Baldwin thinks it a scandal that 28 - yes, all of 28 - Tory candidates are in some way involved in the world of public affairs and lobbying. Here's the intro to his "story"...
Dozens of Conservative parliamentary candidates are working in the lobbying industry that seeks to influence their party’s leadership.
Dozens? Well, strictly speaking 28 does include more than one dozen. But quite why this should be a front page story is something I will leave to The Times editor to justify. If lobbying were illegal, there might be a point to it, but it isn't. And if any of the 28 were being secretive about their employment, the prominence given to the story might be understandable. But so far as I can see, all those working for consultants declare their employment through the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) and in turn declare who their clients are. And the fact is that many Labour and LibDem PPCs also work in the same line of work.
The implication of the Times article is that candidates should be banned from working in public affairs. And according to Baldwin there is something deeply fishy in the fact that selected candidates do end up in public affairs. He writes...
More than a quarter got their jobs after being selected to fight seats.
So that would be a total of, er, 8. The reason that people do seek work in public affairs after they are selected is that they often find it difficult to find a job where there is an understanding that they need to spend one or two days a week in their constituencies. So when people get selected they often give up a 5 day a week job for a 3-4 day a week job in lobbying as they know that public affairs consultants will understand why they need to do that. There's nothing sinister in it, as long as it is all transparent.
What really gets me, though, is the implication that it is really only Conservatives who do this. Baldwin writes...
Only seven Labour and three Liberal Democrat prospective candidates with realistic hopes of victory have jobs in public affairs or communications.
That is something which is so patently wrong as to defy belief. But of course he doesn't define what "realistic hopes" means. If he looked at the Top 100 Labour, Tory & LibDem marginals he'd get a very different picture. It is probably the case that Baldwin has probably analysed the Top 150 most likely Tory wins, but only looked at a couple of dozen Labour seats and fewer LibDem seats.
Perhaps my readers might like to help identify Labour & LibDem PPCs who work in public affairs, so we can see just how accurate Baldwin's claims are.