The director of one of the most influential Conservative Party aligned pressure groups has said that the party should not stand against Douglas Carswell MP, who defected to the UK Independence Party earlier today and triggered a by-election.
Paul Osborn, the Executive Director of Conservative Way Forward – which is both on the right of the party and has contributed significantly to the successful ‘RoadTrip2015’ project that buses young Tories around the country – tweeted earlier, “I think the @Conservatives should not put up a candidate in Clacton. Do what Labour and LibDems did to David Davis.”
In completely unrelated and separate comments, Conservative Party director Mark Clarke said on his Facebook page earlier: “Remembering that Labour and Lib Dems did not contest David Davis’ vanity by election”.
Honorary Vice Presidents of CWF include the former Foreign Secretary William Hague and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox MP.
But despite Obsorn’s good intentions, it looks like the Tory Party will fight the seat anyway. The party has taken to Twitter over the past few hours to goad UKIP over its candidate selection processes, without noting that the Tories themselves have the same arrangements. At first the wannabe Clacton UKIP candidate Roger Lord said he would not stand down for Carswell, though it later emerged that under the terms of a by-election, a new selection process has to take place anyway.
Still on the management board of CWF is barrister Alex Deane, formerly David Cameron’s chief of staff, who recently noted that he voted UKIP at the European Elections, “as any conservative would”.
Moments ago, UKIP’s Party Secretary looked to put an end to speculation over the Clacton candidacy. He said: “Roger Lord is not now, nor has he ever been the by-election candidate for Clacton. The National Executive Committee of the Party have voted to adopt Douglas Carswell as the candidate for the upcoming by-election. Roger Lord is mistaken in his belief that he is the candidate and he can best serve the party’s and the county’s interests by standing behind the decision of the NEC”.