UPDATE: As predicted she didn’t show. Full story here. While Lord Rennard’s allegedly wandering hands have provided Maria Hutchings’ disastrous campaign with political breathing space, the Tories still haven’t confirmed whether their off-message hopeful will be attending the 38 Degrees hustings this evening: Eastleigh Hustings tonight with @mike4eastleigh @mrjohnofarrell & @dianeukip waiting on ‏@mariahutchings to […]

The Conservatives are really honing their inverse Midas touch down in Eastleigh: The perils of campaigning. Pickles: How old is your daughter? Man at door: He’s a boy — Sophy Ridge (@SophyRidgeSky) February 22, 2013 They really can’t get anything right. In the meantime, the Liberal Democrats — who outnumber the Tories ten to one […]

The Tories are so ashamed of their gaffe-prone by-election candidate that they have stopped Maria Hutchings appearing on a Radio 5 Live debate at which all the other main candidates were present. With suggestions last night that Hutchings might not appear because she would be on the campaign trail with “a cabinet minister”, it later […]

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 […]

  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 […]

Chris Huhne’s political corpse is still warm but the coalition hostilities in Eastleigh (and Westminster) have already begun — starting with Tory attempts to knife a potential Lib Dem candidate. In the last few minutes, activists have had an email from the Tory HQ campaigning department asking them to man phone lines to Hampshire from […]