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The constituents who voted for Mr Mercer essentially wanted a Conservative government.

Gordon Brown's prime objective is to win an election in his own right and thus prevent a Conservative government. Thus Conservatives can be expected to be somewhat angry at his behaviour.

If Mr Mercer seriously thinks that Brown is looking to the good of the country we have good reason to doubt his judgement. He is looking to the good of Gordon Brown and if Mr Mercer can't see that Brown IS a political shyster his political future will be limited.

I suspect Mr Mercer's motives were good and I disagree with any abuse or he or his family received.

I can not help thinking that much of the Tory anger was as a result of frustration and fear. Most Tories felt that Mr Brown was using Mr Mercer and the other invitees into the big tent for political rather than national motives, the political motive being the destruction of the party Mr Mercer was elected as a representative of.

Events have shown that their suspicions were largely right. Even Mr Brown's own supporters in the press have gone on record as denouncing the policy as a fraud.

It seems that Mr Mercer's appointment lasted far less time than was originally envisaged. Perhaps, if there had been less anatagonism toward his original decision, he would have felt able to provide a better and fuller assessment of his departure. If he did leave prematurely, it would have taken courage in the light of all that had passed.

Tempers were frayed on both sides. Time to take stock and move on,

Mercer comes across as a naive idiot to me. Perhaps he needs to think a lot more deeply about what's going on before he jumps in feet first again.

Mr Mercer must remember that he "left us" at a time that was very politically difficult for David Cameron. He and John Bercow contributed significantly to the Brown honeymoon. There is a question of timing here. Many members would have been forgiving if Mercer had advised the government in a time of political peace. September was a time of political war.

Obviously abuse of his wife is unacceptable.

Thank God someone in Parliament is prepared to put country before party. One of these things matters a lot, the other doesn't. It's a shame that so many Tories seem to have forgotten which is which.

Last week he was telling the world that Nick Clegg is great. I said when he was sacked he was a fool. He is very lucky he was not deselected. To be honest I dont mind Bercow because he is clearly bright but this guy is something else

mr mercer's ego really should take a holiday to give his brain a chance.

If he is as naiive as he appears to be from this interview he should make way for somebody actually interested in being a Conservative MP. All this 'I'm only in it for my country' is platitudinous hogwash.

christina wrote: "If Mr Mercer seriously thinks that Brown is looking to the good of the country we have good reason to doubt his judgement."

Mr Mercer didn't say that. He said "I don't know what the truth is and frankly it doesn't interest me very much." And to be fair to Mr Mercer, I don't see why anybody should think themselves qualified to definitively say what drives Gordon Brown

Personally, I welcome the fact that a Labour government thinks it necessary to employ Conservative politicians. It says a lot about the talent within our own party, and it says a lot about the dedication of our politicians, not to the party whip, but to Queen and Country.

Doubtless Mr Mercer means well but he is in politics and that means he has to be politically acute

not the naive , innocent he comes across as .

I suppose Brown et al were laughing for a while at the minor point they scored when they used him .

Seems like a thousand years ago now .

Idiot .

"September was a time of political war" - an astonishing piece of criticism from anyone who claims to believe there's a real 'war' on terror to be fought. Mercer did the right thing: party second, some very long distance second, country first.

OK so I will accept that Patrick Mercer believed he was acting in the best interests of this country.

As he seems unperturbed by being on the periphery of Conservatism I'm sure he won't mind giving us his views on the following.

Perhaps Mr Mercer might enlighten us with his views on Mr. Brown's deeply flawed 'Prison Britain' strategy?

Can he also tell us which parts of such a strategy we can thank him for personally?

Can he also enlighten us of his views on the 28 day detention extension and ID cards and whether he will vote for or against these measures?

At the end of the day we need to know where he stands.

Brown’s aim is to destroy the Conservative Party. Any Conservative MP who helps him in any way is either naive, misguided or has a hidden agenda and I doubt if any of the electorate that voted for them would wish to keep an MP in one or all of these categories. What really shows how out of touch he is, is his surprise that Conservatives disapprove so strongly of his action.

John Leonard writes "At the end of the day we need to know where he stands."

He is a Conservative. It seems to me this would be enough to discern his views on these matters, though I concede there is a chance he might vote against the whip when these things come up in session. However, his voting record on Terror and ID cards seems sound.

Mr Mercer is dressing up his own political opportunism with a costume often worn by hypocrites - that of the aggrieved victim. In fact his actions were hostile and damaging to the Conservative party at a time when loyalty was critical.

Mr Mercer

You are either a Tory, or you ain't. After 10 years in the Wilderness, there is no Middle Way for our previously oh-so-complacent Parliamentary Party

The only thing that was truly "appalling" was your judgement.

Don't forget that Brown was enjoying his (very brief) 'bounce' at the time, and we were looking down the barrel of hammering No.4.

You let Brown play you like a fiddle.

Let him be 'disapproved of' by assorted toadies and careerists. Mercer served his country, and fought against terrorists (in Northern Ireland) literally with a gun on his hand. Alan West served his country in the South Atlantic, Ardent being sunk under him, him being the last man off (22 didn't make it). What have any of you done recently?

Really, sometimes the wearisome partisanship here is painfully limiting. There are bigger things even than David Cameron's PR needs. Britain is one of them. I've yet to meet, or hear from a critic of Mercer's - or West's - who has done for us what they've, at some personal cost, done. Put your 'conservatism' first, but I repeat, thank God whatever their 'ism' is means that men like West and Mercer have always put the country first.

Mr Mercer is dressing up his own political opportunism with a costume often worn by hypocrites - that of the aggrieved victim. In fact his actions were hostile and damaging to the Conservative party at a time when loyalty was critical.

The worse part is you claim not to regret your move to help Gordon Brown undermine the party, and in doing so damage the country by allowing an incompetent Labour government to cling to office.

It was an obvious trap - why couldn't you see it ?

The country first, party second defence just shows a basic misunderstanding of how our democracy works. There has been nothing to stop the government taking up Conservative ideas and analysis - as is very obvious from the last few months.

Perhaps political service isn't for you after all as you don't seem to understand it.

ACT writes "Put your 'conservatism' first, but I repeat, thank God whatever their 'ism' is means that men like West and Mercer have always put the country first."


It makes me wonder whether those who lament about Mr Mercer's naiveté in supporting Brown's efforts to destroy the Conservative Party have realised that it is they who are naively playing into Mr Brown's hands. I imagine he wanted the Conservatives to be angry about the appointment, and prove that their dedication to the nation is only skin-deep. Indeed, it makes the Conservative grassroots to start sounding like their Labour counterparts in their irrational indignation of all things that the other side has to offer. I had hoped that Conservative supporters might be better than that.

ACT and Tom H, do you really believe that Gordon Brown was acting altruistically, for the good of the nation, when he asked Patrick Mercer to act as an adviser?

I don't doubt that Mercer was acting for the good of country, as he saw it. Nor do I doubt that Gordon Brown wasn't, but instead for partisan advantage.

Man in a Shed's patronising lecture on How Politics Works 101 begs some questions: how would Mercer *not* having advised the government have got rid of it? How has him advising it kept it? A 60 seat Labour majority in the Commons means, to most of us, a pretty safe assumption of there being a Labour government for a few years to come. But doubtless M.i.a.S knows better and can further elaborate on how Mercer's patriotism has let Gordon 'cling to office'?

It can't be said often enough - either you're in politics to serve some wider sense of the self, or, you're in for it direct personal self-advancement. As far as I can make out, every critic of Mercer so far has clung to defence of the Party as the principal vehicle for that latter end. Mercer put what he thought was right first, his critics say that the Party and its interests had to come first. But the Party doesn't have interests - it only exists to further its goals. That or, as one all too sadly has to conclude, as the best means a self-promoting clique have of self-promoting themselves slightly further.

How on earth is there any debate here? A patriot, and a professional, was called upon to advise the government (that we've got a good while yet) on how best to stop foreign terrorists murdering us, and that's a mark of shame in Dave's Party? Astonishing. And dismally revealing.

Sean, who can say? I'd be shy though about simply saying *everything* Gordon does is motivated by base calculations, as that's as limited, and personality-cultish as, for example, saying that everything Dave does is right, even when he changes his mind.

What is "appalling" about acknowledging that Mr Mercer was a traitor by helping Brown? This is a man, by the way, who was forced to resign from the front bench because of his insensitive and inappropriate remarks about racism in the army.

As an Ulsterman, I can acknowledge that "cross-party consensus" on Northern Ireland is a disaster. It took Dr Paisley and Messrs Adams and McGuinness to sort out the mess left by Tony Bliar, who tricked Trimble and led to the destruction of the Ulster Unionist Party and to Lord Trimble losing what was one a rock-solid UUP seat, Upper Bann.

'Traitor'? really? all the words you could reach for in the English language of Colonel Mercer and that's the one you plump for?

Moving on - no doubt, Mountjoy, given your views on David Trimble's diastrous dealings with terrorists in Northern Ireland (unlike Mercer, natch, who shot at them), you must have been sorely saddened when Dave gave Lord Trimble the Tory whip?

Sean Fear writes: "ACT and Tom H, do you really believe that Gordon Brown was acting altruistically, for the good of the nation, when he asked Patrick Mercer to act as an adviser?"

Probably not. But in the long run the perception that Brown appointed Conservatives in order to create divisions in the Party has merely added to the perception the Brown is mainly spin, very little substance.

I fail to see that as a bad thing. Neither do I see the inclusion of talented Conservatives in Brown's Government a bad thing, whatever Brown's motives might have been.

No I don't buy his dissembling in this matter, this is just a distasteful example of one man putting himself first and trying to cloak that in patriotism by claiming that he is doing his best for his country when that is patently not the case. The best thing that Patrick Mercer could do for Britain would be to be a useful part of ridding us of the worst Government in living memory, not be a part of propping it up.Mercer wouldn't have a political career but for the Conservative party and he would do well to remember that.

I can sympathise with Mercer's position. Where one can aid the Government of the day on a matter of non-partisan interest, all well and good, but I do think he was naive in Brown's reasoning.

Brown chose such a path because he was trying to copy what Sarkozy has done in France with the Socialists and show himself off as a big tent man. Couple this with what Mercer has achieved in advising the Government and there really hasn't been much to see as an end product.

What did Mercer's role achieve?????? Haven't seen any reports

ACT, you are either a fool like Mercer, or a Labour troll. Brown's obsession, and the reason for his "big tent" nonsense, is to attempt (unsuccessfully of course) to destroy any opposition to him.

I thought most people had realised by now that the only thing Brown "puts first" is Brown. It's certainly not the country.

"I asked myself whether it was worth carrying on"

I guess a black soldier being called a "black bastard" while serving his country might ask himself the same thing

Politics is a knock-about business. Everyone who voices a political opinion or undertakes a political role knows there will be people out there to savage them, to rip them to pieces given half a chance. That's just the way it is. The vitriol isn't personal, its just politics. If you sleep with the enemy you get called a slag. It comes with the territory.

I don't think that Patrick Mercer has done himself any favours at all by giving this interview. He is understandably angry at his wife being abused but that is really no excuse.
He should ask himself what he has achieved.His views are diametrically opposite to those put forward recently by the government on holding suspects for 58 days.Mr Mercer regards this as 'internment'and is vehemently against it.If he put this view forward when he was working for Brown he must now be well aware how seriously he was taken by the Government.All he has done is give Brown a couple of good days headlines which is not what he was elected to do.
I don't think Patrick Mercer is a bad man and like most others will honour him for the work he did as a soldier but I do think he has been extremely naive in taking this job and and foolish to give this interview. When you are in a hole stop digging.

ACT | November 19, 2007 at 14:13

Sorry you seem to have trouble understanding some very basic points. I'll spell them out for you again:

1) We have an adversarial system of politics in this country.
2) Brown offered positions to build a big tent to ensure his party stayed in office and to distabilse the other parties (Ashdown at least saw what was being tried and said no).
3) The key contribution for Brown was getting a Conservative MP to appear to support him. HMG has plenty of terrorism advisor's and a large array of consultants they can employ. The value of Mr Mercer was political - not for his advice on shopping centres. In playing along with this Mr Mercer helped the political aims of the Labour party, not the country which has plenty of alternative sources of advice. He also undermined the leader of the Conservative party, and in doing so the rest of the party and the prospect of a Conservative government being elected.
4) If Brown hadn't bottled it over a general election there could have been a Conservative government now. Mercer's working for Gordon would have been used against us in such an election both directly and indirectly by the likes of the BBC putting him on TV at every opportunity with the introduction of being a Conservative MP working for Gordon Brown.

The only defence against this is if Mr Mercer can convince us he has unique knowledge and capabilities, unmatched by serving military officers, MI5, the police etc, that could not have been made available to the government if they had requested them officially through the office of the leader of the opposition.

"I don't regret it at all. I think it has probably, how can I put it, pushed me even further to the periphery of the Tory Party but that's not important. I'm not in politics to be a member of the Conservative Party first and foremost – I'm in politics to serve my country and I'm very happy to do that."

Patrick is by accepting the whip of the Conservative Party, along with all our other politicians agreeing to abide by the objectives of the Conservative party. In this case our objective is to campaign for the replacement of this shambolic Labour government with a Conservative government, and all our and his actions should support that. The fact that he has told us that he wants to help the country first before helping the party, makes me think that he is perhaps in the wrong job and should really think about which flag he is flying under?

Does Mr Mercer think that Gordon Brown is ever going to put country before party?

Has every other (bar Bercow) Conservative MP some how managed to grasp the wrong end of the stick and are hopelessly mired in party politics whilst Mercer alone has seen the light?

The simple sailor and the simple solider are missing the essence of party politics…

"The constituents who voted for Mr Mercer essentially wanted a Conservative government." That and the Editor's comment that this came at a time of major danger for the party are comments I endorse.

Patrick Mercer seems to have lost sight of all the Conservative members who selected him, campaigned, raised cash and delivered leaflets to get him elected.

He was not elected to support one of the most partisan PMs we have ever had.

I am stunned that Mercer has to ask if Brown "will do anything for self and political party advantage". Who delivered the terrorism policy? West? No. The Home Secy? No. It was Brown, using the work of Patrick Mercer and others for political advantage.

Merecer is not unique in his delusion, but MPs should realise that without the party machinery they would be unlikely to be elected. There are always voters who give the MP a 'personal' vote, but most voters are voting for the party not for the person (although some might choose not to vote for a poor MP). MP's who think that they would do just as well without the rest of their 'team' should reflect on how many independent MPs sit in parliament.

Mr Mercer

Your sentiments are noble and acknowledged.

But why would you let yourself be (ab)used in this way. Surely you would know where Brown is coming from. You were a pawn in his game of 'Get Cameron' in the same way that he organised a photo-op with Mrs T. You really need to ask the question 'Why is he doing this'. I think the answer has less to do with using your talents and rather more the idea of scoring political points.
Shame me once, shame on you.
Shame me twice, shame on me.

Lots of infantile and ignorant comments on here today. (please keep that in Editor as I seriously do not believe that people should get away with making the sort of misleading and ignorant comments that have littered this thread.

To answer a few in particular.

Mark Williams, HF and others should realise that their delusion is the one that is both the more dangerous and the more inaccurate. Mercer and every other MP were not elected to serve a party. They were elected to serve their constituents and their country irrespective of party. That is the way the system has always worked and it is the way it works now. Get used ot it.

Christina - the voters of Newark elected Mercer because they wanted an independently minded representative after the awful Fiona Jones who preceeded him. She was nothing more than a yes woman for Blair with no real interest in the coinstituency. During his election Mercer made great play of the fact that he would place his constituents first and his party second. I know becuause it was a message we repeated time and again on his behalf and it was that message more than any other that got him elected at a time when the Tories couldn't get within a million miles of being elected to government. So the idea that the people of Newark voted for a Conservative when the rest of the country still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole is ludicrous. It is also the reason why he is still immensly popular here and should have no fear of losing at the next election either no matter what happens to the Tory party.

Mountjoy you are a disgrace. That you would consider describing a man like Mercer as a traitor just shows how little anyone should take you seriously.

The sort of reactions given here show that there are still way too many people in the COnservative party ready to put the pusrsuit of power before principle and the basic idea of serving the nation.

If you are representative of the party as a whole then you do not deserve to win.

Richard Tyndall, I am a little puzzled as you write as a member of the Conservatives "During his election Mercer made great play of the fact that he would place his constituents first and his party second. I know because it was a message 'we' repeated time and again on his behalf and it was"

and then write "If you are representative of the party as a whole then 'you' do not deserve to win"

Are you a 'we' or an outsider as in 'you'?

I (and a fair few other people) campaigned for Patrick Mercer in both his elections as a non party volunteer. I have not been a member of the Conservative party since I was one of the officers of the party at Cardiff University in the 1980s when we had one of the few Conservative controlled Student Unions in the country.

I have always made clear both here and on other political sites that I do not like the party system and the way it corrupts the democratic process. There have been a number of interesting discussions here in the past about this with regard tpo my claims thaht the whips system should be abolished.

As such I am a natural Conservative who will not join the party (or any other) not least because they seem to be a haven for the sort of ignorant partisan positions being advicated by so many people on this thread.

I will continue to support Pat Mercer for as long as he continues to represent the wishes and best interests of his constituents rather than the narrow self interest of the party.

I am sorry that so many have poured such vitriol on Patrick Mercer. It was naive to advise Brown, given the timing but please don't lose sight of the fact that although he helped, his comments during the statement in the House of Commons on security by Brown more than redeemed him. His strong criticism of the 56 day detention extension hurt Brown, because he had been advising, a fact acknowledged by Brown in his statement. This was widely played on the TV.
Perhaps people who have attacked him on this blog should be a little more circumspect in the future.

The other point to make is that those who say that Mercer should not have advised Brown on this issue of protecting the public 'at this time' because of the political capital that was made are making a very clear choice.

They are in effect saying that they would rather have taken the risk of having people killed and injured because the review was not completed and the changes not made or was delayed until it was politically expedient than having a little bit of political capital made by Broiwn which apparently did no harm to the Tories what so ever.

You really do have your priorities wrong.

I also understand now why so many people refer to the 'Tory Taliban' who place loyalty to the party above all else no matter what the consequences.

Richard, thanks for clarifying your status.

The point I observe is that for all Patrick Mercer's efforts to advise Govt, Brown still pursues the one action of longer detentions which Patrick says will do more damage than good. So what did the country gain if on the biggest issue, Patrick's advice was ignored?

What Brown was trying to do in the summer was destroy the Conservative party. He used people like Patrick's loyalty to the country for Labour's partisan gain. An act of infamy.

It very nearly worked.

Patricks brief was specific. To look at the protection of the public in public spaces and on transport. He has always made clear his opposition to the extension of detention and also to ID cards. I could not have supported him if he did not.

As such he was called in to do a specific job which would have immediate benefits to the public and which was not political in nature.

I say again, would you have had him put the unfounded discomfort of his party before the safety of the general public?

Richard Tyndall said: "I say again, would you have had him put the unfounded discomfort of his party before the safety of the general public?"

This charade of Brown's had nothing to do with the "safety of the general public" as several posters have already pointed out though you choose to ignore them.

The "big tent" nonsense was spin designed to attack the opposition and Mercer fell for it.

While this display of loyalty to your mate may make you feel good, the fact is that he gave succour, albeit briefly, to perhaps the most partisan, paranoid, and the biggest control freak of a PM this country has seen in years.

Let's hope Mr Mercer has learned his lesson, though on the evidence of his latest outburst it appears not.

Richard Tyndall:

Patricks brief was specific. To look at the protection of the public in public spaces and on transport. He has always made clear his opposition to the extension of detention and also to ID cards. I could not have supported him if he did not.

And should terrorists hit public and transport facilities that are not protected what then?

Brown's proposals were no more than expensive tokenism intended to fool the public into thinking they were safer. They do not even look at the Tube system.

Richard Tyndall, I feel you are being exceptionally naive if you think Patrick Mercer was ever going to be given a real opportunity to improve the safety of the public.

Mercer's recruitment was a political stunt designed to secure a political advantage for Labour at the expense of the Conservatives. The reason so many people in the Conservatives were annoyed was it was plain to see this was a ploy to undermine the Conservatives.

No one denies Mercer and John Bercow have something to offer. But the fact they in particular were approached, i) after Bercow was widely rumoured to be ready to defect and ii) after Newark's indignation at Mercer's enforced resignation from the front bench, should have been enough of a clue.

Anyone could have predicted the outcome of this courtship of Mercer, given Gordon Brown's track record of autocratic armchair governance. What has Mercer added? Where has his advice resulted in a change of approach? Now the opinion polls have swung the other way Brown is not carrying on with his petty games.

It is interesting you have reserved your annoyance for those you say would put party comfort ahead of public safety. Well that is exactly what Gordon Brown did when he pulled this little stunt - his only objective was to position himself for a general election win. Think on that a while.

LOL. I missed this one:
Richard Tyndall said "They are in effect saying that they would rather have taken the risk of having people killed and injured because the review was not completed and...ad nauseum"

Becoming ever shrill and screeching out inane nonsense like that only makes you look like some hysterical drama queen and damages your case which was feeble enough to start with.

What Brown said at the time of Mercer's appointment "is to advise Lord West on security matters."

Nothing there Richard limiting it to "transport security."

Of course Lord West changed his own mind on detentions after a chat with Brown which indicates that Brown is not taking advice on that from his "advisor".


I have no doubt that Patrick Mercer has much to offer in advising on the security of this country - David Cameron thought so to. I've no doubt Paddy Ashdown had much to offer in Northern Ireland, certainly more than the twerp they have as SoS now.

Paddy however said that it was a matter that should first be discussed with his Party leader and the approach made through the proper channels as he didn't want to be seen as undermining his party or his leadership.

I condemn utterly those attacking his wife or those who call him traitor but Mercer's acceptance of the post was naive and at the time harmful to his party - the one he presumably believes is better placed than Labour to ensure the security of the nation.


Then you simply were not paying attention or more likely were listening to those who were seeking to paint him in a bad light by misrepresenting what he had been asked to do - by Lord West by the way, not Gorden Brown. It was West who approached Brown with the suggestion after asking Mercer and after Mercer had cleared it with his own party hierarchy.

Convenient for you and others here that you continually forget that one.

So those who attack him here are not only saying that victory for the party is more important than safety for the public but they are also saying that their own party hieracrhy was wrong to let him make his contribution. And of course you all know better than your own party.

Anyone but Brown - it is you who are shrill and hysterical with your claims that party is more important than the public.

Like I said, the Tory Taliban are out in force tonight.


as I already mentioned and as was confirmed at the time. Mercer did indeed consult his party hierarchy just as Paddy did. It is to Cameron and the Parliamentary party's credit that they gave their permission where the Lib Dims chose not to.

So what exactly are you complaining about?

Richard Tyndall,

Just point out where I have "claimed that the party is more important than the public" would you, old chap.

Or have you now taken to blatantly lying in order to try to defend your rapidly disintegrating case?

That was and is the clear implication of your last statement.

If you believe that Mercer was wrong to have made tyhe decision that he did then in my eyes and those of many other non Taliban members then you are indeed saying exactly that the party is more important than the public.

So no, no lies, just a clear statement of fact which you clearly find uncomfortable.

As the Editor so rightly points out:

"There is a question of timing here".

That Bercow and Mercer apparently gave support to Gordon Brown when they did must have given out a very loud and wrong message, unless they had both discussed the matter with DC before taking action. If it had his blessing, then I am perfectly happy with it and accept that they had a part to play to benefit the country.

Nice to know that a CONSERVATIVE MP elected for the sole reason he had Conservative Party next to his name on the ballot paper says that he is "not in politics to be a member of the Conservative PArty".

Well Mr Mercer, the only reason you ARE in politics is because you are a member of the Conservative Party. If the Conservative Party is such a marginal consideration to you, perhaps you would be so kind as to make sure the next time you go on the ballot it is without 'Conservative' next to your name.

Mercer was a fool to accept Brown's trapdoor (even poor Ming could spot the trap) offer and he sounds even more of a fool now.


it was said at the time that it did indeed have his blessing. That was why the party made so little of it beyond rightly suggesting that Brown should have approached Cameron directly. But they made it clear that Mercer did consult with the whips and that permission was given.

This has all been gone over before.

Not Happy - you are of course wrong. Mercer campaigned on the very platform that he was not a party yes man. That was why he won his seat from Labour at a time when almost no other Tories managed to do so. It was the position he presented to the local party and the one he took to the electorate of Newark.

As such he has been entirely consistent.

Richard Tyndall,

Now, you're reduced to talking gobbledegook. Why's that I wonder?

Here's a tip for you: when in a hole, stop digging.


Anyone but brown (why I wonder do you not post under your real name?)

It is you who fails to 'geddit'.

As long as people like you are presenting the face of the Tory party then they, and the country, are truly screwed.

Why not just admit that you were wrong and started making statements without knowing what on earth you were talking about.

The point is that it was quite obviously *not* the case that Broon wanted cross-party consensus or Mr Mercer's skills. He just wanted a name to play along with him so he could spin his first few weeks in the job.

Patrick Mercer can bleat on all he likes about "just wanting to serve his country" but you don't do that by propping up such a dreadful Prime Minister and being all but intentionally naive about what he wants you to do.

Richard Tyndall,

I'm still waiting for you to point out where exactly I have "claimed that the party is more important than the public".

Now put your money where your mouth is or kindly belt up.

And while we're at it perhaps you'd like to address the assertion made by several posters on here, all of whom you have so far ignored, namely that this whole exercise was nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the public but was simply a charade with which to attack the opposition. A charade which your mate Mercer, blindly or otherwise, went along with albeit briefly.

Richard Tyndall - Please go back to your own site (LibDem Home) and blog there, you have become boring and repetative.

Apart from anything else that people have said on this thread, I am surprised that Patrick Mercer, a soldier, and so readily associates himself with a man who was the principal person (as Chancellor) responsible for refusing to supply adequate supplies for the army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and including planes/helicopters.

NOBODY (other than the labour party and activists - and by their words shall we know them!!!) can accuse this Prime Minister of putting his country before his party, ERM! HIS country is Scotland!!!


please don't lie just because you don't like what is being said.

I post under my own name because that way everyone knows who I am. I have never been a libdem nor, as the owner of one of the leading Eurosceptic newsgroups am I ever likely to be.

So maybe you should do your homework before you start throwing those sorts of accusations around.

As long as people continue to make the soirts of stupid accusations that are being made by Conhome members at the moment I will continue to point out exactly where and how they are wrong both factually and morally.

Sorry that last was adressed to Tory Taliban (another one hiding behind a false ID) not Tom Tom.

Richard Tyndall:

As you ignored my post before I will repost and further elaborate.

Patricks brief was specific. To look at the protection of the public in public spaces and on transport. He has always made clear his opposition to the extension of detention and also to ID cards. I could not have supported him if he did not.

And should terrorists attack public spaces and transport facilities that are not protected or worse, ones that are protected and his measures fail, what then?

Brown's proposals were no more than expensive tokenism intended to fool the public into thinking they were safer. The proposals are transparently flawed. They do not even consider security on the Tube system, for example.

It seems to me that whatever Mercer's motives for doing this were, it is quite clear that Brown's were primarily political. By becoming involved, Mercer has potentially made himself personally culpable by association for any flaws in these proposals.

In doing so he has compromised the Conservative Party's ability to oppose these wasteful inneffective proposals and effectively made them complicit in any of their failings.

He may have had the best of motives but as far as I am concerned this whole affair suggests a high level of naivety on Mercer's part.

It seems to me that in this case he has thought as a soldier and not as a politician. The problem is that he is not a soldier anymore.

Whilst I vehemently condemn any victimisation which his family might have suffered and the use of the word traitor is ridiculous, I'm afraid that for such a basic mistake he deserves to face strong criticism.

Now finally answer me one question Mr Tyndall. Do you seriously think these proposals will stop terrorism?

Stop squirming Anyone but Brown and admit that by objecting to Mercer - with his own parties permission - helping the givernment on an issue of public safety you are placing party good above public safety.

There is plenty of squirming amongst the list members here because their hypocritical position has been articulated clearly and challenged. so now they thrash around and pretend it had nothing to do with public safety or they mislead with the claims that it was done without party permission. Both of which are wrong.

You really should be ashamed that you hold to such a position in your blind support for a party above all else.

I didn't answer John because your comment was non sensicle. The plans drawn up by West and Mercer clearly are meant to deal with a specific threat. If Brown chooses not adopt them then he would be placing the public at risk. It seems that he has adopted them and so your claim that this was just a PR exercise is wrong.

No proposals will 'Stop Terrorism'. What the proposals are supposed to do is mitigate the effects. Since they are following on from proven techniques already in use in other buildings such as at the Emirates stadium it is clear that plenty of people do believe they are right.

So again in your desperate attempts to attack Mercer you miss the obvious fact that he did his job and that if Brown follows the proposalss then they could and should have some benefit.

Pehaps you should stop playing politics for a while.

Well done Richard Tyndall. Spot on throughout.

Richard Tyndall,

Stop blustering and try responding seriously to the two points I put to you.

Put up or shut up.


No bluster.

Simple statement of fact.

You criticised my accurate comment that people here were putting party before public safety. You called it shrill and hysterical As such uyou align yourself with those people who claim he should not have taken on this non partisan role in spite of the fact he had the permission of the Tory party to do so.

So I stand by my comments.

I have also answered in detail the point about whether this was a PR exercise or not in my reply to John. The proposals that West and Mercer came forward with have been well received by neutral commentators and are based upon ideas already being implimented in a number of public buildings. As such it seems to me that these were sensible and practical proposals as one would expect from a non partisan review.

It seems to be only the hurt feelings of a few sidelined activists that made this out to be some great betrayal.


I'm glad that you are finally attempting to tackle the points put to you. However, I think that we must agree to disagree.

I believe this exercise by Brown had nothing to do with the fight against terrorism but was simply a characteristically cynical and opportunistic charade with which he hoped to sideline and diminish the opposition. To help him in this he enlisted the naive, the gullible, and the oportunistic.

You, on the other hand, appear to believe that Brown's scheme had genuine merit and that Mercer was performing a useful service for the public.

Clearly, there is a gulf between us and there I shall leave it.

Richard wrote "it seems to be only the hurt feelings of a few sidelined activists that made this out to be some great betrayal."

It was not a few. At a time when Labour were trying to completely wreck the Conservative party, Patrick's actions helped that move by Brown.

The feelings from activists and candidates towards the MPs that were assisting Brown were very deep. It was not a few but the vast majority who almost despaired at the bone headed stupidity of Mercer and Bercow.

If Patrick Mercer wanted to represent himself he should have stood as an Independent and not as a Conservative. He was old enough to know what party he was joining.

As to the abuse his wife got I do not know what form that took but if she had met activists I know she would have certainly had a "piece of their mind" for all the leaflets, fund raising and effort they put in which Patrick was effectively destroying.

Richard Tyndall. As usual when Patrick Mercer is criticised you resort to try and distract the argument by attacking the previous (recently deceased) MP for Newark.
You really are beyond contempt.

Many people in that constituency also remember the campaigning you were so proud to be part of which consisted mainly of debasing her. For you to suggest that she who had been in politics all her life, had no interest in the constituency is the line you and your sort peddled around Newark in your desperate attempt to to put in her place an opportunistic retired officer looking for a new career to tick him over until retirement.

And as we have now discovered you made a dreadful mistake in being party to the character assassination of a decent woman and in supporting a man who has been contraversial for all the wrong reasons, skilled in exploiting his personal opportunities, and is not above playing the patriot card in an effort to extricate himself from justified criticism.

Well, politics is a tough game, the tables have turned and now it's his turn to be - according to you - unjustly treated. The irony.
Talk about what goes around.....
Looking forward to the resignation speech already.

I was unhappy at the apparent PR 'hit' on us that Patrick Mercer's move gave to Brown.


Richard Tyndall is indeed spot on. He has summed up well why Patrick Mercer was probably right to do what he did (with David Cameron's permission - remember that).

'anyone but brown' - I am struggling to understand why you are so incoherently angry. As far as I can see, Mr Tyndall has more than answered your (not particularly valid in this argument) points.

"in your desperate attempts to attack Mercer you miss the obvious fact that he did his job"

No! You clearly don't understand and neither does Mercer.

The job of government is to govern, to run the country. It has access to many experts in many fields. It never needed Mercer.

The job of the Opposition is to oppose: to expose the flaws in the Government, in both policy and execution, and to provide a viable alternative government against the possibility that the people might wish a change of leadership. This role is just as important to the country as any in government itself, just as the role of a rear areas transport unit is as vital to an army as a front line infantry or tank unit; it may be less dangerous and (to outsiders) less glamorous but it is still indispensable.

Mercer's job was and is to oppose, to criticise, to provide alternatives. Opposition has much fewer resources than government; his skills were in much greater demand.

No Alex it is you who fails to understadn.

An MP is not elected to oppose or to govern. He is elected to represent his constiutuents as he sees fit. This is exactly the mistake I have been talking about. We do not under the British system vote for parties. We vote for individual constituency representatives.

So Mercer's job was to represent the people of Newark in the best way he thought. He has done that and his continued support in the constituency shows that he made the right choice.


it was the previous MP who was beyond contempt. She failed singularly to represent the people of Newark, acted as nothing more than Blair's mouthpiece, excaped a criminal conviction on the basis that 'the law was too difficult to understand' (I must try that one myself if I ever consider commiting an offence) and was held up as a perfect example of exactly how not to be an MP.

It is right to make the comparison between her and Mercer because that is exactly what the peple of Newark did. It is fairly central to this whole debate.

I have no idea whether or not she was a decent woman. I do know she was a rotten MP.

From what I have seen, I must say that I like Patrick Mercer. He has served his country in ways which most MPs could only dream about about.

Mercer is a disgrace. He sould be deselected. Disloyal, obstreperous naievety is no virtue in an MP.


that does seem to be the core of our disagreement and so I agree we will not be able to bridge that gulf.


I assume they therefore extended that opnion of 'bone headedness' to the party leadership and whips as well since they sanctioned the exercise.

Or is it perhaps that Cameron knew well that certain things are more important than mere party politics. I would certainly like to think tat is the case and since he has proved fairly astite on many other matters recently I would be willing to agree with him.

Shame others here cannot follow his example.


never happen.

The Tories know that if they did that they would lose Newark.


Who's little sockpuppet are you?

From Mercer’s CV I’m sure it was “Conservative MP” that got Gordon Brown excited. Mercer was naïve when he said “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless…” and naïve again when he accepted a position from Gordon Brown. Good riddance.

If I am correct in my understanding that not only no-one in Gordon Brown's cabinet has served in the armed forces, but that not one MP who is a Government Minister has either, then I think it was very sensible indeed for Patrick Mercer to put party politics aside and provide essential aid and assistance to our country's beleaguered Prime Minister.

Anyone who thinks otherwise surely does not have the best interests of our country's armed forces at heart.


needless to say not mine. I post under my own name and will win or lose on my own merits or mack of them.

I appreciate the support from James and others here but your reaction again leads me to the conclusion that posters should have to give their real names so that there can be no accusations of sock puppetry and also (on the other side) no hiding ones real agenda.

Oh Graham don't be so naive. Brown could have asked anyone from the Army,MI5 or SIS for advice but he chose a Conservative MP who on a fundamental aspect of anti terrorism wholly disagrees with Government policy,why?
Richard Tyndall has done the best he possibly could to defend Mercer but as you can see has not attracted very much support from people across the party spectrum.


a slightly different subject but it is a sad fact that so very few of our MPs on either side have served in the armed forces.

There are far more on the Conservative benches including David Davis who was in the TA SAS (to my mind the TA are just as valuable as soldiers and take just as many risks so I tend not to draw a distinction between them and the regular forces for these matters).

But the lack of politicians with military experience seems to me to be a dangerous situation when those politicians are likely to send people off to fight wars.


no, I have not atracted much support from the people who haunt Conhome. NOr did I expect to.

But since the only people who really matter are the voters of Newark I am sure I will not lose much sleep over that.


Thank you for replying. It seems we will have to agree to disagree on this and I actually wish Patrick Mercer well so long as he reflects more on this matter.

That said, it does not change my views. I only hope I am proved wrong.

Just one final thing. I would not have even bothered going beyond my original post had I not noticed your dubiously argued crusade in his defence. But hey what do I know about politics!

Richard, I agree with you about talent although there are several very qualified defence experts sitting on our benches - just not enough.

I sat on the the selection committee which rejected Brig. Geoffrey Van Orden and chose Roy Perry as our Hampshire MEP. My error.

The very under appreciated Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest East) springs to mind as someone who needs to be given a higher profile, and also Peter Viggers (Gosport) ex-Minister for the MoD (declaration of interest - a good friend when I lived in his constituency) although he probably has his best parliamentary years behind him now.

I've got to say though - this thread is geeting too personal for my taste.

How things change. Earlier this year I blogged that I was in a quandry. I wrote that I hated what the Conservative party had become under Cameron, with the "Hug a hoodie", and anti grammar school stuff. BUT!!! I also said that Patrick Mercer was an excellent constituency MP, (I am a constituent)and that while I could not bring myself to vote for the party, I felt it was my duty to vote for Patrick, who I saw as a true Tory and was worthy (as a Tory), of my vote. A few months is a long time in politics. In recent times, Cameron, Osborne and the leadership have returned to traditional Tory themes, while my MP has sidled up to Brown and completely lambasted the likes of me who can see what the clunking fist is up to. Then to describe himself as been driven to the periphery of the party says only one thing, "Can I sit next to you Quentin"? So to summarise, I now find myself in the position where I want to vote for the party, but not my MP! I have replace one quandry with another.

Jarod Weaver, vote to get the party in power. Above everything do this for our country. Another Labour term would be a national catastrophe. Vote Conservative and help bring about the change our nation needs.


Quentin was alreadyso far to the left that he had no place in the Tory party. The only regret is that a few more like Clarke and the other Europhiles do not follow him.

Mercer on the other hand does not strike me as being able to bear being on the Labour benches. His opposition to the EU, ID cards and detention without trial makes it extremely unlikely he could ever make the move.

Again if you vote for a party rather than an individual representative then you are wasting your vote

Right on! as they say Tony M!

There are a number of points 1) This was about timing, Gordon Brown was trying to destablilise us, especially after the grammergate affair, when a number of people started bleating in the media and were being very negative about Cameron and the strategy his team were following 2) Cameron probably agreed to Mercer helping Brown, as if he had refused, then he would have had to withdraw the whip from him, which would have meant another crossing over to Labour-
3) Some of us are deeply involved in the Party, I myself have been for 20 plus years, and am a borough cllr, but chose to protect my identity for personal reasons. 4) I am aware of a growing number of party members and activists in the Newark constitunency who are seriously concerned at the behaviour of their MP. 5) Richard Tyndall- yep you are right- technically MP's are elected to serve their constituents- HOWEVER as I said earlier, when MP's accept the CONSERVATIVE whip, they agree to tow the CONSERVATIVE party policies and stratgey and campaign for the party to win- not their own independent agenda- and ceratianly not the Labour Party-6) If Patrick is so disillusioned with the party then he should really consider whether he is doing the right thing 7) His wife should not have been abused in any way- I would not want that for mine.

I have listened to Patrick Mercer speak on several occasions and he is not in my opinion a man who would feel comfortable on the Labour benches. He seems to have put public above party politics in a way that I feel was naive and played directly into the hand of ZaNuLabour - however I believe that he genuinely thought that it was in the benefit of the country in general.

That he was manipulated by Brooon for propaganda reasons was his fault but also the fault of our whips for allowing him to do it in the first place.

If he wishes to make his peace with us then let us gave the grace to allow him to do so. If he wishes to defect then let him do so without rancour.

It is always better to know confidently who are your friends and who are your opponents.


so since Mercer did what he did with the permission of the party you should have no complaints then?

And I doubt if he would have taken the Labour whip. More likely he would have sat as an independent. Of whom we should have far more.

Actually as I said earlier the Tories in Newark have no choice in this matter. Mercer is very popular - more so now since all parties are seen as self serving and untrustworthy so anyone who is perceived as being independent is far more secure than a yes man.

If the Tories want to keep the Newark seat they have to accept Pat Mercer for what he is until such times as he decides he no longer wishes to represent the seat. It is not in the gift of the Tory party

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