There is a certain irony in the Tories holding an internet driven open primary in Clacton to select their candidate and UKIP HQ imposing Douglas Carswell, the prophet of iDemocracy, as their candidate. Carswell will be pleased his ideas are being taken up…
It has been briefed that it was a ‘pincer movement’ from the Chief Whip and the Party Chairman that sealed the deal for Ruffley yesterday. They were kicked into action, finally, by the leak of this letter from the Dean of Bury St Edmunds, and tens of thousands of people signing an online petition. Crucially the Tories were also made aware yesterday morning of a letter planned for Wednesday’s Times from dozens of women affiliated with the Conservative Party. “Women problem” is an understatement.
Guido has obtained a copy:
We are writing to share our concerns about the behaviour of David Ruffley MP.
We consider it unacceptable that a man who has accepted a caution for assaulting his partner should continue in his position.
This Conservative-led government has a proud record of acting to prevent domestic violence. On 2 July 2014 the Prime Minister asserted the importance of Clare’s Law in relation to abusive partners, and on 8 March 2014 the Home Secretary said: “I am determined to see a society where violence against women and girls is not tolerated, where people speak out.” It is disappointing, therefore, that despite the Government’s strong moral stance on this issue, our own party has been slow to take any action against one of their own Members, who has accepted a police caution for assault of his partner, one of the crimes we are trying to prevent.
When Andrew Pelling MP was arrested under suspicion of assaulting his wife in 2007, the whip was immediately withdrawn, pending an investigation by the party’s ethics committee. We are pleased that the new Chief Whip, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP decided last week to launch an investigation into this matter, however, given the serious nature of the offence for which Mr Ruffley has accepted a caution, which is an admission of guilt, we feel that the Conservative whip should be immediately withdrawn.
The public has the right to be served by representatives who abide by the legislation that they pass through Parliament.
We are proud to be members of the party who first gave women the vote, produced the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons, as well electing the first female party Leader who went on to be the first female Prime Minister. For generations, the Conservative Party has lead the way in advancing equality of opportunity and equality under the rule of law. Two people die every week at the hands of an abusive partner, and our party must demonstrate that no matter who you are, domestic violence is unacceptable
It was about to blow up, and blow up very publicly.
To those MPs who emotionally blackmailed and even threatened their female staff with disciplinary measures to stop them signing the above letter – and then grassed the plot to CCHQ – Guido says this. I know who you are, and you know what you have done. What I have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you…
This morning as Labour continue their summer assault the Tories are reminding everyone of the Labour Party’s own doubts about Ed Miliband with a new website, JustNotUpToIt.com:
The interactive map is populated with pins, click on a pin and a local Labour critique of Ed pops up. The map is, to coin a phrase, Ed’s One Nation Labour in their own despairing words. Have a browse here…
CCHQ will be pleased that the South Ribble Tories have selected, on the first ballot, Seema Kennedy to replace Lorraine Fullbrook. With a 5,554 vote majority to hold it is a battleground seat – Fullbrook put in a big campaign to win the seat from Labour in 2010, reputedly the most expensive in the country. Seema – a Conservative councillor for Marshalswick South ward in St Albans – is of Persian-Irish parentage, her family fled Iran after the revolution. A Cambridge graduate she made her money as a property lawyer. From the modernising wing of the Tories…
Mystery and misinformation surrounds the selection of a Tory candidate for the Kentish seaside seat of South Thanet. Laura Sandys, one of the many female MPs standing down after just one term, announced her intention to quit last year. She did it early on in order to give her successor a chance to properly ‘bed in’ as a candidate. CCHQ however waited until late last month to open up the selection process. Last week that selection was abruptly halted, and those that had applied were told this was due to circumstances beyond the control of the association:
“Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, there has been a delay in the Selection process.”
Interviews and tests planned for the weekend were suspended.
When Guido put this to CCHQ on Friday afternoon, the story was flatly denied by a press officer who claims to have checked with the candidates department and was confident that the selection process was continuing normally. A miss-speak, at best.
When this morning Guido suggested that they might like to “revise” their thoughts on the issue, in light of the email, a Conservative spokesman said:
“This is a matter for the local association.”
Yet the local association say it is due to circumstances beyond their control. What could it be about the prospect of Nigel Farage standing in the seat that so spooks the Tories?
In further proof that the Tories are in a bit of a flap about Newark, the party chairman has just threatened the six hundred wannabe Tory MPs that they will be booted off the approved candidates list if they do not campaign ahead of Thursday’s poll. In an email seen by Guido, Shapps warns:
“As you know, a condition for being on the candidates list is the requirement to campaign in by-elections. Having spent 10 years on the list myself, I know that this expectation is no different from that which will be expected from you as an MP. Candidates who do not assist at by-elections without good reason may put themselves at risk of being removed from the list of approved candidates. … As a possible Parliamentary candidate, the Party is looking to you to show leadership and to support it in this critical by-election.”
They will not be able to throw this much effort at every seat UKIP are targeting this time next year…
ConservativeHome’s post Euro elections reader survey shows that the reality of the national vote result was not lost on the site’s readership. Support* for a blue-purple pact has risen…
*Usual caveats about self-selecting samples.
Every morning CCHQ sends its MPs and staff a media monitoring summary of the day’s main news events. There were more than a few raised eyebrows when this morning’s briefing landed in Tory inboxes:
Must have missed that one…
Tory MPs and their staff attended a meeting this afternoon where they were warned about dodgy donations while making their latest declarations. Click through the slides* below to see who they are scared will expose their financial misdeeds:
You have been warned…
*We kept the other 43.[…]
Guido likes to think we are more than just a political gossip blog providing readers with the finest in tittle-tattle for a decade.
We’re also a think-tank:
- November 15, 2013 Flaws in the Ed Balls “Cost of Living Crisis” Attack Line
- January 2, 2014 Data Shows “Cost-of-Living Crisis” About to End
- January 14, 2014 End of Ed’s “Cost of Living Crisis”
January 24, 2014, George Osborne’s sock-puppet Matthew Hancock is arguing in The Times and on the Today programme this morning that the cost of living crisis is over:
Over the past year, from 2012 to 2013, things have started to turn around.
Missing reading old George Osborne speeches about the moral case for low taxes? Or the one when he promised to raise the inheritance tax threshold? Have no fear, they are all still available from the British Library – including the 2006 to 2010 Cameron opposition period:
Guido is of course too modest to mention who else they record for posterity…[…]
On Tuesday night following a vote by his local party executive committee, Crispin Blunt, the Tory MP for the safe seat of Reigate since 1997 was asked to re-apply for selection by a vote of the Conservative Association’s membership. Re-selection for a sitting Tory MP is usually an automatic formality.[…]
As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, the Tories will move CCHQ in January from Millbank to Matthew Parker Street behind the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster. After the students smashed up Millbank in 2011, their insurance bill soared. All three major parties will have moved since 2010 by the next election. […]