George Osborne has given an interview to the GMTV Sunday Programme in which he talks openly about approaches he has made to LibDem AND Labour MPs, urging them to cross the floor. I'm not sure how wise this is. The David Laws incident is well known but it is the first time he has confirmed that Labour MPs have been approached. I suppose Kate Hoey and Frank Field would have been the obvious targets. Here's the extract...
Gloria del Piero:
There were rumours that you asked David Laws to join the Tories and said he could get a Shadow Cabinet post. Clear that one up for us…
George Osborne: Well it was a private conversation between the two of us and only one person went and told the press about it, I guess, because it wasn’t me, so you’d better go and get David Laws on your programme and he will tell you. Or maybe he won’t.
Gloria del Piero: What were the consequences of that conversation?
George Osborne: He’s still a Liberal Democrat MP.
Gloria del Piero: Do you wish he wasn’t?
George Osborne: We are a big tent. We welcome in people from across the political spectrum. We’ve got councillors who have switched over to us and there’s a real sense at the moment that the excitement is with us, that people are coming to join us. In my own local area people are coming to join my local party. And you know there are quite a lot of ideological soulmates out there who say ‘Well hold on, actually the Conservative party are the future and actually this lot have had their go and they’re the past.’
Gloria del Piero: So are you and your colleagues talking to other Liberal Democrats?
George Osborne: We talk to lots of people. Labour MPs are well.
Gloria del Piero: You’re talking to Labour MPs?
George Osborne: Let me just tell you, let me just tell you, I’m not sure I can promise you that on GMTV we would reveal any defections first, but I promise you I will certainly come on this programme if we get anyone defecting.
Gloria del Piero: But are you telling me that you’ve had conversations with Labour MPs
George Osborne: Well, I’ve had conversations with Labour MPs and Liberal Democrats but no-one yet has taken the bait.
So to all the Tories who are reading this, which Labour & LibDem MPs would you feel comfortable welcoming into the Conservative Party?
UPDATE FROM PA: "David Cameron today launched a bid to woo Liberal Democrat voters, telling them there is a home for them in his "modern, moderate Conservative Party". Accusing Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of causing a breakdown in trust in politics, the Tory leader called for Liberal and Conservative supporters to "rally together behind an alternative government-in-waiting". And he said the time was right for a "new Liberal-Conservative consensus" combining individual freedom and social responsibility.
Needless to say, David clearly wasn't especially enthralled by Gideon the Gimp's offer.
Con. candidates in these seats now dead in the water.Did noone learn anything from Yeovil or is this all another jolly jape?
Another winner from boy george!
'So to all the Tories who are reading this, which Labour & LibDem MPs would you feel comfortable welcoming into the Conservative Party?'
No-one who isn't a Tory to say anything then?
horrified onlookers of the degradation wrought by NuLabour?
young single people starting out in their first jobs?
people who have hankies?
please take hoey and field - we don't want them!
I can confirm that Taunton MP J Browne (LD) is actively considering his options and is in talks with the local Conservative Association
Anon 1.14pm - Bollocks.
We could try and get that david milliband: he's the wayne rooney of politics don't ya know.
I just had to delete the last comment because it contained a personal phone number.
The phone number was of a Conservative Constiuency Office not a personal phone number!!!!! And the point was very valid!
Well, repost it if you like, but it read as if it was a personal phone number.
As anyone who knows anything about these things will tell you, the first rule of a defection is you tell nobody until you tell everybody. Hence we can assume nobody is interested in joining the Tories and probably surmise that the conversation went like this:
Osborne: "Come and join us."
Party in the 2nd degree: "No"
Party in the second degree: "What bit of no did you expensive private education not teach you about?"
Later... Osborne phones Dale and says "it's not working, but spin some old rubbish anyway."
Dale "your wish is my command, oh master. Can I have a seat now, please."
Jeremey Browne Taunton MP (LD) has been in correspondence with the Tories re a defection, this was reported last year in the press and subsequently denied, the then sticking point was the Iraq war. He again is in correspondence both with CCHq and the local Constituency Chairman David Back (for confirmation a phone call to Taunton Conservative Office - phone number in the Phone Book!!!). The now sticking point is that the Taunton PPC for the Conservatives, Mark Formosa, is a choice of Cameron but CCHq would still prefer the defection even if it dumps on one of their own.
Yup, uncanny, that's exactly what happened. How did you know? Am I bugged? Such insight. Such wit.
Think they'd all be well advised to watch Dispatches Ch4 8pm Monday before they make their non jump.
If you can't beat them get them to join you,makes sense,and it is the only way your nasty little crowd will regain power.
Simon Hughes and Frank Field, you can keep the rest.
"Gloria del Piero: Do you wish he wasn’t?
George Osborne: We are a big tent. We welcome in people from across the political spectrum blah blah blah."
JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION, YES OR NO.
And politicians wonder why they are hated.
Browne is dead meat and should follow the Daisy train to ITN.
What is it with ex LD HQ press people?
We welcome in people from across the political spectrum
I'm a big admirer of GOs but that is is a silly comment. Of course we don't welcome people from across the spectrum. We welcome people who realise they're in the wrong party
Orange bookers like Keith Vaizey.
I thought he and his crew have been in the wrong party for the last 10 years......I would like to defect to the OldTory Party.....
Bring me dead NuLab scum not deserters, they are shot at dawn.....
This is the sort of thing that if there were a real chance of it happening it would be sensible to keep quiet until the day. I assume those talking know this.
Hope Eton Dave will read the history of Heath running after Thorpe in the 70's before he goes too far.
I did detect a mood of "stuff them" from Kate Hoey during the £20.12bln (c) debate.
I'd welcome all of the "usual suspects":
casting the net out rather ( very unrealistically) further and wider, it'd be good to get a one or two of these too:
anyone with a bit of integrity really
I was long ago told (by someone with good reason to know) that Frank Field belongs in a different party from the Labour party - the Frank Field party.
I cannot for the life of me see why any of the Orange Book Lib Dems are hesitating; it should be stark staring obvious for their own political survival and to help cement the Cameron changes in the Conservative party that they should be defecting. Whether the dry-as-dust right wingers would welcome that is another matter entirely.
I can't see many Labour MPs for whom it would make sense to defect, nor many whom it would make sense for the Tories to accept.
If Browne was to defect to the Tories and make a good argument in his local area as to why it could make a massive difference to the political makeup of the West Country. Somerset County Council could go blue, it is too early to be talking about the death of the Lib Dems?
I'd take Frank Field, Kate Hoey and probably John Denham too. Can't say I'm interested in any of the Lib Dems at all.
Integrity and Oaten aren't happy bedfellows are they?
Take Liberal Democrats?
You must be joking
Genuine change of heart - great. Back on the streets and work for ten years and we might believe you.
Opportunistic power-hungry creeps who have finally realised they are never getting into power with their own Party and want to broker their way into safe seats?
Reality Check - They aren't Tory so why would we want them? We have got too many SDP second-raters in the Party already.
You can have Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers, Hilary Armstrong and Tessa Jowell. Charles Clarke you can have for free.
One thing - can we have Boris Johnson in return. Just for fun, really.
What about Peter Mandelson?
I'd be quite happy for you to help yourselves to Chris Davies and Jenny Tonge.
Their views may bear no resemblance whatsoever to conservatism - but as far as I'm concerned, they have nothing to do with liberalism either!
I'm sure Shaun Woodward is ready to do another 'Churchill'.
Frank Field and Kate Hoey are 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.
Keith Vaizey would be my choice too. He's popular and well known.
Frank Field and Kate Hoey are the obvious ones :¬)
I think they can probably keep Dennis Skinner, but then if we go any further to the left...
Kate Hoey without a doubt, who is full of common sense, and was the best Sports Minister ever (sadly replaced by that know-nothing-about-sports twit Caborn when she bravely stood up for the many thousands of innocent law abiding target pistol shooter who lost their sport for nothing)
Everytime I consider defecting (and I consider it regularly), something stops me. The Tories just aren't socially liberal enough.
When are you going to commit to letting people make their own decisions about their own lives? Will you reverse the smoking ban? Will you legalise drugs? Will you cut taxes and let people choose how to spend their own money? Etc, etc, etc...
Since fair exchange is no robbery I wonder which Cons should defect to Mings team?
Whoever could it be? Of course the place for Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs Lib Dems is in party of the Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs Cameron and Osborne.
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?
Couldn't they tempt Shaun Woodward back by letting him have his old seat back ?
Osborne: We are a big tent.
More realistic: The Conservative party is too big a tent and needs to be split up in two smaller tents, that can work together afterwards. What we should have learned from John Major's government and now from Cameron is that there is a good reason why there is a lot of infighting in the Conservative Party: the distance from the left and the right side is too long. And now they want to import more Lib Dimmies? I think not.
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