'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Saturday 9 February 2013

Whatever are the Eastleigh Tories playing at...?

Ok. We have our candidate. Good luck to Mike Thornton. We're all in #teammike now.

But why on earth have the Tories gone for Maria Hutchings?

She lost last time and in the process saw a Lib Dem majority go from just over 500 to just over 3000.

More to the point, she's a loose canon on the right of the Tory party who it would seem, if she were to win (which she won't), will give David Cameron all manner of trouble. She sounds like another Nadine. This report of her behaviour on day one of official campaigning is extraordinary.

But more weirdly -there's no obvious threat from UKIP to to the Tories in the constituency. The UKIP share of vote in Eastleigh in 2010 matched pretty much their national share - This is no UKIP enclave in the making - which is clearly why Farage has passed. 

So no need to pick a tea party type candidate to ward off UKIP here.

More to the point, surely the Tories best chance of winning in Eastleigh is to win over disaffected Lib Dems. Maria Hutchings, I would suggest, is  more likely to send them the other way.

Ultimately I expect the choice of Maria Hutchings says more about the local Conservative selection committee - in the previous two elections to 2010, their candidate was...Conor Burns - than it does about some considered analysis of the type of candidate that would help them win in Eastleigh.

Personally i'm delighted they picked her. She seems very, very beatable....


  1. I do agree that Maria Hutchings is probably the wrong candidate, and Eastleigh Tories have been a shambles for years. They've only done well when they've brought in organisation from outside. However, it's worth noting that although UKIP haven't done well in elections in Eastleigh they have been standing council candidates locally for at least 10 years which suggests some organisation and they usually push Labour in to 4th place in the majority of wards.

    1. Yes, today's MoS poll does suggest they are more than a threat than I gave them credit for yesterday (see today's post) - but she is still an odd candidate to pick.

  2. a Lib Dem victory will help Cameron in his battles then too.

    1. Maybe - but i think you'll find Cameron is all out to win this!