It's not a good day for the LibDems. They are at their lowest poll ratings in months - 14% with Communicate Research today - and it's just been announved that three Liberal Democrats who stood in the 2005 General Election as parliamentary candidates have today joined the Conservative Party. This makes a total of six former Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates to join the Conservatives in the last 12 months.
Richard Porter stood in Camberwell and Peckham in 2005 and wrote the Liberal Democrat manifesto for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the 2005 general election. Richard said: “Ming Campbell is a ‘has-been’ and since he has been in control of the party, they have been stuck firmly in reverse gear. After the election, I took time out to reflect on my own personal beliefs and values. Previously I thought that these values were best represented by the Liberal Democrats but I now believe that the principles of freedom from state interference, personal freedom, the environment and civil liberties are all areas where the Conservative Party leads the way.
John Barstow, a shop steward for USDAW and Liberal Democrat PPC in Tonbridge and Malling in 2005 said: "I have joined the Conservative Party because I sincerely believe David Cameron is the right person to be Prime Minister. And that I am a natural Conservative in the great One Nation tradition, proudly conserving what is best and well tried and taking decisive action to eradicate black spots of despair and unemployment within the United Kingdom. The Liberal Democrats are bland, formulaic and out of touch with real life."
Dr Tariq Mahmood, a physician, consultant gastroenterologist and honorary senior lecturer at the University of London, stood in Uxbridge as the Liberal Democrat candidate in 2005. He also works as a TV presenter on the ARY Digital channel. Tariq said: “Under the leadership of David Cameron I have seen that the Party is moving forward. There is now a real possibility for the Conservative Party.
During the course of 2006 three former Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates have joined the Conservatives. Today’s recruits make seven in all, joining Adrian Childs, former Liberal Democrat candidate for West Suffolk, Jeff Clarke, former Liberal Democrat candidate for West Wirral, Rene Kinsett, former Liberal Democrat candidate for Swansea West and Tim Perkins, Salford Councillor and former LibDem Candidate for Bolton West.
UPDATE: It's 7.50pm and not a single LibDem blog has commented on this story yet. Strange, eh? Can you imagine the crowing there would be if it had been three Tory candidates going the other way?!
How about a shock exclusive that Cameron has finally seen the light and found his political spiritual home by joining the LibDems? Now that would be tidings of real comfort and joy.
The only thing that the LibDems are useful for is maintaining the status quo, in effect. In making sure neither of the main parties swerve to far to the right or to the left, because there is always a centrist party ready to capitalise on the gap they leave behind.
last month a lib dem councillor in dumfries and galloway defected to the tories. that makes 7 so far, anymore? was 2006 the year of lib dems defections?
OT but what do you think of Blair's latest in Foreign Affairs Jan/Feb 2007 ?
To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later.
The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.
Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones
This is an interesting perspective in the upcoming edition of Foreign Affairs
I just wonder why the Prime Minister of Great Britain & Northern Ireland wrote such unadulterated and ignorant bilge in an American Journal read by serious foreign policy wonks
Adrian Chiles is a brummie BBC TV presenter.
Adrian Graves is the former Liberal Democrat candidate for West Suffolk.
Unless the BBC is actually more right wing than you seem to think.
Fair play to them - if they really feel they belong in the Conservative Party, that's their choice. I'm sure they'll find a lot of very genuine liberal Tories, who care about the same issues they do. They may also come face to face with some of the most reactionary elements in the British political mainstream, and a right-wing grassroots that is becoming more and more disillusioned with the direction Cameron is going in. Personally, despite the pretty horrible year we've had, I'd far far rather stick with the Lib Dems. Things re on the up, and Ming has been a lot better behind the scenes than he has in front of the cameras. The Lib Dems need to become more professional and organised, not more flashy and image-focused.
And Iain, the poll average has been nowhere near as low as 14%. You know what they say, one swallow, an' all that ...
With all sincerity one can understand just why they are moving to the Conservatives.
Jonny Wright hit the nail on the head when he wrote.....
"The Lib Dems need to become more professional and organised, not more flashy and image-focused".
There are plenty of people in the Liberal Democrats (most of their local councillors outside the big cities, for example) who are actually Tories, but too ashamed to admit it.
Take Cumbria, 2005, for example. Lib Dems in Westmorland and Lonsdale, including Windermere county councillor Joan Stocker, help Tim Farron to see off Tim Collins by a few dozen votes. 12 hours later, Lib Dem county council group leader Joan Stocker agrees to join forces with the Tories and run the county council!
Hmmm notice the 14% for Libdems mentioned, the 1% Labour lead not mentioned. C'mon Iain be fair!
I'm sure every constituency needs people to meke the tea!
JOKE Welcome onboard
"Take Cumbria, 2005,"
The Lib Dems were in alliance with the Tories between 2001-5 as well though so people in 2005 voted Lib Dem with a reasonable knowledge of what might happen
re BJ's comments about LibDem councillors having Conservative tendencies and the reference to Cumbria: how simplistic some people are! As someone who helped see Tim Collins defeated I was a couple of weeks later happy to assist in the joint agreement with the Conservative group on Cumbria County Council to deliver for Cumbria. The rainbow option was sincerely investigated by all sides, but in the end a Con/LibDem partnership document was agreed.
This does not make me a closet Conservative any more than it makes Conservative County Councillors closet LibDems.
BJ....stop spouting nonsense!
Ian Stewart...CCC & SLDC LibDem
It's seven, Iain. You forgot Tim Perkins, former Salford Councillor and 2005 LD Candidate for Bolton West.
Richard's defection will certainly be a slap in the face for Nick Stanton, leader of Southwark's flagging Lib Dem administration. Within less than a month of one of his councillors taking a small step to the left and jumping ship to the Labour Group, one of his former henchmen now takes a much bigger stride to the left and jumps ship to the Conservatives.
With Nick having to conceed arguably his two most important portfolios, Resources and Housing, to the Conservative group, in order to retain power after the last elections, things are looking a little bleak. One wonders if Richards bold stride will egg on a few of the other dyed-in-the-wool Tories out of the closet, or rather off the Lib Dem benches, and across the floor in Southwark. Particuarly now that all seems to have been forgotten and forgiven over Section 28.
Iain, I stand corrected. Shame CCHQ forgot about him when they put out the press release!
I asked Dave last week what he was going to do if Lib Dem sitting MPs and nearly in PPCs crossed the floor. In terms of Tory selections and the Eh? list really. Probably haven't got the votes so far. But do go along to Web Cameron and support the question if you haven't picked your quota yet ...
These three defections show just how wide an audience the Conservative party now appeals to.
Still no room for the white, middle class, monogamous heterosexuals though.
Where is the Conservative Party different to the Lib Dems now?
Surely you're a bit naive to think that us LibDems would publicise such a story. We're not all that stupid you know ;)
Just as I don't expect Tory bloggers to write about defections the other way.
(unless of course someone is writing to condemn the defectors, or perhaps to try and hilight problems within the party - but I dont think either party has those levels of problems)
Re: John Barstow
My father is a long time LD living in Tonbridge and Malling. He met Barstow and was very unimpressed. He ended up spoiling his ballot paper as he found Barstow so poor a candidate. A few local LD councillors confided to my father that they also spoilt their ballot papers rather than vote for Barstow.
My mother, a true floating voter, also met Barstow and found him to be a terrible candidate. Not sure how she voted. She wanted to vote LD, but having met Barstow I am not sure she did.
Never met Barstow myself. He may be a genius. But my inkling is that he is a nobody who will never be a Tory candidate.
In many ways, when people choose to change party then this is healthy thing for democracy. If they don't feel their current party no longer matches their believes because the party has changed (particularly leadership) or if their views have changed then why not? Churchill crossed the floor at least twice to my knowledge.
It's swings and roundabouts. Same as when Emma Nicholson and Hugh Dykes joined the Lib-Dems. Long before I joined the Lib-Dems I voted Tory in 1992. But then I realised how unpleasant the party was under Major and I haven't seen much change in the last 15 years.
I would say Cameron, after 3 or so leaders, has been the best candidate you have chosen out a fairly bad bunch but as I still believe the Tory party is still xenophobic in it's views and Cameron supported the war and has a poor record of progressive voting then why should I defect?
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