The Tories are obsessed with calling their by-election candidate Maria Hutchings a “local campaigner”, “local champion” and a prospective “local MP”. Indeed, the page of her official website announcing her candidacy mentions the word “local” no less than eight times.
But doth the lady (Grant Shapps) protest too much? Hutchings clearly hadn’t read the script when she was speaking to the BBC after she was elevated to the party’s elite A-list prior to the last general election and a thumping by Chris Huhne, who increased his vote share by nearly nine percent.
Mrs Hutchings believes she has the ability to be a first class MP whatever the selection process but as an “Essex girl through and through” and proud of it
A county two hours drive from Hampshire might hold some attraction, however.
If it were up to Grant Shapps and her CCHQ minders, Hutchings would be kept in a Tory safe house in Essex right up until 10pm next Thursday.