Monday, 29 September 2014

To lose one MP is careless, to lose two is Reckless

AND another one has gone, this time Mark Reckless ditches the Conservatives for the loving embrace of UKIP.

The Rochester and Strood MP spirited away under the cover of darkness from Westminster to land in Doncaster and be the latest to stand up and put the Prime Minister down on a number of issues.

Timing wise, Nigel Farage has hit the jackpot again. We had the 'surprise' defection with Douglas Carswell, this time it was the 'timed' defection, 3pm Saturday afternoon, just as the Sunday papers were being put together ahead of day one of the Conservative Party Conference.

To call the party management shambolic is an understatement, chief whip Michael Gove appears to be phoning MPs up, asking if they are planning to defect and accepting it when the person (defecting or not) says no.

Where is the bullish party management of opposition? Why is no one getting on the front foot and telling these MPs it would be folly to defect and hammer home the message Cameron is on their side?

Instead the party's approach appears to be sit back, let it happen, smear the defector and laugh that 'jolly old UKIP are being little scoundrels aren't they?'.

Everytime Grant Shapps stands up and says Reckless 'lied and lied and lied' or the Prime Minister calls the move 'illogical' and 'a vote for UKIP is a vote for Ed Miliband' another wavering MP wonders whether he/she should make the leap.

Those feelings will only strengthen if, as expected, Carswell romps back to the House of Commons in UKIP colours on October 8. I imagine those feelings could be overbearing should Reckless do the same sometime in November.

A vote for UKIP is not 'a vote for Ed Miliband' per se. UKIP is rapidly becoming a comfy home for former Tories totally disenfranchised with the current Conservative Party.

If Cameron and his inner circle haven't grasped that yet, they should and quick. Because by the time the Prime Minister approaches the lectern to deliver his final speech to the party before the General Election next year, he may of lost another MP.

The 'maximum impact' defection....

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