Coffee House

Crispin Blunt and Reigate are fighting for the future of the Conservative Party

9 November 2013

6:09 PM

9 November 2013

6:09 PM

Senior Reigate Conservatives are trying to de-select Crispin Blunt as their MP, who lost a re-selection ballot of just 22 Executive Council members. Blunt came out as gay in 2010, which didn’t seem to bother his local electorate one jot. However, it seems that his own Association’s elite was disconcerted that he was coming to terms with his sexuality. Former Reigate Association Chairman, Tony Collinson, said that Blunt would not necessarily have been selected as a candidate if he come out before, and he was not alone. One of Blunt’s supporters, Dr Ben Mearns, has resigned from his local Conservative branch over the issue of the executive council’s treatment of Mr Blunt.

Blunt now faces a postal ballot of 500 or so local party members, the outcome of which will reveal much about the Tory modernisation plan.  The schism in Reigate is between a socially conservative executive and a more open-minded support base; a fault-line often replicated in the party across the country. It helps to explain why, for instance, on the one hand, the party leadership is committed to welcoming prospective candidates of all backgrounds but, on the other hand, minority prospective candidates don’t get a fair crack at constituency selection events without there being a strong national ‘steer’.


The expectation is that Blunt will win. It is inconceivable that a majority of party members would share the executive’s view that being gay means a candidate, however meritorious, should be snuffed out of the political process. But, the result on 18th November will have ramifications for the wider Conservative Party.

Imran Khan was a councillor in Reigate between 2008-12 and campaigns on Citizenship issues. He tweets @immikhan

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Show comments
  • andagain

    The schism in Reigate is between a socially conservative executive and a
    more open-minded support base; a fault-line often replicated in the
    party across the country.

    Really? Reading comment threads in the Conservative press generally leaves me with the impression that the Conservative support base is mmore than a little “socially conservative” itself.

  • CharlietheChump

    ” between a socially conservative executive and a more open-minded support base ”
    And what is your evidence for this?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    The Speccie does seem to find homosexuality a constant obsession. Why is that?

  • Charles Ramsden

    As a lifelong Reigate resident, I’m pleased to see our town accurately and contemporaneously shown as having just three cars, one motorbike and a horse-carriage in the High Street at about 9.30am. Clearly it is intolerable that such a traditional old place should be represented by a homosexualist.

  • NewImprovedPretendName

    Just apropos of nothing, I’m full of wonder at the rich internal lives experienced by many of the commenters down here. I’m amused and impressed.

  • Austin Barry

    Gay? Who cares?

    Three of our post-war Prime Ministers were prancing homosexuals.

    Blunt is, however, a committed Europhile and should be de-selected for that reason alone.

    • telemachus

      Heath is self evident
      But you need more evidence on Attlee and Eden

      • Harold Angryperson

        Er – I think he’s talking about “Miranda” and his somewhat dour successor…

  • Emulous

    This man is in fact Tatchell in disguise.
    Not only that but he is a Europhile and a sanctimonious brat.

    • Antonio Gramsci

      That sir is offensive to Blunt
      And more offensive to Tatchell

  • AnotherDave
    • Antonio Gramsci

      On this one point he deserves to get back in

  • Russell

    I’m surprised they have just over 2% (500 members in a population of almost 22,000) to vote for candidate selection, I thought they would have far less by now!

    • Antonio Gramsci

      Sadly, even with mega performance from the Faragians( they only got 2089 ) last time, blunt will be back

  • AnotherDave

    That’s one version.

    “The situation is being presented by CCHQ, who are in heightened pre-conference damage control mode, as local homophobic bigots are trying to unseat a liberal, gay MP making a difficult personal adjustment.

    That is not the complete picture. Blunt had a reputation as a particularly high-handed and arrogant MP even when he was in the closet.”

    • Antonio Gramsci

      Are not all Tories homophobic bigots

      • Neo_Antonio_Gramsci

        Flagged Idiot #1. Your disgusting prejudices are showing and you are beneath contempt.

        • Antonio Gramsci

          Even Cameron engineered the vote on gay marriage to produce the backlash to show all folk where Tory sentiments lie

          • Neo_Antonio_Gramsci

            Beyond contemptible you oaf Idiot #1. Trying to support your criminal assertions which have no place in a serious publication. This is of a type with your National Socialist forebears and fellow travellers who made similar claims for Jews and Gypsies. You are truly disgusting and deserve to be apprehended.

            • Antonio Gramsci

              Reasonable people like me received a 2am visit from the Geheime Staatspolizei in the regime you quote

              • Neo_Antonio_Gramsci

                You can’t weasel your way out of this one Idiot #1. It is you and your kind in the national Socialists that were behind the deaths of 100 million freedom loving democrats. How dare you come her and accuse people like me who are Tories of all being homophobic? If you said that to my face you would have a mouth full of broken teeth.

                • Antonio Gramsci

                  I on the other hand would reason with you until you understood the offensiveness of your creed

                • SimonToo

                  If you really were a Tory you would be bemused by the idea that suffering from a phobia could be seen as a term of abuse. The claustrophobic, agoraphobic, arachnophobic, homophobic : each should receive our sympathy, not be reviled. Mocking the afflicted is vile.

                  Only those of the left can contemplate reviling those suffering from mental illness. Xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobia, as terms of abuse are the cant of the political left. Curiously, though, New Labour did embrace pognophobia.

              • Tom Tom

                GO out and protect some Christians in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan then

          • Andy

            Perhaps you’re a Moron. Oh Wait ! You ARE a Moron.

          • Tom Tom

            Who cares ? It is a big dangerous world and trivia seems to have you besotted

        • NewImprovedPretendName

          I sense somebody having fun here (although at the expense of a fair amount of effort …). Anyway, we’re in a vibrant, multicultural world now, and surely there’s room for homophobic bigots along with everyone else. Anyway, it’s a while since any new letters were added to “LGBT”, so why not LGBTH? Would also make the parties more interesting.

          Edit: have just found LGBTQIA [head sinks into hands

          • Antonio Gramsci

            The reported actions of the Reigate Executive are far from a sense of someone having fun
            They are the actions of a pre 1967 Executive

            • NewImprovedPretendName

              No, I meant you and the new you conversing with each other / yourself!

            • Tom Tom

              Who cares ? He is an MP and can look after himself. Go hold is hand….

          • jazz606

            “…….. Anyway, we’re in a vibrant, multicultural world now, ……..”

            ‘Vibrant’ and ‘Multicultural’. Two words right out of the Common Purpose handbook.

            • Common Purpose

              You are corect to emphasise the outward interactive nature of Common Purpose.
              “Locally and internationally, Common Purpose graduates will be
              ‘lighting small fires’ to create change in their organisations and communities,
              which are both deeply interconnected and frustratingly fragmented. The Common
              Purpose effect is best illustrated by the many stories of small changes brought
              about by leaders, who themselves have changed. It is this individual shift,
              combined with its local nature and now its sheer scale, that makes it so
              exciting and sustaining.”

              • Colonel Mustard

                Who has mandated Common Purpose to “create change” and what “change” is being created? Why are managers charged with the duty of serving the public now being referred to as “leaders” and encouraged to “lead beyond authority”?

                Why is this supposed “charity” so secretive that the identities, “networked” aims and objectives of its unelected “alumni” are not revealed and Freedom of Information requests about them have been denied or impeded?

                Why does a supposed “charity” need to post propaganda from its own website on a politics blog apparently in conjunction with a group of prolific far-left, Labour Party supporting propagandists posting under the pseudonyms “Antonio-Gramsci” and “telemachus” to name just two?

                If the comment is a genuine public statement by the “charity” Common Purpose rather than mischief making by that group why is it anonymous? Who is the officer of the “charity” making this comment here and why? Is the posting of anonymous comments on a politics blog considered to be an integral part of “leading beyond authority”? Is the Charity Commission aware of this political dimension to the activities of this “charity”?

              • Colonel Mustard
            • NewImprovedPretendName

              A. I don’t know what the Common Purpose handbook is, and don’t really want to find out.

              B. I was taking the mick anyway.

          • SimonToo

            Surely the suffering from a phobia precludes bigotry, unless the two terms are use coincidentally rather than associatively.

            • NewImprovedPretendName

              Quite right, the word phobia is used by people who don’t know what phobia means (and they say schoolboy Greek is useless). If an unusually fearful person lives in a Christian district of Damascus, are they “Islamophobic”?

    • HookesLaw

      Weasel words. Admit it you are a bigot.

      • Wessex Man

        Hello Hooky my dear fellow, I was getting worried about you due to your absense on other threads or are you becoming more specialised in your rants?

        • HookesLaw

          Why, are you bothered?
          And lets face it the toe rag is a bigot. Such is the level the Spectator is reduced to.

          • Alexandrovich

            He’s worried because, like Hawkeye Pierce, he considers even Major Frank Burns to have some redeeming factors, deep down inside.

          • Wessex Man

            So let me get this right, is it because he’s toe rag or a bigot or is it because he’s Gay that you don’t care about the poor fellow, I don’t know, you modern Tories are so cruel. It’s never bothered the Tories in the recent past , I thought it was a requirement to be one of the three to be a member of your grand party.