Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Labour Shame Over Crewe & Nantwich By-Election

I can hardly believe this. Gwyneth Dunwoody hasn't even been buried yet, but the Labour whips are tabling the writ for the Crewe & Nantwich by-election tomorrow, and it will be held on May 22nd. Gwyneth's funeral isn't until next Thursday, 8 May. It's unprecedented to call a by election before the funeral of the previous MP has taken place. So without a thought for the feelings of her family or many of her friends, Labour election strategists are playing politics by trying to get the by-election over and done with as soon as possible. How contemptible. Hopefully they will pay the penalty.


Anonymous said...

Shame, she was a woman who merited respect - even from her political opponents.

Labour's spin machine even got a message delivered hot-foot to the Daily Politics programme from the Chief Whips office to blacken the Hoey action. Carefully timed or just desperate?

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it they are also so concerned with the huge personal vote GD had in an area which could well swing Tory, they are considering her daughter as their candidate.

Anonymous said...

I don't see your point. It is an elected post and it is vacant. Once the previous incumbent has moved on, then what is the point of delaying? Contrary to the views of many long standing MPs, they don't own their seats. Would an employer delay advertising for an open position in similar circumstances?

Anonymous said...

Barrister Edward ‘Brogue’ Timpson is the Tory candidate.

Local Tories have done well in Crewe Nantwich, but not well enough for the shoe heir to win the seat.

Labour to hold.

Anonymous said...

from the Guardian:

The Dunwoody family said: "We fully support the decision to begin the process of electing a new MP for Crewe and Nantwich. Our mother proudly represented this constituency for 34 years and would not want to see local people go without an MP.

"She worked tirelessly for local people and recognised there was always more to do. She would want that job of work to continue as quickly as possible."

why so long to bury her?

Anonymous said...

Don't get too worked up Dale. Just what is respecting the dead? Having recently lost my mother I can't give you a sensible answer to that question but I know life has to go on.

Anonymous said...

Typical display of desperation from you, Dale.

Anonymous said...

Even if she had been the most anonymous and useless MP in the Commons (and she wasn't by a very long way - and I say that as a Conservative), common decency would have ensured that she was buried before the writ was moved. THAT, of course, is the point - common decency appears to have no place in this government. I doubt Geoff Hoon even understands the phrase.

This could, however, be a major cock-up by the Whips Office. It puts the by-election just three weeks after the locals. Bearing in mind that all the new Cheshire unitary authorities are up for grabs (and we know what Gwyneth Dunwoody thought of those!), and if Labour get slaughtered (as is not inconceivable), just which Labour activists are going to have the enthusiasm to get out on the doorsteps again?

Anonymous said...

Before he became PM, I really didn't have Gordon Brown down as the kind of person I now believe him to be. This is cold-hearted.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7.13
I have no doubt that Gwyneth would want her daughter to take over from her. Equally, I am sure that Tamsin would put herself forward knowing that it would be what her mum would want. It is up to the rest of us to hold back and be respectful and give Tamsin some time to grieve before jumping in with both feet.

Windsor Tripehound said...

If only noolabor could organise the Treasury as well as it does its blogging trolls perhaps our economy would be in better shape

Anonymous said...

Where is the Tory Rennard? Labour to hold.

Oscar Miller said...

"Give Tamsin some time to grieve"? - err isn't that exactly what Labour aren't doing? The whole thing smacks of desperation. And to think Gordon Brown made out he didn't fight for the Labour leadership in '94 because he was still grieving over the death of John Smith. What a hypocrite that man is.

Anonymous said...

Iain, surely you can't seriously be expressing concern about this? All parties would act in this manner to maximise political advantage.

The idea the Tories never timed by-elections to suit themselves is laughable.

Try and maintain some balance in your commentary!

Iain Dale said...

James, sorry, but you are way off beam here. This is the first time I can ever recall a party calling a by election before a funeral has taken place. Go on, prove me wrong. Not all politicians are the same. Some have respect. Others don't.

David Boothroyd said...

Gwyneth Dunwoody died on 17 April, so it does seem a relatively long delay until her funeral on 8 May. The gap of 35 days between the death of the previous member and a byelection is not long in historical terms. Just as an example, here are the MPs who died in 1920, and the dates of the byelections:

Sir John McCallum (Paisley) died 10/1/20: Byelection 12/2/20 (33 days later)
Spencer Hughes (Stockport) died 22/2/20: Byelection 27/3/20 (35 days later)
James Rowlands (Dartford) died 1/3/20: Byelection 27/3/20 (26 days later)
Henry Brackenbury (Louth) died 28/4/20: Byelection 3/6/20 (36 days later)
Sir William Griggs (Ilford) died 11/8/20: Byelection 25/9/20 (45 days later)
Gustavus Talbot (Hemel Hempstead) died 16/10/20: Unopposed byelection 9/11/20 (24 days later)
Charles Palmer (The Wrekin) died 25/10/20: Byelection 20/11/20 (26 days later)

Anonymous said...

It's fairly simple Iain,

The funeral is some time of because it's being held in London at the family's wishes, so that parliamentarians and others can attend. It takes a bit of time to arrange such a thing. If the family are happy, which they claim to be, with the date, then you're just playing punch and judy politics, where the Whips are not.

Iain Dale said...

David, with respect, that's hardly the point. You know more about by elections than me. Can you recall any instance of the writ being moved before the funeral?

Anonymous said...

If Gwyneth's family supports this move,then why should anyone else object? Maybe Iain is upset that his views weren't taken into account?

Iain Dale said...

When a Labour MP starts commenting on this blog you know they're in trouble.

My views? I don't have any views on this apart from respecting a tradition which every political party has held to that by elections are not called until the funeral is over.

Why the rush?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

Good try Tom.

Anonymous said...

What shoddy treatment of such a long serving and well respected MP and her family.

Whatever the family say in public, they must be as shocked at the labour party's insentitvity as Gwyneth would have been if such disrespect had been shown to a deceased Labour colleague - and by the messages of desperation this will send out.

Anonymous said...


did you write this:


Anonymous said...

Someone agrees with you Ian

‘We all know he is stubborn, but now he is looking stupid’ said one bitter Labour MP.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

David Boothroyd quotes from the 1920s - what does that say, how desparate!

Calling an election before the funeral is about as low as Labour could possibly get.

I cannot understand how they dare show their faces sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I am sure David and others will be very interested in this story from Guildo. How shameful are Labour these days exactly>


Anonymous said...

If the family are encouraing the by election let them have it when they want.

Anonymous said...

What pathetic dribble to try and exert political spin over the date of the by-election and whip up false outrage.
Yhe people of Crewe and Nantwich are entitled to have an MP elected as soon as possible. Any MP will tell you that their case files do not go on hold, people need help all the time.
Shame on you for this cynical spinning, taking advantage of a death in this way.

Unknown said...

Iain, this is complete rubbish as others have said. You wrote "without a thought for the feelings of her family..." which is completely untrue as it was done only after consulting the family and with their full support. And yes, the people of Crewe and Nantwich do deserve to actually have someone representing and helping them as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

My name is Paul Thorogood and I'm the candidate for the Cut Tax On Petrol And Diesel party and I'm standing in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

To the voters of Crewe and Nantwich: You are about to make history. Thursday's by-election is effectively the first referendum in the UK on whether the Government should Cut Tax On Petrol And Diesel.
1. Like me you are probably sick and tired of paying so much for petrol. The Government blames the high prices on the state of the world oil markets but the fact is that for every £1 spent at the fuel pump about 70p is tax. We pay the highest taxes on fuel in Europe. If the Government had the political will they could reduce the terrible burden now faced by low income families, OAPs, the disabled, anyone who needs their car to get to work and the British haulage industry.

2. Every time the voters of Crewe and Nantwich go to a petrol station to fill up their cars between now and the election they’ll be reminded about why I’m standing as a candidate.

3. A vote for me is a chance to bloody the nose of the Labour Party over the terrible way they are handling the economy – especially taxation and spending. The 10p tax band debacle just being another example.

4. I want VAT abolished on fuel as it is effectively a tax on a tax and I want the current tax on diesel (57p per litre) and petrol (about 50p per litre) halved so it is in line with the average fuel duty in Europe.

5. I often get asked how can the Government afford it? But you are asking the wrong question. What you should be asking is how can low-income families, OAPs and hauliers afford the prices being demanded at the pumps?

6. Another argument I often hear is if the Government doesn’t take revenue from fuel, they’ll need to take it from somewhere else. WRONG! This Government has wasted billions over the last ten years including £12.4billion on the infamous NHS computers that never worked , £2.35billion on tarting up the MoD's London HQ, £2.3billion on consultants to tell civil servants how to do their jobs and the £3.3billion the military presence in Iraq costs every year.

7. They’re about to waste £10billion on the identity card scheme and £30billion on the replacement of the Trident missile system. Also much has been swallowed up in bureaucracy, with costly and often pointless managers, boards and quangos creating and chasing artificial targets.

8. Blockades don't work. The ballot box does. Vote for PAUL THOROGOOD. The UK is counting on you - don't waste this chance. It's over to you...