Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Is an MP About to Defect?

This particular hare has been running before and come to nothing, but I've had several people ask me today if I have heard about an imminent defection to the Conservatives. The honest answer is that I haven't, but nor would I expect to have. Defection negotiations are best conducted very much in private. The fewer people know about them the better.

I'm told that one possible defector last year was put off by the ham-fisted approach of his interlocutor, which far from being a slow, gently seduction took the form of a blunt question: "Well, are you going to defect?" Needless to say, the answer was negative. Unbelievable.

UPDATE: LibDem Voice is getting very excited about a Tory defection to the LibDems in Tunbridge Wells. No, it's not the Tory MP Greg Clark - it's a.... wait for it .... a parish councillor. See HERE.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

This wouldn't be a certain ambitious Lib Dem, featured in this parish not so many months ago ??

Come on, Iain, don't tease - tell..

Anonymous said...

Here's a well kept secret for you - it's going to be David Cameron!

Cherie said...

I've hear the Right Honourable Member for Sedgefield leans that way, and is looking for a new career.

Who needs Cameron, when you can have the original grinning idiot?

mens sana said...

Forgive me Iain, but if you believe that the fewer people who know about it the better what are you doing featuring the rumour on your blog-or does the insatiable urge to gossip overcome party loyalty?

Ken from Glos said...

You used HIS in your short piece instead of HER which is a great pity because there is one remarkable lady on the Labour benches for whom I have a great deal of respect.

She is honest forthright truthful and a stranger to spin.

I dont know how to spell her surname so if I may be so bold and refer to her as.......

KATE...

Anonymous said...

Iain - one could be unkind and suggest that you were just making this up to appear "in the loop" Put up or shut up

Anonymous said...

Phooey, Ken. Can't have her. Too rightwing.

Iain Dale said...

Mens Sana, perhaps you need to read between the lines a little here.

Anonymous 8.15. You could suggest that, but did you not read this sentence? "The honest answer is that I haven't, but nor would I expect to have." I am not sure how that is suggesting that 'I am in the loop'!! very much the opposite I would have thought.

chatterbox said...

I saw George Osborne's comments at the weekend and just thought he was being a mischievous?!?!
At the moment I would imagine that he does not get a lot of idle chit chat from members of other parties in public?

floorcrosser said...

Kate Hoey
Frank Field
David Laws
Shaun Woodward

Brent Parris said...

How about Gisela Stuart? Combine disillusion with the Labour Party, similar views to the Tories, an admiration for the changes brought about by Mrs T and a wafer thin majority.

Anthoninus said...

There has been a lot of gossip for months over defections. Whether it is spin and who is doing the spinning is hard to tell. It wouldn't surprise me though if an MP defected to the Tories around the time of the local elections on May 3rd though. Both the Labour and LibDems are sinking at the moment - who will jump ship? My inkling is that it will probably be someone that hasn't been mentioned yet ... would laugh if it were Shaun Woodward though - chuck that f***** over the side!

Observer said...

Shaun Woodward is coming home to Witney !!!!

mens sana said...

Take your point-still not sure if I agree with your method

www.hunterandshooter.blogspot.com said...

We'll all look pretty silly if, by May 4, we haven't had a single defection!

dickweed said...

This months defections:

David Laws and Kate Hoey to the Tories

Patrick Cormack to Labour

Lembit Opik to Monster Raving Loony Party

Anonymous said...

Parish councilor eh? Obviously someone with more brains and 'consistency' than Clark?

jailhouselawyer said...

I would not be surprised if the Tory MP Peter Ainsworth defects to Labour given that David Cameron intends to sack him from the shadow cabinet.

David said...

I live pretty near Cranbrook, and the 2nd paragraph on that Lib Dem blog is spin at its finest.

The article makes the Cranbrook Tories sound like King John!

Chris Paul said...

Lib Dems in Manchester have an ex-Labour convict, ex-Indy, ex-UKIP very briefly (they sacked him), as their membership secretary and a candidate. Their sitting councillor up this time in one of the adjoining wards (city centre) was almost deselected because he pointed out yet another one allegedly dealing drugs.

They're fine ones to talk about defectives.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, your party got very excited about a bunch of non-entity ex candidates chosen for non winnable seats at the last election who defected to the Tories. At least the guy in Kent was elected to soemthing !

Iain Dale said...

Good try Nich - but a Parish council. C'mon!

For the record 7 LibDem candidates have defected to the Tories since 2005 with, I think, one going the other way!

no longer anonymous said...

"I'm told that one possible defector last year was put off by the ham-fisted approach of his interlocutor"

Presumably you don't know the identity of either person?

Anonymous said...

Tory lead cut from 11% to 4% in a poll in the Independent.

Why would anyone defect to a bunch of opportunistic no-hopers?

Iain Dale said...

No longer anonymous - yes I do, but I'm not telling!

Charlie the Fox said...

Much as I would be delighted to see Kate Hoey jump ship, I would also fear that she might be branded as a "closet Tory" by too many on the left and the anti-country sports brigade.

For a fairer overview of this subject, visit:


http://www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/

Kate Hoey is one of that rare breed of politicians who can put cause before party.

no longer anonymous said...

"Tory lead cut from 11% to 4% in a poll in the Independent."

I always thought the lead was overstated but the fact remains that Labour are about as popular as bubonic plague. They might not be polling as bad as Foot but they're definitely on Kinnock level.

Anonymous said...

no longer anonymous

The tories should be about 15-20% ahead now to stand a chance at the next election.

There is no mood in the country for the Blair-lite Cameron. He's just spin spin spin!

Anonymous said...

last anon about 15 to 20% ahead, you keep saying it, you know it isnt true, you just hope that we dont know.

The major polling organisations now weight their results significantly, which avoids large leads of the like we got pre mid nineties,plus the growth of three party politics makes such poll leads highly unlikely.

Keep on telling the fibs.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 12:52

It is a fact that the tories need a lead of about 9% to even get a one seat majority in the commons.

Therefore, in mid-term they need a substantially greater lead because this usually reduces as the country moves towards a general election.

You're on course for another beating - get over it!

no longer anonymous said...

"You're on course for another beating - get over it!"

Despite the increasing poll leads the Tories gain when Brown is offered as an alternative? Any Labour victory will be very narrow and as a result of the boundary advantage. The Tories will probably have the most votes.

Anonymous said...

Being a generous country, new prime ministers always get the benefit of the public's goodwill. It's what Brown does with it that will count in the end.

The next election is Labour's to lose - there is no great excitement for Cameron because he has no vision.

The Fog is Clearing said...

I think it's Alan B'stard.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Frank Field would be a tremendous asset. Also, he hates Blair.

Ralph said...

'Tory lead cut from 11% to 4% in a poll in the Independent'

The Communicate Research’s 'poll' is just correcting itself after an even sillier than usual result last month.

Making anything out of it really is desperate.

Brent Parris said...

We can forget about Hoey and Field, admirable as they are. They are more use to us in the Labour Party, and have impregnable majorities. And it's not true that Field hates Blair. He is not the kind that hates anyone. He does, however, have a record of criticising Brown.

machiavelli said...

We could do with some professional expertise on this one... my boss knows a few ex-MI5 types with lots of experience bringing people over. You only have to say the word, Dave... ;¬)

David Lindsay said...

Of course, the place for Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs Lib Dems is in the party of the Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs Cameron and Osborne.

But people like Frank Field and Kate Hoey are far too conservative for the Cameroon Party. Cameron is the Leader of what is now the otherwise leaderless New Labour Project in all three parties, so that both the Blairite remnant and the Orange Book Tendency should defect to his gang, which conservatives (not Thatcherites, conservatives) should leave. Then they really could hook up with Field, Hoey, and actually quite a lot of the Labour Party and the trade union movement.

But why should the rest of us wait for MPs? Unless I am very much mistaken, the only party ever actually to have been founded within Parliament, before attempting to spread itself outside to the country at large, was the SDP. And look what happened to that.

It is we who should be taking the initiative. I am. Why aren't you?

David Lindsay said...

Since someone mentioned Shaun Woodward, David Cameron and George Osborne (am I alone in having noticed how camp he is?) now sit atop the Conservative Party, having both been MPs only since 2001, and neither having done very much at all, politically or otherwise, up to then. Cameron is MP for Witney, and Osborne for Tatton. These are both super-safe Tory seats.

But in 2001, they were both in peculiar positions. At Witney, Shaun Woodward had defected to Labour, who had then shoe-horned him at St Helens North for the General Election. And at Tatton, Martin Bell had defeated Neil Hamilton in 1997, before standing down (as he had promised to do) in 2001.

So Cameron and Osborne can both claim to have taken back previously Tory seats from someone else, even though, under any normal circumstances (such as obtained in both cases in 2001), the seats in question were both rock-solid Tory, and even though neither has ever had to face a sitting MP seeking re-election.

And now it is, of all Tories, these two Bullingdon Club members, of almost no political or other experience, who are running the Conservative Party, and aspiring to run the country.

It is all very, very strange...