Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oaten Pulls Out & Deliberates on His Future

Mark Oaten till dramatically pull out of the LibDem leadership election campaign this afternoon. His troubled campaign has never got off the ground, despite the help of rocket scientist Lembit Opik. The leaked email saga was the final straw for him. I don't know who he'll endorse. From a career viewpoint he'd probably be tempted to got Ming, but philosophically he is closer to Huhne. There's no doubt that Oaten will be devastated by this as he truly believed he was Kennedy's natural successor. Expect the Conservatives to make every attempt to lure him across. If I were a betting man I'd stick a tenner on him defecting by the summer.

UPDATE: 3.45pm Mark Oaten has just given his reasons for pulling out. He finished his statement with these words: "Next week I'll be giving some thought to where I go politically and giving my thoughts on the future of the Party." Interesting. I might make it £20 now...

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ten new pounds? Done. If you could just send me a postal order sometime in September, that would be super.

James said...

You're THAT desperate that you would accept such damaged goods?

Paul Linford said...

Come on, the poor sod looks silly enough already, why would he make himself look a complete plonker by joining the Tories?

Anonymous said...

Yes, please take him. If Oaten would defect to the Conservatives, that would increase the qualityof MPs in both parties. It's a win-win.

Anonymous said...

I'm still prepared to swap him for Ken Clarke :)

Anonymous said...

Or why not for John Bercow or David Curry?

leon said...

It wouldn't surprise me if he does go by the summer, the LibDems are about to be carved up by the Tories and Neo Labour...

http://leongreen.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

No, Oaten is too tribal to defect. He's a LibDem through and through. And could he hold his Winchester seat as a Tory?

malcolm said...

Would we really want someone like Oaten.I am far from a rightwing Tory but I find his views on Home Affairs generally and crime in particular completely unpalatable.
Winchester should be one of the seats we must win if we are to form a government,personally I would hope we can do that with a proper Conservative.

Modern Conservative said...

I hope he does come to the Tories. The message it would send would be very powerful, floating voters would follow in his wake. Oaten's views are slightly irrelevant if he joins as he would be signing up to the Conservative whip and as a new ambitious member won't be shaping policy. He probably could win Winchester as a Conservative, he'd bring a big enough personal vote to cancel out the hardcore right wing vote.

David Stewart said...

Paul Linford is correct. He's just failed in his leadership bid, why would he waltz over to the Tories? He'd never hear the end of it.

I'd stick £40 on him defecting though. I put the odds at 12/1.

Anonymous said...

Free Democrat is quite right that it would be a great coup and whether you like Oaten or his views is neither here nor there. All this 'we wouldn't have him' stuff is total rubbish.

Simply won't happen though. The Lib Dems and Labour were in serious and protracted discussions with several Tory MPs in the 1990s and fewer than half defected. Defections don't just come out of the clear blue sky. I have not heard a rumour about any Lib Dem MPs being in discussions, and even if one were it wouldn't be Oaten two minutes after being a leadership contender. I do not claim Liberals are somehow immune from defection but Iain's sabre rattling on this site feels totally insubstantial.

Anonymous said...

Oaten won't. Too much loyalty to Charles, Lembit etc. No doubt the Tories will try - his support was shit for leader, but he's a very fluent performer and has held several cross-party Home Affairs coalitions together.

FYI Boundary changes are going to shore up his seat by reducing the Tory Meon valley vote in favour of the Winchester Lib Dem-ness.