Coffee House

James Clappison didn’t stand down: his association pushed him

4 July 2014

12:42 PM

4 July 2014

12:42 PM

There is a fair bit of excitement in Westminster today that Boris Johnson could take over the Hertsmere seat of James Clappison now that the Tory MP has announced he is standing down at the 2015 election.

But one thing that this announcement misses is that Clappison has not voluntarily stood aside. MPs are being told to stick to his statement, in which he said:

‘By May 2015, I will however have served as a Member of Parliament for a full 23 years: a generation of time. It is difficult letting go but I do feel now is the time to move on. There is a world elsewhere.’


But many parliamentarians know that the truth is that Clappison was not re-adopted by his association, who want a different candidate. This is different to being de-selected, as with Tim Yeo and Anne McIntosh, and Clappison was able to say that he is leaving, rather than there being an ugly scene in which he was ousted. But colleagues in Parliament say he would have stayed if he could. If the association is looking for a high-profile MP, Boris would be a pretty ideal one to go for, although he would be quite a culture shock from the quietly hardworking Clappison, who is an old-school constituency MP.

The association and councillors have not responded to requests for comment on this story, and when contacted by Coffee House, Clappison said he couldn’t add anything further to his statement but that he will continue in his capacity as an MP right up to the general election.

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Show comments
  • FrankS2

    Boris for Borehamwood? Love it!

  • Jaygee

    Who says we want the Bafoon Boris in Herts. And what’s worse he thinks he’s Prime Minister material – he’s the laughing stock of the world!

  • Mynydd

    Note from No 10
    A school friend from Eton requires a safe seat, if you go now I’ll line up six directorships, if not I’ll send in my attack dogs.

    • John Clegg

      No, it doesn’t work like that. What has been promised is a nice fat seat in the House of Lords. The directorships, or some of them. will come along automatically.

      I’m afraid to say that our democracy isn’t working too well at the moment. What with massive postal voting fraud, cronyism and favoured candidates parachuted in from outside the constituency. Couple that with the main parties (LibLabCons) having such similar policies and the EU passing most of our laws nowadays it’s a wonder that any of us bother to vote at all.

  • matt

    Boris may indeed manage to manipulate his way into this, or another, safe seat. The task though is most certainly to prevent him, as just another leftish Bullingdon posh boy, from succeeding David Cameron as party leader since he would be an even bigger disaster for actual conservatives, and massive boost to UKI,P than Cameron has been, and that is saying something.

  • Frank

    Heavens, why do you journalists have to keep assuming that anyone anywhere wants Boris to represent them in Westminster. Does this constituency really want another fat bumbling ex-Bullingdon tory who shags anything he can get his hands on and favours increased immigration?

    • Conway

      Plus he wants Turkey to be a member of the EU.

    • The Masked Marvel

      How much say do the people actually being represented have, reallly?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Go Boris. Boris and Nigel are the only politicians I like.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “But many parliamentarians know that the truth is that Clappison was not
    re-adopted by his association, who want a different candidate.”

    I suppose one has to ask whether that was an idea which arose spontaneously
    within the local association or one which was implanted from outside.

    • dado_trunking

      .. and we will forever keep guessing, won’t we.

      Unless of course we came to grasp the extent to which the current system of fielding campaigners, selecting a candidate and then electing a representative are exposed for their fundamental flaws.
      Some muppets like that EU establishment stooge Dan Hannan or that ring wing nutjob Rees-Mogg even call for ‘pacts’ now. Can you believe it? I mean – how better to undermine the ideal of majority representation. Only fascists would dare and come up with a suggestion like it, exposing nothing but their evident self-interest.

      • Conway

        I can only speak for the UKIP selection process, but those candidates who have passed assessment tests can apply to the constituency branch to take part in a hustings where the members vote on which of the candidates they want to adopt. Seems reasonable to me.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Hannan an EU establishment stooge? How do you work that out?

        • dado_trunking

          … couldn’t think of a better swear word then.

  • Paul Tinnion

    Not fair to say he hasn’t done anything. He was quite a good non-ideological housing minister, I recall.

  • Otto von Bismarck

    This only furthers the case for open primaries, like in the US and various other countries. It should be the voters who decide what kind of MP they want, rather than having to choose from a handful of careerists parachuted in by their party leaderships and rubber stamped by the local association.

  • Paul Tinnion

    Not fair to say he hasn’t done anything. He was quite a good non-ideological housing minister, I recall.

    • Colin56

      Being a minister doesn’t necessarily mean that he achieved anything. Most of them don’t, and there’s a good case to be made for reducing the ministerial ranks by 90%, if only we didn’t have to keep the rank and file happy with the promise of non jobs (but with real, taxpayer-funded salaries, cars and other costs). So, now we have to add his ministerial salary, car and on-costs to the sums in my earlier post on this thread as well. I rest my case.

  • Colin56

    The trouble with Clappison, and others like him – are you listening Mr Clifton-Brown MP? – is that he actually hasn’t done anything for 23 years. That’s 23 x annual salary, pension contributions, expenses, allowances and all the rest of the pay ‘n’ rations that go with the ‘job’. Probably a total of several millions of taxpayers’ money over the years. Anyone in a commercial or private sector setting who had failed to make an impact over that period of time and at that level of cost would be shown the door sharpish. Maybe the selection committee of Hertsmere might like to set some performance targets in an open and transparent way so that their next MP knows what is expected of them and can set out how they would plan, if elected, to deliver.

    • DavidL

      It could be argued that there is much to recommend in a politician who hasn’t done anything for 23 years. King Log anyone?

  • Adam Carter

    OK, get Boris the buffoon in.
    Expose him as a comic turn, good for some light entertainment, but not a man you want at the highest levels taking difficult decisions when, quite often, none of the options are really desirable.
    That is what Prime Ministers have to do.
    Let’s get Boris as a candidate, and perhaps as an MP, throw the spotlight on him and eliminate him from any future leadership race.
    (Other, different, opinions exist.)

  • dado_trunking

    Another ‘representative’ of the electorate is to be parachuted in?
    Oh how we love this FPTP Banana Monarchic democracy.

    • HookesLaw

      Cobble together the deposit and stand somewhere yourself.
      Otherwise shut up.

    • Steve Lloyd

      Another seat for UKIP.

      • dado_trunking

        I count one two three four … start again
        I count one two three … start again
        I count one two … start again
        I give up.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I wish you would give up and stop wasting taxpayers money with your drip-drip attempt to undermine our electoral system on behalf of the EU. We had the referendum on FPTP. You lost by more than 2 to 1. Now belt up.

          • dado_trunking

            I lost? What did I lose? I am not aware of any loss.

            We did not have a referendum on FPTP. You liar.
            We had a lacklustre piffle about AV.
            Acknowledge the difference.

            I am not undermining our electorial system. You liar.
            I am exposing those fascists who are using self-interest and pacts as a means to undermine our democracy even further.
            Acknowledge the difference.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Ha ha! Wooooeeeee! Yeah, that gets down to it. Your mask slips and you start frothing when confronted with the truth you bogus freak.

              • dado_trunking

                My mask slips to reveal a froth of whipped cream giving you back your gobby tuppence’s worth.

                • Colonel Mustard


                • dado_trunking

                  yum yum, boy.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Weaker still.

    • Mynydd

      No one will be parachuted in. The local conservative party association will have all of two hours to select from Mr Cameron’s ‘A list’ headed by a man from London, a lady from the manor, a son of a Lord, and six representatives of donors. Parachute who needs a parachute when Mr Cameron is on the case.

  • jatrius

    Please distinguish between de-selection in an open contest, and a failure to be re-adopted as a candidate for the selection process whilst a sitting MP. Sounds like de-selection to me. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…..

    • MrsDBliss

      Shabby way to treat someone of that length of service. It sounds like it will be a safe seat, something that the serving mp would have contributed to.

      • madasafish

        Yes: we should revere MPs with long service who achieve nothing but spend our money.

        After all, taxes are levied to keep them in the style we are not accustomed to, so they can do nothing…

      • Conway

        What exactly has he done that is positive during his “long service”? It’s a genuine question because I don’t come from his constituency.

        • Pat Baker

          He has done more than you will ever do.