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Yes - no ifs or buts!

As ever you're wrong Justin. No of course he shouldn't be fast tracked over long standing and hard working Conservatives with far more claim to be at the top of the list. Mind you Kirkhope shouldn't still be on the list at all imho.

It's a factor of list systems that candidates may miss out because of decisions of their own party rather than the electorate - given that UKIP have an MEP in the region who is unlikely to hold on there may well be a space without pushing out one of the existing MEPs if there's a good swing from Labour or the Lib Dems themselves.

If it's a cost of attractgin defectors it's probably one that's not too bad to bear.


Kirkhope gave the Whip to Karim immediately. He had to be instructed by Cameron to restore the Whip to Roger Helmer about a year after it was removed. Helmer merely held the President of the Commission to account.

Kirkhope has been the lapdog of the EPP. We can only hope that our delegation in Brussels picks a new, more principled Leader who will fight the EPP's federalism!

Double LoL. And there was the editor highlighting how the new generation of tories are eurosceptics with the old europhiles dying out.

You clearly missed the trick that they would be usurped by some good old fashioned nextgen europhiles from the ranks of the LibDems!

I think you are mixing two different things. Tim Kirkhope is obviously referring to Mr Karim's defection. He will be in the same position as any "sitting MEP" in being ranked by North West Conservative Members presumably in the Spring.

Bloody Roger Helmer - again! Give it a rest! You got want you wanted - move on!

Karim is a carpet-bagger who puts his career before Party or principles. He voted for the EU constitution and cannot be trusted to put Britain's sovereignty first.

There are many hard-working Conservative candidates in the North West who are more deserving of a seat in the European Parliament.

I have come to the conclusion that MEPs are powerless representatives. Their only value is to have as many as possible to diminish the use other parties make of theirs for propoganda.

We should not tear ourselves apart over who these representatives are.

Personally I think he should enter the selection alongside everyone else and be treated similarly. Given the polls we may get an extra seat up there anyway.

I'm sorry, but I can't seen how any of the above quoted passage indicates that Sajjad is being fast tracked. It merely seems to say that this defection has been in the pipeline and is good for the party and for Mr Karim.

I don't agree with him being fast tracked, but I've yet to see any evidence indicating that this is the case.

As usual Justin Hinchcliffe has shown that he is completely at odds with our party.

We shouldn't accept defections, this man was elected as a liberal democrat and should have remained so, he realises that the liberal democrats are imploding so he has jumped ship. He doesn't care whether the conservative party is a broad church or not, he only cares about his career.

If he truly feels that the conservative party is a party closer to his views why did he not resign from the european parliament and begin his political career from scratch like everyone else has to.

Turncoats and traitors should not be rewarded.

No, absolutely not. He should stand down as an MEP instantly and if he wants to stand again he should go through the same process as everyone else.

Perhaps we should follows Mr Karim's suggestion, on his blog, to reject this top down centralism? After all, when he campaigned for re-election as a Lib Dem, "the mood was very upbeat and positive especially following the news that a senior Conservative in Ealing Southall has defected to the Liberal Democrats, following the imposition of a candidate on the local party by Tory spin doctors."

Given that, in the same place, he lambasted the party for "their failure to support a resolution condemning discriminatory remarks by political and religious leaders targeting homosexuals, the Tories have shown their true colours. Tory apathy in the face of rising homophobia should come as no surprise as, today, the Conservative camp is rife with contradiction."

This is an obviously careerist man with no scruples about how he retains his seat on the political gravy train. He'll fit perfectly into the Cameroon mould.

You might be right Chris (1339). Perhaps I am reading too much into the words but the question at the top of the post still stands. It's certainly worth asking now before his place at the top of the list is presented to grassroots members as a fait accompli.

Of course he should not be fast-tracked. We wouldn't be having this discussion at all if the party board had not changed the selection system in favour of sitting MEPs, of which Karim is now one. Had we not changed the system he doubtless would not have defected because under the old system he would have had to fight his own corner.

One of Tony Blair's favourite put-downs at PMQs was 'it's opportunism worthy of the Liberal Democrats'. That phrase springs to mind here. I'm not just talking about Karim's opportunism, which is plain to all who follow events in Brussels, but Tim Kirkhope's opportunism in claiming credit for all this.

It would of course be unduly cynical to suggest that Karim would vote for Kirkhope now that they are suddenly best pals. But I feel strongly that Karim should refrain from voting in Wednesday's delegation election (despite his entitlement to do so) as a gesture of good faith.

Finally, I would be very sorry if someone like Jackie Foster, who has given her life to our party and the north-west region, is denied the chance to come back as an MEP because of this stitch-up. Jackie must be devastated.

So a dripping wet Europhile joins a delegation of dripping wet eurphiles (Dan Hannan honourably and publicly exempted). Who cares?

To put it another way...

IF he is fast tracked then we WILL win the parliamenary seat in Pendle without a doubt.

They're doing a good job up there and this would be a massive boost to winning the muslim vote they so badly need.

This guy claims he has been considering his move for quite a while.

Not too credible when you consider the repetitive anti-Conservative comments he's made on inspiring voters, selecting women MEPs, eco-policy, Kashmir self-determination, homophobia and other topics of interest to the average voter.

See 'Chameleon Karim's' blog...

I am pretty sure that the Party's new rules for MEP selection, which were published in the summer, are as follows:

1) All sitting MEPs are interviewed separately by the Regional Selection College (RSC), which includes regional & area officers & association chairmen.
2) The RSC has two choices. It can decide to re-select sitting MEPs so that they go straight back on to the Party list for the region. All such re-selected MEPs will go to the top of the list. If there is more than one re-selected MEP, all Party members in that region will be balloted on the order in which they will appear on the list.
3) Alternatively, the RSC can decide not to re-select an MEP back to the top of the list. In which case that MEP will go in to the general ballot with all other non-MEP candidates and the ranking will be decided in a ballot of the region's Party members.
4) The next-highest placed candidate on the list immediately after all the re-selected MEPs must be a woman.

If those rules are applied to Mr Karim, the first question is whether he should be treated as a sitting Conservative MEP. On the assumption that he will be treated as such, it will then be up to the North West RSC to decide whether to re-select him, or whether to put him into the mix with all the other candidates. In the latter case, assuming that both Den Dover & Sir Robert Atkins are re-standing and succeed in being re-selected, Mr Karim could be placed no higher than 4th on the list.

Unless he decides to go for gender - as well as party - re-assignment ...

It may be politically advantageous to adopt him but personally I hope we don't.I really don't think we should emulate what Labour did with people like Shaun Woodward.Sometimes the moral high ground will deliver more votes than grubby deals amongst the political class.

As someone who lives in the North west I really hope we accept him and put him 3rd on the list.

in the North West of the current trance of Tory MEPs, Den Dover is great, David Sumberg is standing down while Robert Atkins is so in hoc to the EPP, many of us no longer regard him as a Tory.

The new system no longer allows us the average member to get rid of the scallywags.

Would not the better idea be to parachute him into another Region since his defection may stimulate North West Region Lib Dem activists to work harder just to get rid of him whereas if he were in Yorkshire or say East Anglia the personal animus would not be there

The right thing to do would be to vote not to reselect any of the sitting MEPs. Then they all (along with Mr. Karim) are ranked according to the number of votes they can attract from ordinary party members.

That way, in addition, any women who are put to the members for ranking, compete on an equal basis with the men.

Welcome Sajjad. Reading some of the comments I can imagine the writers, when presented with an ex-Labour or ex Libdem voter on the doorstep, castigating them as fair-weather friends and bemoaning their lack of principle.

How on earth can Struan Jamieson say that Robert Atkins is "...so in hoc to the EPP, many of us no longer consider him a Tory". Someone who has been an MP and Minister under Thatcher and Major and served his constituents at all levels for that time must surely deserve better than common abuse. I've never seen ANY evidence that he breaks the Tory Whip in Brussels - often at odds with EPP - and he works his butt off for NW Conservatives. How long has Jamieson been in the Tory Party and what, if anything, has he contributed to the Tory cause that matches up in any way to Atkins?

I thought tempting Lib Dems across was part of the Cameron plan. We know about George Osborne's fumbled attempt to get David Laws. I think that ship has probably sailed now, and getting defections whilst Ming was leader was the most likely time, but it's still possible depending on how their leadership election goes that some of their MPs might consider coming across. If it means destabilising our opponents, I see nothing wrong with a dangling a carrot.

Without in any way entering into the debate about whether this man's views make him suitable as a Conservative MEP, it would be shameful if he were treated as a sitting Conservative MEP for selection purposes. The rationale for the rule giving sitting MEPs priority (if it has one) must be that they have previously been selected by Conservative members and therefore, unless they have been clear underperformers or opponents of what the Party is trying to achieve (which might apply to a few), it is reasonable for them to continue to have the support of the people who selected them in the same way that an MP tends to.

Rather than treat him as a sitting MEP and then have a messy process, which could be misunderstood as racism etc, whereby the region has to "reject" him back onto the wider list, it should be made clear that he does not qualify for the priority as a sitting member because he has not previously been selected by members. At the most one might see a case for dropping the "next is a female" rule in this region and let him compete for the next place.

If Tim Kirkhope has been making secret deals about the party's processes on this, then he should be sacked. It is not his place to decide these things. I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt at the moment, but then I am a natural optimist.

"Should Sajjad Karim be fast-tracked to the top of the North West list?”

Editor this is a daft question and you should know it. The procedures, as set out by the party in the North West, indicate that 2 of the current MEPs – Den Dover and Robert Atkins, who wish to stand for the 2009 elections – will likely be re adopted in places 1 and 2 on the regional list. The party has decided that a woman will take the 3rd place. The final decision will be in the hands of North West members.

In 2004 Sajjad Karim was 9th in the list of 9 elected MEPs – this in a year when he was chosen by the LibDems to bolster the anti–Iraq war theme in their campaign. He had a slim chance of re election in 2009 as the North West list is reduced from 9 to 8.

To get 4 of our candidates elected in 2009 we need to get to 40%+ [up from 24% in 2004].

NO to your daft question, but … let Sajjad Karim enter the contest to join the North West list - if North West members put Sajjad Karim at number 4 it would help us towards the 40%+ target.

Oh god, it's so obviously "yes". Can't we see beyond the fact that, however hard any one of us works in this ghastly machine, we're only doing it in order to get a Tory majority at Westminster? And that any defection to us, tactically, is worth a year of canvassing a ward with leaflets? Do people who read Conservative Home believe they're part of some sort of career path thing? That we're a meritocracy? We're just a bunch of volunteers who believe in a really important Thing. Getting that Thing enacted is more important than any ambition any one of us might harbour in our breasts. I couldn't care less what this geezer thinks about the EU, to be honest; he's fodder. Let's use him. Imagine the chaos in whatever LibDem regional office is responsible for sponsoring him. Use this bloke to destroy their morale and hence their electoral chances.

Yes Graeme, but the trouble still is that that THING is becoming less and less something that a Tory can believe in. There's no point in having a Conservative Government that isn't conservative or that is under the malign influence of LibDem careerists. Politics must still be about principles and not just the naked pursuit of power otherwise there is absolutely no reason for us volunteers to give up our time and efforts.

On another note the BBC website's reporting of this defection is so wildly LIbDem biased as to be ridiculous. See for yourselves:


I would like to have thought there would be more comments on here than there are, simply expressing satisfaction that someone from another Party has seen sense and come across to the Conservatives!!

The right thing to do would be to vote not to reselect any of the sitting MEPs. Then they all (along with Mr. Karim) are ranked according to the number of votes they can attract from ordinary party members.

That way, in addition, any women who are put to the members for ranking, compete on an equal basis with the men.

An excellent suggestion which I hope my fellow RSC members in the northwest (nay, nationwide) will follow.

Totally agree with Graeme.

Great words by Graeme Archer there...

...Its depressing to see the "Winge-a-thon" tendency are back out in force on here.....Seriously who can actually write this "Cameron isnt Conservative enough" tripe, unless they genuinely have malign intentions for our party.

Please whingers, whiners and malcontents go off on a long hike together, and remain where you are happiest, firmly rooted in the 19th Century.

Graeme Archer as usual speaks complete sense while the Colonel Blimps moan about the golf club rules, and not letting that sort of rif raf into their exclusive club.
A libdem defection is worth it, made all the sweeter because the expression on the faces of some of their activists this morning will have soured the milk in their bowl of branflakes!

All Tories are surely happiest in the nineteenth century (pre Reform Act, obviously).

"Please whingers, whiners and malcontents go off on a long hike together..."

Yes, I agree: hopefully to Beachy Head! I'll pay for the petrol.

He's a sitting MEP.

He's in receipt of the Conservative whip.

Ergo, he is a sitting Conservative MEP and I don't see how else he could be classified.

Winston Churchill was the biggest (self-confessed) turncoat of all, and I can't imagine any here is going to object to that.

I am truly stunned by some of the comments on here. This guy was a fully paid-up, active and vociferous member of the most Europhiliac party in the UK, with no track record whatsoever of calling for legal competency repatriation, or a more sceptical tone on the future development of the EU.

Now, without any prior warning, he suddenly jumps ship from the LibDems apparently on the subject of immigration, which as any halfwit knows, the British Government has very little policy control over anyway now.

But no, the Conservative Party has not only opened its arms to him (a fair enough move I grant you), but is seriously thinking about putting him at the forefront of a slate to see him reelected to the European Parliament when all of his professed views to date put him at severe odds with the vast majority of the Party.

Have the lunatics taken over the asylum or is it just the Cameroons? Or are they one and the same thing?

Sean Fear @ 1444 & "NW RSC Member" @ 1617. I am not sure that analysis is right. If no sitting MEPs were automatically re-selected to the top of the list, I think the Party rules would mean that the first name on the list must be a woman.


Whilst completely understanding Graeme's & others' instinctive desire to use Karim's defection to demoralise Lib Dems everywhere and in the NorthWest in particular, I have also been on the wrong end of the Bill Newton Dunn & Quentin Davies defections.

Whenever a politician defects in this way it fuels the perception amongst voters that all our elected politicians are entirely self-serving and have no respect or regard for their constituents. I use the words "all" and "entirely" quite deliberately; although of course very many of our elected representatives do not deserve that description, some do. The behaviour of the few tars and diminishes all the others. In this case, Karim can claim no personal vote whatsoever; he owes his MEP status entirely to his place on the Lib Dem list.

There are very very few things that would cause me to have any sympathy for Liberal Democrats in the North West. But this is one.

Enjoy the moment if you want to. But don't let's pretend that this makes politics and politicans look any better to the outside world.

but churchill was elected as churchill, not 2nd place on a regional list for the liberal party/conservative party.

This man was elected as the 2nd lib dem mep for the northwest, he would not have been reelected as the 2nd mep in the next euro election, he did this to keep his salary and 'mep' at the end of his name, he has no mandate other than being one of 2 libdem meps for nw.

What would be being said now if it were a tory to the lib dems.

consistency please!

Well I usually agree with Graeme and with you too Scotty over most things
.But today I do find it difficult.
Yes I know he's fodder and it is always good to make life difficult for the Lib Dems but are defectors that valuable really? What has Brown got from recruiting Quentin Davis? Just a man who's probably embarrased by his new party and is certainly an embarrasment to them.
It doesn't matter what his attitude to the EU is Graeme? Perhaps it doesn't. But that attitude reminds me too much of the Alastair Campbell school of politics .We should be about something higher and better than that. I firmly believe that one of the reasons that David Cameron has been more successful than the past three predecessors is because he successfully appeals to parts of the better nature of the people.
I hope I'm not being naive but I firmly believe that selecting candidates based on what they believe rather than providing a career path for disaffected opponents will deliver us more votes in the end.

That would be a No.

I hadn't see Simon Chapmans post before I posted mine at 17.07. He expresses my views much better than I have.

I agree with Graeme!

Does it matter in the slightest what we think? CCHQ will do what it thinks best and probably cock-up in the process.

Our leadership is obsessed by defections. I'd rather not play the same grubby little game as the Lib Dems and Labour.

We don't need defectors to win the next election, we need decent policies.

Who said this?

On Human Rights
"This is just another example of how the Labour and Conservative parties are completely aligned on stripping away our human and civil rights..."

On Conservative Homophobia
With their failure to support a resolution condemning discriminatory remarks by political and religious leaders targeting homosexuals, the Tories have shown their true colours."
"Their apathy in the face of rising homophobia should come as no surprise. The Conservative camp is today rife with contradiction. Cameron attempts to paint a glossy image of a gay-friendly party in the UK while desperately trying to get into bed at European level with Poland's homophobic 'Law and Justice' party."

On Kasmir
"I can honestly say that that whilst the British Conservative and Labour delegations were trying to make political capital out of the human rights situation of the Kashmiri people, the Liberal Democrats and Greens were the only MEPs to vote on the substance of the amendments, regardless of who their authors were."

On Animal Welfare
"...it is an issue that the Liberal Democrats in Europe take very seriously. The fact that the Tories have adopted such an untenable position on animal welfare indicates how out of touch they are with the European consumer. Astonishingly, the Tories were against the mandatory labelling of products to ensure the traceability and quality of food and related products"

On Education
""There are very clear differences between what the Liberal Democrats say and what the Conservatives and Labour are saying. For a start we say very very clearly that there ought to be a standard of education that is available right across the board. We don't accept that specialist schools of the sort that are being proposed by both Labour and Conservatives are the way forward. That's the first distinction that we make."
"What the Labour Party have done since they have come into power is carry forward the Conservative policies so far as bringing forward league tables, creating greater discrepancy in the provinces of the standard of education that is being provided. This is not acceptable..."

Gosh, it was that well known Conservative, Saj Karim. You're welcome to him. Maybe he can team up with white supremacist Rick Willis now?

What would be being said now if it were a tory to the lib dems.

consistency please!

Posted by: dale | November 26, 2007 at 16:56

I am consistent. When something happens that is to our tactical advantage, I swallow my ego and celebrate it. When something happens that isn't to our tactical advantage, I brush it aside from my view-screen (being a bit Blake's 7-y here). I don't care anything about this person, and like many of you, while I understand how a voter can switch allegiance, I find it hard to understand how someone who has gone through the process of being an elected member of a legislature can suddenly realise they're in the wrong party. But. That. Doesn't. Matter. Neither does this person matter. All he is useful for is delivering the headline "LibDems Are Such A Nothing That Ones You've Never Heard Of Are Jumping Ship". That's the function of Mr Karim. It's our duty to the Tory majority in Westminster, for which we're all working, to welcome him, so that the chances of a headline involving a LibDem we have heard of are increased. Other than through reproduction, political votes are a zero-sum game; if we want more than them, we have to take some of theirs. Mr Karim makes it more likely we will take more of theirs. End of.

My, my. The say-anything-to-win tendency, led by Justin 'let them catch fish' Hinchcliffe, is well out in force.

Seems some of us were not far wrong when we warned that David Cemeron's Conservatives had become a party without honour or principle.

johnnycomelately - How on earth can Struan Jamieson say that Robert Atkins is "...so in hoc to the EPP, many of us no longer consider him a Tory". Someone who has been an MP and Minister under Thatcher and Major and served his constituents at all levels...blah, blah, blah.

Your moniker is well chosen JCL. Atkins was always a dripping wet Eurofanatic. As long as he remains a member of the Tory group at Strasbourg their claim to Euroscepticism remains a mockery.

Trad. Tory - Do you have the slightest shred of evidence for your ridiculous assertions about Robert Atkins? You can't have - for the very simple reason that there is none.

Traditional Tory - here are the directions:http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Beachy+Head,+Eastbourne,+UK&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title

The first and crucial thing is that Mr Karim is a voter and the tories have often and publicly stated that we need to attract voters from other parties, particularly the Lib Dems, to our Party, so that we have the numbers to beat Labour at the next election.

So we should welcome him wholeheartedly and hope that his action will inspire other Lib Dems, who supported him when he sought election as an MEP, to consider his reasons for changing parties and possibly come over with him.

Whether he is fast-tracked or not to become a tory MEP is a matter to be decided by those selecting candidates in due course.

The honourable thing would be for him to resign, as the voters wanted a Lib Dem, which he no longer is. He could then fight the seat as a tory if selected.

Justin, are you sure that it is a responsible idea for the Chairman of Tottenham Conservatives, a Tory party official to be publicly enouraging people to commit suicide?

After all, you've got form with your previous call for the poor to fish in the Thames if they are hungry etc.


This thread is one of the most depressing threads that I've read on here for a very long time. Instead of welcoming people like Sajjad, real Tories and their friends in the troll community are being, well, just nasty. Stop it. And Chad, you can bugger off, too!



ColinW is a Lib Dem troll. Best to ignore him.


I think we have all noted how the comments have been flowing today without moderation.

You childish insults are bound to stop it happening again. Go and chill out for ten minutes.

Firstly, welcome to Sajjad. It's always good to have people join our Party.

Secondly, regarding his selection, it is a shame that the Party membership were not given the vote on ranking all MEPs and other candidates. If we had done that there could have been no allegations of backstairs deals. Instead Sajjad could merely have made his pitch like anyone else and either had a convincing mandate from local members or not.

Regardless of whether he becomes an MEP in the North West (not being a member there, I am supremely unqualified to comment), I wish him well in the Conservative Party.

True, I detest Tories, whether in the Con or NuLab parties.

ColinW is a Lib Dem troll. Best to ignore him.

Sorry Justin. Are you suggestinga that he is not telling the truth?

I never had any objection to LIbDem and Labour luminaries joining our party, even though closer inspection often revealed that they had suffered a few local difficulties with their previous parties before making a supposedly principled switch.

One former Labour councillor joined my association only after first approaching the Liberals, who weren't interested, and
then going back to Labour to beg them to reconsider his deselection. For all I know he may have approached the National Front as well.

But as I say, I never had any objection to defectors, provided they took their place at the bottom of the pile below the newest and most junior member of the association, with no special favours as regards selection etc.

Strangely, they did not seem to regard these conditions as reasonable.

What's this? Nothing about Peter Watt Labour Party General Secretary resigning over the illegal donations scandal?

If Brown is found to have agreed to these donations then he should be the one to resign.

In case anyone hasn't heard Iain Dale is reporting that tomorrow's Comres poll in the Independent reads:

Con 40%
Lab 27%
LD 18%

Welcome back Gordie!

He should stand down as an MEP instantly and if he wants to stand again he should go through the same process as everyone else.
If he does that, then the next Liberal Democrat down the list will take his place, it is for him to decide, but under the system UK MEPs are elected to the European Parliament there are no by-elections, but nor can the party leaders forcibly replace sitting MEPs on their list.

Welcome to the party Saj.


The party should be pleased that it is attracting former Lib Dems. The party will never win if it does not attract non-Conservatives. People in politics change their tune all the time- remember Mrs Thatcher once thought that the SEA was a good idea.

His website (not his blog) has gone offline. Views to hide perhaps?

If he is truly a lost soul returning to his roots and not an unprincipled yellow ladder climber out for himself then he should be happy to be back in the Party, even if that means 5 years hard leafleting to prove his credentials.

After all he is returning as a matter of principle so he will be glad to help.

So Karim, it's 5 years hard Labour for being an Lib Dem and then it's up through the ranks like the rest of us, anything else and we will know you for what I suspect you are.

We really don't have to take every sinking ship refugee whose career is in trouble, enough of those in the Party already.....


[email protected]

I equate fast trackiing defectors with cash for honours-----both are give anbd TAKE.

In answer to the question posed, no Sajjad Karim should not be given any special treatment in return for his defection but neither should he receive the criticism being levelled at him by certain contributors to this forum. He deserves a fair opportunity to seek office as a Conservative candidate whether that is for the European Parliament or elsewhere and he should be allowed a fresh start to his career. Under David Cameron's leadership the Party is attracting new supporters who are enthused by the vision we are offering to a country which has run out of patience with this tired, shambolic Labour Government. That is something to welcome not to denigrate.

Karim has been a member of the Party for hours and hes being considered for the top of the Party List?

I would think it appalling that someone who has literally just joined the Party gets bumped up to the top of the list on the basis of their former allegiance. He has no record of activism in the Party and I hope the Party will see sense and put him at the bottom until he has earned his spot.

Do you know, with all this nastiness not only will Mr Karim start to wonder if he's made a big mistake(he hasn't as most of us welcome him) - but there will be others who may well be put off taking a similar decision (don't be put off - come and join us)! Grow up please!

I think it is quite clear from what everyone has written that most of us do not.

dale when I say "us" I mean most of us in the Conservative Party - not most of us on Conservative Home which after all, important though it is, is only a small cross-section of people.

Ok, so I don't live in the North West but if I did I would be highly concerned about placing someone who has fought against Conservative principles and policies his whole life at the top of my list.

He has said some very nasty things about Conservatives (as people have pointed out throughout this thread).

Call me old fashioned, but surely Tory members should want people with Tory views representing them in Europe. Am I wrong?

From today's Telegraph 'Spy' column

Is he really a Tory?

The defection of the Lib Dem MEP Saj Karim to the Conservatives yesterday may have publicly been hailed by David Cameron, but many of his new colleagues are seething.

"Having failed to top the North West Lib Dem list for the next election, he's clearly concluded that he's most likely to retain his seat by standing as a Tory," one Conservative MEP told Spy. "The man is a complete opportunist and I'm not aware he has a Conservative bone in his body."

think carefully.

This is a man who thought it oK to sack his staff by text message after they heard of his defection in the media and who thought it Ok to hire a van the day before the defection and completely clear out the office, his helpers taking staff personal possessions as they scooped everything up to take away. So shoddy behaviour and theft. Remember if this is how he behaves, he will do the same to you.

Sally Roberts

Your touching faith in our new friend is based on what?

He anti-Tory rhetoric?

His blatant opportunism?

His staggering behaviour towards his staff - as reported above?

'Spare the commons - kill the Nobles' is a good principle here - we are happy to have misguided LD voters who have been conned, but the senior officers who planned the war against us, politicans whose campaigning techniques are those of the gutter? Never.

Scum -let them rot

Just suppose a UKIP MEP wanted to defect to us - would he be made equally welcome?

The man is clearly a carpetbagger, so the answer to the original question is "No".

My own questions. Do we automatically take on any renegade just to gain a few headlines? Has any one considered whether his reported behaviour might actually bring electoral disadvantage?

From today's Oldham Chronicle - is this connected?

Party members foil poll plot

UNDERHAND tactics to swell membership of the local Liberal Democrat party to influence a poll have been uncovered by party members.

The bizarre plot included inventing names and enlisting people without their consent to garner more votes.

Now local members have demanded rule changes to safeguard the political process.

A report to the party’s Oldham Executive, seen by the Chronicle, reveals deep unease at the suspicious surge in party membership last year.

It’s believed the recruitment campaign was organised by people trying to influence the selection of candidates for the European Parliament election in 2009.

In the North-West European constituency, 1,200 people, including 124 in Oldham, suddenly joined the party — but were found not to be genuine members. However, the Chronicle understands that any such plan was unknowingly scuppered by Lib-Dem leaders when they brought forward the vote for candidates for the Euro elections.

Under Lib-Dem rules, memberships have to have been in place for a year before members are allowed a vote — ruling out all the new, suspect, members. Subsequently none of the new members renewed their membership and have now disappeared.

Long-standing MEP Chris Davies was recently selected as the main candidate with Sajjad Karim following just behind to battle for one of the North-West’s seats.

But Mr Karim defected this week to the Conservatives saying the Lib-Dems were a spent force and the Tory leader’s recent comments about immigration had persuaded him to jump ship.

The Lib-Dems in turn suggested Mr Karim switched parties because he was not placed top of the list.

The report says an unusual membership recruitment campaign directed at the Asian community was organised in the wards of Medlock Vale, St Mary’s, Waterhead and Werneth without the knowledge of any party officials, officers or councillors.

Multiple applications were made from single addresses, including 22 new members appearing to live at three houses.

More than 25 per cent of the new members were not listed on the electoral register, while some were not resident at the address given or were not UK nationals. Postal votes in any selection contest would therefore be fraudulent.

The party’s own inquiries revealed that some of the new members did not exist, some could not speak English, others were women who said their husbands controlled their voting intentions, one denied being a Lib-Dem member and several said they voted for another party.

The report states: “The executive of Oldham local party is extremely concerned that an attempt may have been made to influence the selection of Lib-Dem candidates in a manner which is either fraudulent — in so much as party members may not exist or be resident locally — or which does not permit informed free choice.”

It was feared members of other parties could be in a position to influence the selection of Lib-Dem candidates and that information the Lib-Dems send to members could be given to other parties.

The Oldham executive has called for an investigation to establish who organised the recruitment exercise and if it has happened elsewhere.

Chairman Alan Roughley said: “An unusually large number joined by the internet who were unknown to the party. There was an attempt to check on some of these to see if they were genuine and they found a number of inconsistencies.

“I am concerned enough to try to take it up with the national party chief executive. We have called for the rules to be revised. We are robust in attempting to stamp out infiltration.”

Party rules allow for a six-week period for membership applications to be challenged, but local members have called for this to be lengthened. However, such a change can only be decided at the national party conference.

Sgt Terry Broome, an expert on electoral law, said internal issues were a matter for the party. But if any of the suspect members’ names went on to the electoral register, or were registered or used for postal votes, offences would be committed, including personation.

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