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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hide and seek with the Tories

I am heading down to Eastleigh on Saturday so maybe I will bump into the Conservative candidate or at least discover why it is that her party are trying to hide her from the media. Politics and elections are meant to be about putting your views across and being scrutinised on them. That is not how the Tories fight elections it seems.

The latest episode, as reported in the Guardian, relates to a national radio hustings this morning, which the Tory candidate refused to attend. Maria Hutchings has hit the headlines during the campaign over trenchant views ranging from state education to the EU and gay marriage.

The paper says that there is growing concern within the party that with a week to go before polling day her no-nonsense and frequently off-message approach is damaging its chances of seizing the seat from the Liberal Democrats:

Candidates from the other major parties were attending the debate – chaired by Victoria Derbyshire – on Thursday morning for 5 Live, a major set-piece of the week. But Conservative officials said Hutchings would not be there because she was expecting a visit from the prime minister at lunchtime.

The Lib Dem party president, Tim Farron, led the criticism. He said: "She's refusing to show up to a hustings with the people she says she wants to represent, proving her claims to stay in touch are empty and worthless.

"You have to ask why the Conservative machine keeps trying to hide her away. This is a candidate who says on her leaflets that she puts local people before political ambition, yet the moment she gets to share the spotlight with her party leader all that is forgotten."

Things really are getting interesting.

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