After the defection of the probably the Tories’ least charismatic-sounding MP, Mark Reckless, to UKIP was announced yesterday, there was a short intermission as the assembled pundits digested the news, before the 24-hour Speculatron was fired up once again and the question asked: who’s going to be next? Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was unusually tight-lipped this morning. But that convinced nobody.
Farage claimed on The Andy Marr Show (tm) that he had been talking to a number of Labour back-benchers. That, too, convinced nobody: attention is firmly focused on the Tory Party, where Young Dave, later on the same show, wanted to make it clear that he had been absolutely clear about his absolute clarity on the subject of his being absolutely clear. About something.
To no surprise at all, the name in the frame right now is not an MP, but an MEP, and one who would probably have no problem getting re-elected providing UKIP retains its popularity in the next European Parliament elections, and he’s given a high enough place on the party list: step forward Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, friend and collaborator of Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell.
James Forsyth did nothing to dampen the speculation when he told “Senior Tories now regard [Dan Hannan] defection as a question of when not if. Word is he’s gone dark since Reckless quit”. Hannan countered this with the observation “I have immense regard for [Mark Reckless] as an MP and as a friend. I wish him all the best, but I won’t be following him to UKIP”.
With most politicians, this would be sufficient to quell suspicions. But, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, Reckless was sounding loyal right up to last Friday, only to jump the very next day, and two, Hannan has, shall we say, a propensity to dishonesty. Anyone wanting to see the sheer shamelessness of his lying need look no further than his healthcare discussion with Sean Hannity.
Yes, going on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) is bad enough; going on and blatantly telling whoppers is worse. And, talking of those in the Tory Party whose relationship with the truth is merely coincidental, Mid-Bedfordshire MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries Tweeted yesterday “My new BlackBerry is kaput – message to whips, please stop panicking – it is broken, not switched off”.
Ms Dorries, as I noted yesterday, has made UKIP-friendly noises in the past, and this intervention was truly bizarre. Why would the Tory whips want to talk to her at 1800 hours on Saturday, when the House was not sitting? There may be more to come from the fragrant Nadine, and as for Hannan, Forsyth is most likely on the money. This defection can be timed to suit Farage: no by-election is needed.
Cameron can be quite clear about this one: he’s quite clearly in the shit.