Nick Cohen Nick Cohen

Election 2017: Do you believe in miracles?

If you want to imagine the future of British politics, consider the tale of Kristy Adams, the Conservative candidate in Hove. Her campaign is an insult to the electorate, but it is hardly alone in that.

After the crash, the expenses scandal, Savile and phone hacking, it became a cliché to say that trust in institutions has collapsed. If the House of Commons is to restore its reputation, candidates must be honest. I don’t mean MPs have to tell us about their sex lives or publish their bank accounts, just be straightforward.

Theresa May wants to make this a Brexit election. Taking her at her word, reporters from the Brighton Argus asked Adams a basic question.

‘How did you vote in the referendum?’

‘I’m not going to answer that question,’ was all she would say, despite being pressed repeatedly. She will not give the voters of Hove an account of her views on the election’s great question. As she has been struck dumb, others have put words into her mouth. Hove’s Labour MP, Peter Kyle, who holds the seat with a slender majority of 1,250, argues that Brighton and Hove voted remain, so a plausible theory is that Adams has come over all coy because that she doesn’t want to admit she backed leave.

A scrupulous journalist should put his accusation to her, and record her reply. But as Adams won’t answer the question, how can I?

Voters should be able to ask her themselves. But the Conservative Party has yanked Adams out of a hustings, and there is a suspicion that they are hiding her away until a Tory landslide carries her to power regardless. Maybe she is in the basement of one of Hove’s Regency houses, or a beach hut by the promenade.

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