Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has hilariously claimed that he has banned negative campaigning in the Eastleigh by-election — while senior colleagues simultaneously launch attacks backed up by posters. Sometime online marketing spiv Shapps told the press he would be organising a:
“unrelentingly positive campaign”
Strangely enough, bruiser Liam Fox didn’t get the memo, blustering to Sky News:
“I think that the Lib Dems really have a problem about trust, I think they’ve got to explain to the students who voted for them in the last election about why they ditched their pledge on tuition fees, and then why having decided to pledge on an in-out referendum in Europe before the general election that they do not want one at all now.”
While certainly negative, Fox’s remarks on trust dovetail conveniently with this official poster which emerged over the weekend:
It might be more truthful to say that “Hutchings is the candidate you can trust … but David Cameron can’t”. Indeed, the selection of Hutchings could be seen as a challenge to his authority from the right:
- Hutchings said she would have voted against gay marriage
- Scrapbook revealed her to have more extreme views than Nadine Dorries on abortion
- She has been forced to deny telling a reporter that the previous Labour government had done more for “the immigrants, the gays, the bloody foxes” than for children with special needs
- Having told reporters that Tony Blair should “stop focussing” on Africa after she ambushed him on a live TV debate in 2005, it is certainly questionable whether she supports Cameron’s pledge to spend 0.7% of UK national income on aid.
Watching Tory spinners attempt to manage her should be entertaining.