News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It was a one horse race again (Beaumont edition)

Last Sunday, Shepway Lib Dems selected their parliamentary candidate for the 2010 General Election - Lynne Beaumont. The result wasn't an overwhelming surprise, given that she was the only candidate, but will she stay the course until the election - as the third Lib Dem candidate to be selected since the last election, and the second to be acclaimed. Given that the election is likely to be held by May at the latest, it seems likely that she will remain in place.

The answer to the other question lies with Toby Philpott. Toby was selected as the original Lib Dem candidate, defeating Lynne "Third-Choice" Beaumont in the process. Apparently, that was not acceptable to Third-Choice, and her ensuing tears and foot stamping were well covered in the local media. Ultimately, Toby resigned as both PPC and Lib Dem member, made formal complaints to the national Lib Dems and no fewer than six Lib Dem Councillors crossed the floor to join the Conservatives. A further three sitting Lib Dem councillors have also discussed crossing the floor, and more than 50% of the party's membership has resigned since 2003.

Toby has previously indicated that he would stand against Cllr Beaumont if she was selected. Will he do so? If he does, will he run as in Independent or for a political grouping? A number of disaffected Shepway Lib Dem Councillors now sit for the People First Party, so could he run on their ticket? Alternatively, the situation could present the Liberal Party with an opportunity to reform in Folkestone and Hythe - there is a precedent, with significant localised strength for the party in various constituencies such as Slough, Peterborough, Wyre Forest and much of the South West of England.

Perhaps more importantly, given the circumstances of her selection, will the official Liberal Democrat candidate be forced to run as a Liberal Autocrat?

No comments: