One of the authors of the Welsh Conservative manifesto from May 2007 elections has defected to the Labour party. 26-year-old school teacher David Anstee, former vice chair of the Rhondda Conservative party and member of a Conservative Policy Group said...
"Like many political moderates I had hoped that David Cameron's leadership of the Conservatives would herald a changed party that reflected the concerns of the people of our country. But unfortunately the Conservative Party has shown
itself to be incapable of change. It has pandered to the views of its right wing
whenever it has faced a serious test. In contrast, I have been really impressed
by Gordon Brown's leadership. His strength and vision for Britain has been inspiring. We need a serious leader for serious times, to meet the challenges of security, global warming and housing."
There's a bit of a problem here, though, as David Anstee was not one of the authors of the Conservative Party Manifesto in the Welsh 2007 elections. Indeed, he was not even a contributor to it. And no one I have contacted in the Welsh Conservative Party knows what they mean by a 'member of a Conservative Policy Group'. Perhaps someone can enlighten us?
UPDATE: I was told that this was a Labour Party press release. It appears not. It is what the BBC is running as a story. They had better correct the first line as soon as possible as it's way offbeam.
UPDATE: This is the original Labour Party press release, which in typical style, the BBC has hyped up...
One of the Tories' brightest young politicians in Wales has defected to the
Labour Party, praising Gordon Brown's strong leadership as the main reason for
26-year-old school teacher David Anstee was a member of a powerful Welsh Conservative Policy Group which wrote the party's 2007 Assembly election manifesto. Today Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed him to the party, saying that moderate conservatives were responding to his call to join Labour to build a better Britain. David Anstee will be joined today by Rhondda Welsh Assembly Member Leighton Andrews at the New Assembly building.
So it's clear. He did not write the 2007 Welsh Manifesto. Would the BBC like to stop running this lines in its coverage of this non story?
UPDATE: The Welsh Conservatives have issued the following statement...
“Over the last few years the Welsh Conservative Party has attracted many high profile people to join us from other Parties such as Alison Halford from Labour, Guto Bebb from Plaid Cymru and Rene Kinzett from the Liberal Democrats in addition to many other members and voters.”“Although I regret that David Anstee has decided to leave, his position in the Party has been massively overstated and he played no role in the production of our recent highly successful manifesto for the National Assembly elections.”“I would simply add that for the last ten years Gordon Brown has been the key figure in a Government that has increased taxes by stealth, wrecked our pensions system, increased crime, lost control of our prisons and increased Council Tax for a Band D property in Rhondda Cynon Taf by 89 per cent.”
UPDATE: The Labour Party has responded by saying this...
'The Tories are wrong to say David Anstee played no role in helping draw up ToryAnd there we have it. He attended a meeting. Well, bully for him!
policies for the 2007 Assembly election. He even attended a meeting of the Welsh
Conservative Policy Forum, run by Tory Policy Co-ordinator David Melding AM, to
discuss policies for the 2007 election. 'David Anstee is a bright young man
with a future ahead of him in Welsh politics. Welsh Tories are devastated by his
defection, as he represents precisely the kind of person David Cameron is
seeking to attract.'
UPDATE: Thanks to Andrew Woodman for pointing out that less than six months ago Was praising Cameron less than 6 months ago David Anstee was praising David Cameron to the skies HERE.
A Politician who does what he says, says what he believes and isn't afraid to
stand out in the crowd. Could this be a PM in waiting. Cameron should be
applauded for taking the education of his child so seriously. He has made an
intelligent decision which could have landed him in hot water with certain
quarters of the electorate. He had nevertheless run rough shod over the
insiduous rantings of the anti-faith school faction and has made a good decision
for the future of his child. Surely now we can trust the future of our children
with someone who puts his own children's futures first!- David Anstee, Rhondda,
UPDATE 3.05pm: This is becoming quite comical. The saga goes on...
In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman issued a further statement:“Welsh Conservative Policy Forums are, in effect, mini-conferences and are open to all Party members to attend and to express their views. They are always well attended. The fact that David Anstee claims to have attended one does in no way, shape or form substantiate Labour’s claim that he played a role in writing the Party’s 2007 election manifesto.We repeat our demand for a full apology from Leighton Andrews. Unless this is forthcoming the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Standards.
No doubt We can expect a further reposte from Mr A ere too long...
UPDATE 3.12pm: Now this is interesting. 5 Live and News 24 are giving this story a prominence that is typical for the silly season. BBC Radio Wales, however, - and they should know - tell me they are "ambivalent" about it and aren't really covering it. Perhaps News 24 and 5 Live should take notice of their colleagues' editorial judgement.