Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tory Central Office in a Spin..............

Well, Bedford may be the centre of the universe, but this evening it may well be the seedbed of the demise of the Tory facade of being electable. News comes to me from a very reliable source that one Cllr Peter Hand, lately of Nadine Dorries office, has resigned as a councillor on both the County and Borough. Not only that, but he has set in motion a domino effect. Two more candidates have resigned and others are due to follow.

This is serious, not only for the Tories locally, but it could cause national embarrassment, hence my intelligence that Central Office is already involved. The word on the street is that activists and candidates are a tad peed off with their candidate Richard Fuller. Now, it is not unusual for MPs to represent constituencies they don't live in. Some live relatively near, 10, 20 miles, others rather further away......Richard Fuller has taken virtual representation to the nenth degree, he thinks he can represent Bedford from.....New York! I am not sure if this is the underlying issue for Bedford Tories. I actually get along with Richard rather well, he is always charming, chivalrous and engaging, so I have to admit to being rather surprised that he has allegedly become unpopular with his own kin. This turn of events is even more surprising given the formidable current leader of the Tories on Bedford Borough, Nicky (she who must be obeyed) Attenborough. Now for Nicky to lose control so spectacularly is astounding and paves the way for us to be the largest group on the new unitary authority in June.

It has to be confessed that Peter Hand, along with Andrew McConnell, is one of my "Tory Boys" - I may not share his politics, but I like him enormously. So, despite that fact that I have no truck with the Tories, I think they have shot themselves in both feet by peeing off such a talented and promising young man. This exposes the fault lines in the party in Bedford.........but I am very sure these fault lines extend far beyond Bedford.



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Come now! Are the Tories really supposed to be worried if Mad Nad's acolytes are deserting?

I expect they'd be rather pleased, especially if it were followed by the exit of Empress Maud herself, stage very very right.

Anonymous said...

Linda,

Do you think Richard Fuller will get the hint and stand down?

stephen cardwell said...

According to today's Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper, things are going from bad to worse in Bedford:

Fall-out from Tory crisis talks
BY SIMON HUTCHINSON

Heated meetings, resignations, sackings - just another week of Tory turmoil.

Yet another two candidates will not be seeking election to the new unitary council in June.

Cllr Mollie Foster who represents Clapham Ward, and Cllr Tom Ashby, who represents Bromham on Bedford Borough Council have both confirmed that they will not be seeking re-election.

This brings the total number of Tories who have either been de-selected or have decided to call it a day to ten out of 20 councillors.

The latest names join a list which already includes, Cllrs Nigel Sparrow, Barry Huckle, Peter Hand, Jas Parmar, Robert Harrison, Michael Hurley, Tarsem Paul and John Tait.

Earlier in the week it also emerged that two candidates previously selected to contest Putnoe and Queens Park - former borough councillor Ralph Hall and Tariq Mahmood respectively - have informed the Chairman of the Bedford & Kempston Conservative Association, John Watson, they will also not be seeking election.

Last Saturday Tory big wigs held crisis talks in Bedford to discuss the worsening situation with MPs Alistair Burt and Nadine Dorries meeting the Chairman of the three local Conservative Associations and parliamentary candidate for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller.

The meeting became very heated at one stage according to some Tories who were present.

Another incident this week saw Brickhill councillor Andrew McConnell being removed as a member of the scrutiny committee and replaced by Cllr Sparrow.

One Tory insider said: "We hoped that following the new year things would settle down and we could regain some momentum, but unfortunately they have only got worse.

"There's a real lack of focus locally and there are major concerns that we won't be able to find enough candidates, to fight all the seats we need to.

"If things carry on as they are, we could go from being the largest group on the council to a small rump of barely eight councillors with very little say or influence."

Another Tory said: "Our candidates and councillors are dropping like flies, morale is very low among the candidates and activists and there is a real sense of disillusionment with the weak and ineffective leadership at the top of the group.

"Things are likely to get much worse before they get better and I know of at least three more candidates who are very unhappy and considering whether it's going to be worth standing or not. There is even talk that a senior member may be considering a high-profile defection to the Lib Dems."

Here is the link: http://www.bedsonsunday.com/bedsonsunday-news/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=382071

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