Conservative party would take another look at it, putting the ball right back in Brown’s court.

Yet Another Anon @ 1238

“David Mellor and Michael Hestletine both accepted tasks from Tony Blair in 1997”

Not exactly great role models…….the one a failed MP and the other a regicide.

“Alex Carlile”

What LibDems get up to is neither here nor there, save that normally it would suggest there is nothing to choose between Labour and the LibDems. Now, given party approval of this move, we can no longer, without an accusation of hypocrisy, attack the LibDems for propping up Labour in this way.

“Beveridge was a Liberal MP:

His report was produced at the request (in 1941) of the Churchill Coalition Government of 1940-45 of which the Liberals were members and his report was published in 1942. The circumstances are, therefore quite different and provide no support for the present matter.

Ben Rogers - How much longer will the readers and editors of conservativehome.com put up with Traditional Tory, an insufferable narrow-minded unimaginative uncreative cowardly power-hungry nut?

I may be most of those things, but 'power-hungry'???

Who does he think I am? A member of the Shadow Cabinet?


Paddy Ashdown turned down Gordon Brown's "kind offer" - though in his case he was offered a Cabinet Post so it would have been much more damaging to the Lib Dems than just an advisor to Government.
Mercer & Bercow could easily have said thanks but no thanks - they are both members of parliament and free to offer advice through Select Committees, parliamentary groups or even on the floor of the house.
It is IMO poor judgement at best and is disappointing (as were the Heseltine and Mellor actions).

I agree with those above who contend that this sort of collaboration with our opponents is incompatible with their positions as Conservative MPs. They should be called in by the Chief Whip and told so. In politics it is impossible to have two masters and serve both faithfully.

I'm quite happy for our MPs to take these jobs and then, at a time most opportune to us, to each come out with their insider's view that Gordon Brown is impossible to work with. Surely that's what will happen.

Very disappointing that Patrick Mercer should make such an egregious misjudgement, particularly following recent TV interviews where he gave very informed commentary about the Army's redeployment from Basra and the problems faced by the PBI.

Regarding Bercow - well, entirely to be expected as this ghastly little careerist creep continues to develop the courage of his wife's political convictions prior to crossing the floor. It's a pity that the Chairman of his constituency doesn't show a bit of spine and read him the riot act: I suppose he realises that if he required Bercow to explain himself, that would trigger Bercow's defection and the Chairman would get no support from CCHQ.

During his time in the Army, Mercer completed nine tours in Northern Ireland and latterly commanded his battalion in Bosnia, Canada, Germany, Tidworth and Uganda. Mercer served as an instructor at both the Staff College Camberley and at the Army’s University at Cranfield.

Mercer was Mentioned in Despatches in 1983 whilst serving in Northern Ireland and earned a gallantry commendation in 1990 and the MBE in 1992. In 1997 he received the OBE for services in Bosnia. Mercer was the target of two IRA assassination attempts, which are detailed in the books Dirty War and Trigger Men, both by Martin Dillon.

I think he is a true patriot to his country and if anybody has some kind of positive input in our security then that should be welcomed and he should not be lambasted for being a patriot,i expect many of you posters have not put your life on the line for your country and would probably whine of shirk out of doing so

I do not blame Mercer at all. He was shoddily treated by cameron. Labelled, falsely, a racist! and the queue of Black Soldiers who served with Mercer to say theat he was not a racist did nothing to stop the dismissal.

He should have been brought into a front line position by cameron much earlier.

As for Caroline Spillbeans saying they welcome Gordon Brown's statement then why not go the whole hog and call for a National Unity Government!!!!

Come orf it. Brown is running rings around you. Get your act in order. Call for a total ban on immigration, call for an immediate referendum on the EU and death penalty and national service. Say things the people want to hear!

Stop, for gawds sake, being softy touchy and become nasty again.

I've had my say on the unspeakable Bercow before so i'll not repeat it.

As for Mr Mercer, nice bloke badly treated, but he hasn't yet realised that he is now in politics not the Army. If he did in uniform what he has just done here he would, literally, be put up against a wall and shot.

Quick rethink by Mercer is in order - politics is not social work or a PR campaign, it is a war of ideas and you do not give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Bercow - just dump the offensive little prat

It doesn't matter how nice or caring the other is, whether you believe and laud their policies, the duty of an opposition and it's members, i.e. MP's, is to oppose. Bercow and Mercer have committed political treason.
CCHQ stands condemned as idiots for permitting this, NuLab will crow and make hay and call it a defection.

What this really proves is that Brown knows that he has run out of talent on his own benches. Nu Labour never had any difficulty with stealing Tory ideas - they just pretended that they didn't. Now the paucity of ability on the socialist side of the Chamber is clear.

Nasty petulant temper tantrum there Ben, halo slipped?

Narrow minded twits indeed, we were here winning mate when you parachuted in from Sanctimonious Central to read your sermon

I agree totally with Ben Rogers concerning the unpleasant and childish vitriol being posted by his fellow Tories. It proves that the Nasty Party is only too alive and well.

I believe that Ben is the sort of humane and decent person this country needs.

The sooner he leaves the unelectable wreckage of the Tory Party and comes over to join normal people the better.

I believe there will be a big welcome for Ben and any other moderates who have had enough of Tory extremism.

I am confused.

Ali Miraj gets gets culled from the Candidates' List for making very valid criticisms of the leader and offering candid advice, having served on two Conservative policy reviews, and Bercow and Mercer work with a government we are trying to defeat and get applauded by the leadership for doing so.

What is going on?

This is amateur night at the London Palladium

Axwell, good point.

Bercow should have been de-selected in favour of Miraj in Buckingham.

Another great example of Dave's appalling man management skills

So, floating voter then Alistair?

There are some fairly naive posters on this thread, such as people saying that Bercow and Mercer could have refused... when they would never have been asked unless they'd indicated during some kind of courtship that they would accept. Also poor Ben Rogers, who seems not to have worked out that this isn't about Bercow and Mercer's abilities or potential contribution at all, but about how the clunking fist can inflict maximum damage. Purely tactical game playing from the master chess player who is focused only on his own end game. Don't for a minute be fooled by this 'government of all the talents' ploy. This is from the man who, if you read Alistair Campbell's diary, can't even listen to or communicate with the people who he's supposed to be working most closely with - like the Cabinet - let alone anyone else.

No treacle. I am a proud supporter of our Government and the Labour Party.

They're battling for Britain unlike the Tory shambles.

My only shame is that I was once a member of the Conservative Party but it gave be a chance to see the poison in action.

I've learned from my mistakes. Have you?

Happy tory is correct. John Bercow has been consorting with the enemy for ages. Patrick Mercer, as a former army officer, should know that he is, by taking the Brown shilling, a treacherous Judas. Both are disgraces to the Party. They should lose the whip and face reselection immediately.

Ali Miraj is a self-important and conceited loser who thought that his race entitled him to a Peerage. Dave was right to take him off the Candidates List.

"They're battling for Britain"

You are being ironic, I hope ?

From Bercow's website (http://www.johnbercowmp.com/):

Welcome To My Web Site
My new web site will be available shortly, but in the meantime my contact information is:

John Bercow MP
House of Commons

Telephone: 020 7219 3000

Does this mean anything?

Traditional Tory,

Thank God you are not!!


It would be genuinely nice to think there could be cross-party cooperation on certain issues not least that of security - BUT I think it is a dangerous game that Messrs Bercow and Mercer are playing! It is not a Coalition Government they are playing an advisory role in - but a Labour one with its own agenda which includes using them for its own ends! I think they have been rather foolish and naive.

Moral minority "Ali Miraj is a self-important and conceited loser who thought that his race entitled him to a Peerage. Dave was right to take him off the Candidates List."

Did you not read his article in the Sunday Times. He was offered a peerage in 2005 and turned it down because he had no desire to be the token Muslim in the Lords. The Party has made no attempt to refute his claim. I wonder why?

Does this mean anything?
I think it means website under construction!

when they would never have been asked unless they'd indicated during some kind of courtship that they would accept.
Paddy Ashdown refused the role of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, it was announced and refusing such offers may actually backfire on Menzies Campbell in that people will feel that the Liberal Democrats are an irrelevance, whereas having prominent members who have been in the cabinet would bring a certain amount of gravitas even if their actual involvement in government policy was limited to the particular briefs they held.

His report was produced at the request (in 1941) of the Churchill Coalition Government of 1940-45 of which the Liberals were members and his report was published in 1942.
The Liberal Party was by then very small, they were junior members in the government with only a single cabinet minister and the Conservative Party held a majority of seats, in addition the report was for what would happen after the war not during it, and all 3 main parties agreed to implement the bulk of it's proposals if they won the following General Election.

If all I read about the Conservative Party were the opinions on this thread, I myself would seriously consider whether this was a group of people I wanted to be associated with. I am so glad this conversation is online, because if I had to actually sit in the presence of some of these jokers I'd probably be violently sick over them and their hideous vitriol. As it is, I believe profoundly in Conservative values and I broadly like and support the people at the top of our party, and think they are an extremely talented and appealing face of conservatism. That's what keeps me in the party - despite some of its members. It's a bit like the church - look at Christ and his teachings, and the central beliefs, and they are generally very attractive; look at some of the people who make up the church, and who would want to join? It's the same with the Tory Party -and the sooner some of the extremist stuffed waistcoats who post here leave the party, the better.

Dimitri from Space - your name is quite good. You truly are from another planet!! Have you gone totally bonkers? Deselect John Bercow and replace him with Ali Miraj???? Miraj the man who threw a tantrum when his demand for a peerage was rejected, compared with John Bercow, the man who has championed international development, international human rights, children with learning disabilities and a number of other very worthwhile causes?? Which planet are you from? John has not defected, and as I have argued earlier in this thread, it is a mature form of politics to accept an invitation to advise the government on a specific area of policy. He hasn't even taken a ministerial position. He's behaved with much greater integrity and maturity than Miraj - who will fade into the political ether like a mirage.

John Bercow's political evolution is a specialist subject which I'm only too glad to leave to the experts, although parenthetically, I'm amazed that our Editor feels comfortable letting that 'rat in human form' comment stand.

As for Patrick Mercer, though, what on earth is the problem here?
In a political culture in which far too many of our elected representatives have no useful experience whatsoever of anything other than politics, PR or perhaps a bit journalism, here is a man who not only had the personal leadership skills which allowed him to rise to the rank of lieutenant colonel at a very young age by peacetime standards, but who has served in a wide variety of contexts, remains very well informed about the practical realities both of warfare and internal security, and hence is in considerable demand as an analyst and commentator on all these topics. At this of all moments - when British forces are facing such challenges in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, and when our own civilian population is once again having to deal with a very active terrorist threat at home - does it make any sense for Mr Mercer's expertise not to be employed in any way that might benefit the public good? For heaven's sake, what sort of person would he have to be, how short-sighted and partisan, to refuse an offer to advise on security matters in this climate? And what sort of Conservative Party would this be if it attempted to prevent him from making the sort of patriotic contribution that any of us should be proud to make?

As for those of you who, faced with the concept of a Tory MP offering advice to a Labour government, make free with words like 'traitor' and 'Judas' - let alone the charming suggestion of shooting for treachery a man who, after all, has been the target of at least two IRA assassination attempts - perhaps it's time to take a good long look at whatever remains of your own sense of moral proportion.

Ben Rogers, do you think that Gordon Brown has the best interests of the Conservative Party at heart, when extending this invitation to John Bercow and Patrick Mercer?

Never had a waistcoat

Not going anywhere

You say you want a broad church and then when people disagree with your views they get moralised at.

Ever stopped to consider how downright offensive some of your posts are, which is why you get the same treatment back??

It's funny Ben. Whenever I go to Conservative meetings either in my constituency or at more general events the people I meet are overwhelmingly decent, loyal,sometimes a little old fashioned but definitely people who I am honoured to be friendly with.Some are concerned with various elements of policy but their complaints are usually expressed mildly.
Either some of the headbangers here are not really supporters of the Conservative party at all, or they don't attend the same meetings I do or communicating on the web can sometimes bring out the worst in all of us. I suspect it's a combination of all three.

I've now overwritten the 'rat' comment. If people see a comment they don't like please email me ([email protected]) to alert me. I can't promise to always take action but there are times when I'm away from the site and miss posts that deserve intervention. Emails reach me on my 'Crackberry' and I check it VERY regularly.

Ben Rogers

You have swallowed the Party line like a moron.

Why do you think Miraj rejected a peerage in 2005 if it meant so much to him?

The Constituency Associations of these two MPs must call them to a meeting, and hold a motion of confidence. If they pass that, then this is still democracy. Otherwise they are becoming a laughing stock. They elected Conservative MPs and now have to sit and watch as they support a corrupt and morally bankrupt Labour government. It's time the long-suffering grass roots spoke.

Malcolm, I agree with you totally.

Treacle, have you ever thought how unbelievably offensive some of your and other people's posts are here. My responses may be offensive to some people, and I regret that perhaps I have descended to some of the same behaviour as others only in reverse. I regret that I did not simply take a deep breath and say "I really don't have time for such petty nonsense and such silly little people". Sadly I got drawn in and I failed to rise above it all. That I regret, and I have no hesitation in saying so. But the substance of what I have said, I stand by entirely.

John Bercow, it seems, asked for permission.

I really do think we would like Frank Field (for example)to advise on some pension policies when we are in Government. I do not see it as a problem.

Is GB happy if the Conservatives follow suit when in Government? He needs to answer this now.

I was astonished when I read about Bercow and Mercer advising the Labour government. I agree with those who say that it could be used as a ploy against us. It seems to be designed to paint Brown as a leader of "all the talents" a sort of unofficial unity government.

We are the opposition and should only give advice as a party, and not allow individuals to consort with the enemy. These "advisor" jobs are only window-dressing and we all know that Brown will not be likely to take any advice anyway!

I don't know about Dimitri from Space. I have often thought that 'Saint' Ben Rogers must be a visitor from Planet Tharg. He certainly doesn't dwell on this one, that's for sure.

Over the years I was very active in the party I would agree that most of the people one met at grassroots level led pretty bland, respectable, lives.

However the further you went up the pyramid, (and I'm sure this applies to most organisations and all the other parties) the more likely you were to encounter people who were unpleasantly 'driven' by an ambition which all too often seemed to spill over into other aspects of their lives.

Malcolm may well think all his colleagues are people he'd trust with his wife. Talk about naive. I could write a book about some of the local politicos I've worked with. One of the association chairmen to whom I was deputy for two years ended up in jail, and the conviction was one you don't easily forgive.

Infighting, bitching, marital infidelity, rudeness and on at least one occasion an actual fist fight are among my treasured memories. I know similar things happened in many other associations, but clearly not in the exalted, not to say celestial, bodies which are home to Saint Ben and Saint Malcolm.

We must remember to pray for them. It would be terrible if they were ever disillusioned.

I think the post above says more about you Traditional Tory than anyone else ever could.

Ben & Malcolm - agreed (though Ben I still disagree over Patrick Mercer and John Bercow's actions and were I in their constituency party I would have plenty to discuss with them)

Funny isn't it that Trad Tory always posts about how badly behaved, unpleasant,etc the old (traditional) Tory Party was (FCS & all that jazz), doesn't sound the type of party we would want back does it but apparently some do.

It is both funny and sad that people get so worked up in their little party fanatical ways and ignore the actual facts of the case.

The facts as far as Pat Mercer is concerned are:

1. He was not invited to do anything by Brown. He and Sir Alan West who know each other well have spoken for years together about security issues. This should surprise no one since Mercer was the Shadow spokesman on this and Sir Alan is now the givernment's advisor on the issue. They know each other from serving together and both have in depth and critical knowledge of the matters at hand - Mercer in part as a result of having done 9 tours in Northern Ireland and been targetted for assassination twice.

2. It was Pat Mercer and Sir Alan who came up with the idea of working together on this issue as something which rises above party politics.

3. Pat Mercer then approached the Tory party whips BEFORE this question went to Brown. They gave their clear and absolute blessing. This was SIX weeks ago.

Since the whips agreed - presumably meaning that the leadership also agreed - I hardly see how anyone here can start wittering about betrayal and asking for the removal of the MP.

As Mercer rightly said on PM this evening, there are some issues which are head and shoulders above party and personal gain. Since at every meeting I have had with him over the last 3 or 4 years Pat Mercer has continually stated his concern about the state of security in Britain and his absolute conviction that there will be another deadly attack sooner rather than later I see absolutely nothing in his actions here which is either self serving nor counter to the good of either the party or - far more importantly - the country as a whole.

Posted by: Drusilla | September 03, 2007 at 16:29

Excellent posting and very lucid which makes it stand out on this thread

I think the post above says more about you Traditional Tory than anyone else ever could.

No Malcolm, it says very little about me because I was never more than the flâneur who observed such matters.

Perhaps, if anything, it conveys the truth that I never loved the party enough to bury my head in the sand as you choose to.

To be blunt, I never loved the party at all. My loyalty was always a personal loyalty to Margaret Thatcher, and with the partial exception of Hague nobody has yet even begun to take her place.

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