The shambles that is the Tory Party is today attempting to retain the Parliamentary seat of Rochester and Strood in the face of an assault by the shambles that is UKIP. But how can the Blue Team have got in to such a state? That is the subject which the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne is considering as he looks to what comes after what is expected to be another loss to the Kippers.
Soon to be available with purple tie
And what he sees should worry Young Dave and his jolly good chaps: Mark Reckless, known before he ratted to join Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers mainly for his own moment of extreme thirst, should perhaps not have been let into the party in the first place. The whips’ office is in a mess, not least through the ineptitude of Michael “Oiky” Gove.
Indeed, not only was there the monumental foul-up over the European Arrest Warrant, but this week the Government lost on a whipped vote, the first such occasion in this Parliament. And then there is the case of those who are Tories in name only, more specifically Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. Hannan is an MEP for South-East England – he benefited from being top of his party’s list.
That means even if the Tories had only secured one European Parliament (EP) seat in this year’s elections, he would have been home and dry. Yet when Cameron called on MPs, and especially ministers, to make the journey to Rochester and Strood, Hannan appears to have gone missing. It’s part of his home turf. If anyone should have been out there supporting Kelly Tolhurst, it should have been him.
Hannan pleaded pressure of work when Oborne asked whether he would be supporting Ms Tolhurst. Yet, as he then notes, the supposedly overworked MEP has managed to fit in a variety of media appearances and speeches: “Hannan acts as if the Tory party exists to serve him, and not the other way around ... he is acting as if he wants to win next year’s election for Ed Miliband” concludes the Tel man.
Hannan has said of Reckless “I wish him all the best, but I won’t be following him to UKIP”, but then again, he is also capable of blatant dishonesty. He also said of Reckless and Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell that “both men wrestled with a decision they found incredibly difficult, risking their careers for reasons of conscience”, and called the former “a devoted and patriotic MP”.
The problem Cameron has is that he has missed his opportunity to deal with Hannan. When James Forsyth told “Senior Tories now regard [Dan Hannan] defection as a question of when not if. Word is he’s gone dark since Reckless quit”, he had already been returned to the EP. If he defects, he’s still an MEP until 2019. And defect is what he may well do very soon.
Daniel Hannan has been appallingly disloyal to his party. We are not surprised.