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If Gordon Brown wasn't offering jobs to people in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties among others, people would be complaining that it was jobs for the boys.

Patrick Mercer is an advisor, he hasn't taken the Labour whip, he might suggest things but a lot of it might be ignored (quite possibly by all 3 main parties), but naturally he will hope that the advice is taken (whatever he feels to be right), no doubt if David Cameron had kept him on in the Shadow Cabinet he would not now be acting as an advisor to Gordon Brown on National Security.

Actually the position of Leader of the Opposition sometimes involves being in conference with other party leaders including the Prime Minister; Leaders of the Opposition have offered advice too, if Patrick Mercer is betraying the Conservative Party by giving advice on policy to the government then I assume Malcolm Rifkind is saying that David Cameron when he offers advice or supports government measures is doing the same. A lot of politicians at the moment from all sides seem to be trying to criticise people in their own parties and their opponents for things that they themselves are doing as well. Having people from other parties on government advisory groups and indeed Opposition ones, and also having them on Select Committees both broadens possible incoming ideas and gives a sense of inclusiveness to the voters, but this cuts all ways - people get a bit sick of people condemning the opposing party for doing particular things in government and opposition and then when they get in that position then doing exactly the same.

Patrick Mercer should resign from the role if he has any sense. He can justify it on the grounds that Brown has used his offer to help his friend and spun it for political purposes.

There is a principle involved here. Question is whether Mercer will do the smart thing?

The longer he leaves it the less chance he has to justify his resignation and the less chance of any political career in our party.

Conservatives really shouldn't be signing up to help a Labour Government, whatever the spin put on the offer is.Brown is lying when he claims to be building a Government of all the talents, he is solely playing party politics with public appointments and public money as usual. I am dismayed that Cameron is not laying down the law on this one and making it plain that any Tory accepting Brown's weasel offers will be thrown out of the party and not allowed back again.

the only chance these fellows will ever have in being 'in Government' for the foreseeable future.

//if David Cameron had kept him (Patrick Mercer) on in the Shadow Cabinet he would not now be acting as an advisor to Gordon Brown on National Security//

Quite right-there has been a wealth of Tory talent wasted over the last few years because the particular faces didn't fit with the incumbent leadership or because the leader felt the need to be seen as acting 'tough'.

Let's be thankful that somebody is prepared to put the talents of people like Patrick Mercer to good use-juat a shame that it isn't his own party.

Speaking out is one thing, collaborating with the enemy is totally unacceptable.

Did Mercer and Bercow consult their local associations?

I would be furious if my Tory MP advised Labour and would collect signatures in support of a motion to deselect him. The activists in Newark and Buckingham should deselect their MPs.

Let's be honest about this and say that Mercer's position should have been that he was honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minisiter, hoped it reflected an honest desire to include cross-party opinion but that, in keeping with Brown's failure to act responsibly on any issue in ten years of government especially when it comes to the armed forces of this country and their funding, he had to decline.

At least that way, Mercer would get to put across a reasonable political case that might actually have received more press coverage due to Brown being refused and so focused attention on his obvious failings as Chancellor and now as Prime Minister. it would also have justified his being accepted back onto the front bench opposition team as being a recognisable face with a reasonable position who might get some well-needed media coverage.

If this is a genuine desire to be a "government of all the talents" then it's a good thing. Maybe Brown should put some Conservatives in his cabinet if this really is the case. In France, the conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy appointed a Socialist in his cabinet after his election victory.

But, of course, the decision to appoint Conservative advisors has probably been motivated by political point scoring egged on by the BBC and the Daily Mirror - which to me seems to be the basis for everything Gordon Brown does.

It's the EU programme to dismantle the Party system. Without Parties Parliament will be easier to manipulate.

The counterpoint to cross party government, is cross party opposition, which is what is developing with the Labour rebellion to the lack of a Ref for the Con, combining forces with Conservative and Lib Dem eurosceptics.

For Brown, it could become a case of live by the sword, and die by the same.

The problem for the Tories is that Labour has taken a much stronger line on terrorism than the opposition front bench. DD has decided to throw his lot in with the civil liberty brigade, DC has appointed a previous advocate of appeasement of Islamism to the shadow cabinet and Conservative MPs are as likely to vote with the far left on terrorism issues as they are with the government.

Who can blame Patrick Mercer for looking and that deciding that it was worth at least checking out how serious Brown is?

Strikes me as the actions of a man who puts the national interest first.

I agree with you FedUpWithCameron,We should not be part of liberal thinking brigde,DC may get some more liberals to vote for him but he will lose many tories with his wishy washy ideas,Mr Mercer has had first hand experience with all his time in the armed forces and DC should never have given in to the press and his centre ground minions and sacked him,the one thing i hate more than being out of power is a weather vane politician who decides by polls and focus groups instead of actually having a backbone and sticking to the true values of conservatism.

///Speaking out is one thing, collaborating with the enemy is totally unacceptable///

I don't think that is particularly acceptable to describe our elected goverment as 'the enemy'.

I support Patrick Mercer 100% like many Conservatives I talk to.

However Cameron would not be in this situation if he hadn't of submitted to the liberal press and PC freaks. It just shows what appaling judgement Cameron has.

Radical Tory you are quite right sir,the problem we have are the middle way tories who seem to think its aceptable to win whatever it takes,to me that is not what politics is about because DC may win one election but once his PC ideas come into play he will then lose and then the tories party will be left in the wilderness for another decade.

Mercer has twice made a complete idiot of himself.would you like to go over the top with this man?He would lead you straight into the nearest minefield.why did he leave the army?No further promotion?Give us a break,please.

Fedupwithcameron your post is total rubbish. Tell how many muslim extremist preachers have been deported?How is giving a new uniform to border police going to solve anything? Obviously the facts are getting in the way of your prejudices.
On the main subject Sir Malc has it right.I wish every Conservative with access to media coverage had said the same thing.

"I don't think that is particularly acceptable to describe our elected goverment as 'the enemy'." - Les @ 20.45.

Well Les that will presumably be because you voted for that authoritarian, oppressive and incompetent shower. Anyone who is hell bent on destroying our nation and removing our freedoms and liberties most certainly is the enemy and the current Labour Government therefore qualify for that epithet on myriad different levels.

Once again we have lots of people talking from a position of ignorance over the question of Patrick Mercer advising Gordon Brown.

He has not defected in any way - any more than the leaders of all oppositions in the past have 'defected' when they have offered advice and support which has often been taken on issues of national security in the past.

He was not asked by Brown to do anything. The suggestion came from private discussions between Sir Alan West and Mercer and was then put to Brown after Mercer had discussed it with the Conservative whips. If they see no problem with this then who the hell are you lot to start attacking the decision and calling it collaboration.

As for lincolnimps infantile posting, anyone who has done 9 tours in Ireland and served with distinction leading for more than 20 years nees no lessons from nobodies like you about leadership.

Mercer has done everything right and has showed he has more sense and dedication to the people of Britain than most of the commentators attacking him here and people like Rifkind who would put loyalty to the party before the needs of the British people.

It is no wonder the Nu-Conservatives are getting no where if your comments are symptomatic of their attitudes.

Moral Minority,

well I live in Newark and am very proud to have helped get Pat Mercer elected. EVen more so now that he has shown himself to be more concerned about the people than the petty party politics you advocate.

He will not be deselected because even if they disagree with what he has done (which I doubt) the local party knows that the level of support for a good constituency MP like Mercer is such that at the next election who ever they put up as the new candidate would lose to him if he chose to stand again.

FedupwithCameron "Who can blame Patrick Mercer for looking and that deciding that it was worth at least checking out how serious Brown is?"

The problem with your argument is that Mercer also agrees with the civil liberty arguments certainly 90 day detention he is against.

I think at the end of the day Tim is right anyway this whole thing is probably a ploy whereby at some time in the future Mercer, Bercow, Elisach (who knows maybe even Quentin Davies) will quit advising Gordon/ being a Labour MP and say something like "You can't work with that man it is just a big publicity stunt, he is still the control freak he always was" Where have I heard that before? oh yes today by various green groups.

lincolnimp maybe you should read the trigger men which will explain what a good loyal soldier mr mercer was,the ira wanted to blow him up and they don't do that to just anybody,your post is very infantile and if you want to be a loyal follower of DC then you are welcome but you do it at your peril if you are to scared to question his motives.

Is anyone else concerned that Brown is using the aneasthetic of concensus to stultify democratic opposition, the facade of reasonableness and expertise to smother debate and thus lead us all blindly towards a one-party nation? My 12 year old called him the Prime Sinister this week...out of the mouths of babes....

Mr Mercer may have been an exemplary soldier and he may wish to work for Alan West for the most noble of reasons but I strongly suspect he will be used by Brown for his (Browns) own narrow political ends.I hope Patrick Mercer is not too naive to see that.

Posted by: Richard Tyndall | September 07, 2007 at 22:30

I fully agree with your post Richard. As a soldier Patrick Mercer has been a much valued servant of Britain which should engender respect and which imho is much more than the formerly political reject, Rifkind, will ever be able to say about his own self serving career. It comes as no surprise that Kensington/Chelsea should choose the pompous Rifkind to follow (probably in his footsteps) our favourite son - Portillo.
Cameron should be proud that the man he rejected has redeemed himself and that all thoughts of him being a racist has been forgiven and ignored by Broon and that Patrick Mercer can again be of use to Britain (someone pass Cameron the sick bag - Broon has put one over him again).
Anyway, what is Rifkind complaining about - the Tories nicked Cameron from the Liberals.

Most Labourites believe Mr Mercer is a right-wing, racist bigot. So why do they hail this as a success? Surely they should be ashamed that he's is advising their party?


It just goes to show they know as little about the man or his beliefs as most of the posters on here.

Not of course that that stops any of them using him as a mirror to relect their own bigotries and small mindedness.

"The problem for the Tories is that"
"Who can blame"

FedUpWithCameron - the game is up these a typical Fib Dem comments.

I believe Pat Mercer is in pole position to SPY on Gordo. Clever that!

Anyone who heard John Hutton on Today on R4 yesterday morning openly saying that these Tory advisors were coming across because Cameron had failed and lurched to the right cannot doubt that whatever Partick Mercer's reasons Gprdon Brown's was to destabilise the opposition and score points.

If Gordon Brown really wanted a cross party consensual approach on National Security then he could have approached Cameron and Ming with such a suggestion and put in place an independent commission - perhaps reporting to Parliament. Mercer's appointment would have been announced by Cameron - all OK.

The fact he did not do this shows it was a party political action and Mercer & Bercow have been used to damage the party's prospects.

That is a particularly stupid comment by Hutton since Patrick Mercer is most definately on the right of the party and would have welcomed such a 'lurch' if one had ever occured.

Whatever politics Hutton might try and play with this, he will fail if he doesn't even do the most basic of homework on this subject.

I am afraid what Patrick Mercer's case demonstrates yet again is that a good front-line officer does not a politician make. If he were concerned with this country and the people than he would understand that we are not talking "petty party politics" or any stupid nonsense of that kind but the basic constitutional structure of this country, which is adversarial. Got that? Adversarial politics is preferable to consensus politics because it is more transparent and because you know who you are voting for. In other words, we the people, have some say in the matter. (Or would do if most of the legislation were not coming from the EU.) The alternative is a situation in which no matter who you vote for the same people will be in the government each time and all political decisions will be taken in deals behind closed doors. So, let us get it straight - the patriotic duty of any opposition MP is to OPPOSE the government and to advance ideas on security, if they have any, through debates, select committees, Westminster Hall debates etc. If this is unsatisfactory, well, we know the answer. You don't have to be an MP.

"Whatever politics Hutton might try and play with this, he will fail if he doesn't even do the most basic of homework on this subject."

Richard, unfortunetly Patrick Mercer's behaviour has allowed him to this and neither the interviewer or the public will question it! He showed a lack of judgement with his comments which led to his sacking, Cameron was putting the interests of the party before one of his MP's. Sadly, not once but twice Mercer has done damage to the Conservative party, the fact that this time he is openly working for this Labour government sticks in my throat.
Peter Oborne's article in the Mail today sums up Brown behavior well and is worth reading. I hope any MP in the party reading this does not follow Mercer or Bercow's lead in helping this flawed PM and his incompetent party.

I very much fear that Huttons little sermon will be the first of many from Labour ministers and that Mercer will become a pawn in a game he cannot control.We shall see if he's got the capability to do something about it if that happens

Belgium put up a truly heroic fight against the Germans in the first World War from the first day right through to the last day . They were always rock solid at the left of the British line and could always be depended upon .
They didn't do too badly in the 2WW either .

As for the relatively minor politicking of the leaders with the Germans - it was done in extreme cricumstances by people , including the King , who had fully demonstated their loyalty to the Belgian cause and were to do so again . It is the duty of governments and leaders to explore all options , however distasteful ,if only to dismiss them - which is what they did.

I am surprised that the Telegraph is so dismissive - and in an editorial too - of the Belgian military and political record in those terrible times .

Mercer makes much capital out of the fact that he is former Army officer. But a gentleman, it seems, he is not.

On the other hand, it is probably not the end of the world if the Tories lose barking Bercow, a funny little fellow who tends to be rather unreliable.

According to the Sunday Telegraph Cameron phoned Mr Eliasch 15 times to beg him not to defect. I know there was a £2.5m loan at stake but...really!

Presumably just two calls to Bercow and Mercer would have settled the other embarrassment. Instead, allegedly, Cameron cleared their actions. If that is true, he should take the blame.

So by your score Helen then no opposition MP should ever agree to support or advise the government on issues which supercede party politics?

And exactly how many times has Cameron done just that when he chose to agree to support the government over certain issues he happened to agree with?

Your position and that of those attacking Mercer is non-sensicle at best or more accurately hypocritical.

Mercer has at all times shown far better judgement than Cameron who lurches from one disasterous speech to another and only succeeds in alienating more and more of the party and public alike.

I said at the time of his dismissal that I hoped that Mercer would have more sense than to accept a return to the Tory front bench under Cameron if it were ever offered. I am glad to see he has chosen a course where he can actually do some good for the country rather than simply blindly following his party leader.

I am sure that as and when a better man succeeds Cameron they wil recognise that what Mercer has done was the honourable and properly COnservative course of action - placing country before party or personal gain

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