With almost a week having passed since the Corby and East Northamptonshire by-election, Zelo Street has been looking once more at the activities of the clueless Tory MP for Daventry Chris Heaton Harris, and those of his pal James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole. And thus far there is little sign that either of them is back to their confident best. This should surprise nobody.
Heaton Harris, in fact, left Twitter for a whole week following revelation of the Greenpeace sting that exposed his collusion with Delingpole’s plainly fraudulent candidacy, and he’s not been exactly burning up the airwaves today. Del Boy has been rather more loquacious, but one subject is absent from his regular torrent of abuse dressed up an entries on the contents list at Telegraph Blogs.
No prizes for guessing that the missing subject is the Corby by-election, and especially the thought that he and Heaton Harris have been reported to the Police for possible abuse of election rules. The potential charge list could include “Corrupt withdrawal from candidature”. Del is as keen as ever on putting the boot into anyone showing the remotest of enthusiasm for renewable energy, but quiet on elections.
Delingpole did manage one brief snark at Greenpeace after the Tories lost the Corby contest, but sadly the only sources he was able to cite in support were the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which exists to rubbish climate change, and Matthew Sinclair, chief non-job holder of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, whose stance on the issue is all too similar.
He might be better advised checking out the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which has superceded the 1983 Representation of the People Act. This states that a person becomes a candidate “(b) otherwise, on the day on which he is so declared by himself or by others or on which he is nominated as a candidate at the election (whichever is the earlier)” [my emphasis].
So Del Boy, according to the 2000 Act, cannot argue that he was never a candidate, because even if he did not submit nomination papers and a deposit, and apparently never intended so to do, he did declare on September 6 that he was a candidate. Now, take that and match with Heaton Harris’ assertion to Greenpeace that the sequence of events that led to Delingpole withdrawing was “contrived”.
Add the fact that the Tories provided staff to assist Delingpole, and that service having some value, and you have what looks very much like a good case for an investigation by the Police into both his conduct and that of Heaton Harris. Whether John Hayes could get drawn in to the imbroglio, given the timing of his speech that Del used as his excuse not to put up a deposit, is always possible.
But Delingpole and Heaton Harris are not out of the woods yet. More to come.