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Tories yet to select candidates to fight Lib Dem top dogs

20 January 2014

5:03 PM

20 January 2014

5:03 PM

The Tories have always denied rumours that they might give their coalition colleagues an easier ride at constituency level in the 2015 general election. But even though all three parties are very much on an election war footing now, the Conservatives have, strangely, yet to select candidates to fight two of their favourite ministers. The constituencies for Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander currently have no candidates, along with 28 others (including MPs the Tories aren’t quite so keen on working with in Coalition, such as Lynne Featherstone), while the other 27 have candidates in place. Alexander is easy to work with in the Treasury (I reported before Christmas that he’d been scolded by Lib Dem high command for using the Tory term ‘global race’). But the Conservatives have selected a candidate to fight Tory-friendly ex-minister Jeremy Browne in Taunton Deane, so clearly there are no plans for a National Liberal Party just yet…

Is this an informal way of keeping the heat off ministers who would work well in a second coalition for as long as possible? The later a candidate is selected, the smaller the opportunity they have to make an impact. It’s worth noting that Clegg and Alexander all have sizeable majorities of 15,284 and 8,765 respectively, so they’re not exactly key battlegrounds for the party. Similarly, while Jo Swinson’s East Dunbartonshire seat has a small majority of 2,184, the Conservatives are in third place, which might explain why her seat doesn’t yet have a Tory candidate. The party still has many candidacies to fill. But a mischievous observer might also wonder whether there’s another, more convivial, reason that some Lib Dem top dogs don’t have a keen young candidate breathing down their necks just yet.

Update, 17:10: Work and Pensions minister Steve Webb’s constituency is not named on the list of candidates supplied by CCHQ, but it turns out that they did in fact select a candidate for his seat in late December. But a Tory source insists to me that ‘we will be selecting candidates for every single seat including some key Lib Dem marginal seats’.

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Show comments
  • Mynydd

    Could it be that the Conservative Party have run out of candidates.

  • AnotherDave

    The Conservatives are reported to be targeting 20 LD seats.

    One of the polite fictions of our parliament is that every seat is contested by the main parties. The truth is that most parliamentary seats are safe seats, and the only election contest is that fought in ~100ish marginals.

    If we had candidate selection by open primary, and contested primaries for sitting MPs, the MPs would be much more responsive to the wishes of the voters they’re supposed to represent.

    http://youtu.be/6SD3M5aMYzU

  • Andy Dowland

    Not really seeing any reason for the Tories not to select for Sheffield Hallam. Last election Labour only got 16% of the vote. In the 2012 locals for the wards making up Sheffield Hallam Lib Dems were still comfortably ahead of Labour 39% to 23% and Clegg’s personal polling hasn’t got any worse in the last 18 months. If the Conservatives did select a very capable candidate they probably wouldn’t win but there’s no danger of splitting the centre to centre-right vote and letting Labour in.

    • saffrin

      UKIP will get Shefield. As will they every other constituency where EU immigration rules have put thousands on the scrap heap.
      Don’t forget, most northern towns vote Lab/LibDem because they ain’t Tory.
      Northern voting is all about who is better placed to keep/get the Tories out and little else.

    • crosscop

      If UKIP’s campaign includes highlighting Clegg’s deceitful misquote of the Koran’s Surra 5:32 after Lee Rigby was murdered then they could easily take his seat. The people of Sheffield should be made aware that this man is prepared to stand before the nation and doctor a verse that actually justifies the murder in order to make it appear that it does the opposite. And ignoring the very next verse – which justifies the killing, crucifixion and mutilation of people like Lee Rigby – is another example of this shameful deceit.

  • telemachus

    As Rennardgate shows no-one needs to worry about fighting the LibDems
    They just love fighting each other

    • Geronimo von Huxley

      …and oddly gaining immense credibility in the process.

      • AnotherDave

        Oh, you are a hoot! 🙂

        • Geronimo von Huxley

          Everyone will understand that LibDem support is at rock bottom. They are attempting to get out of that ditch. Rennard is their ticket, that chap is history.
          Will merely expressing this kind of analysis make me side with the LibDem cause? How?

      • saffrin

        You think? They just make me laugh all the harder.
        Only a feminist would give their current pointless spat any credibility.

  • telemachus

    As Rennardgate shows no-one needs to worry about fighting the LibDems
    They just love fighting each other

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