James Forsyth

Pickles expects 17 more Tory MPs to stand down at the next election because of expenses

Pickles expects 17 more Tory MPs to stand down at the next election because of expenses
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The Guardian has just posted online a Julian Glover piece which will be in tomorrow’s paper. In the piece, Glover says that Eric Pickles has given an interview to Monday’s Guardian in which he says that he expects 17 more Tory MPs to stand down because of the expenses row. (That would bring the total to thirty).

This means that 17 fairly plum seats will become available, any seat the Tories won last time they should hold this time. I suspect that the leadership would like to use this opportunity to try and expand its potential ministerial talent pool. There might well be a few clashes over the new powers that CCHQ has gained over the selection process. 


Update: Via Conservative Home, I see that The Guardian’s news story on this is now up. Here’s the bit about candidate selection:

“Pickles said the departures would give the party the chance to bring dozens of new-style Tories with little or no background in Conservative politics into parliament. He said that about 4,000 people had applied since then and up to 70% of them were "new people".

"We've got ourselves a good mix: lots of doctors, lots of social workers, lots of community nurses … people who've got involvement with the community outside the political process."

Pickles said that about 20 to 30 of these "new people" were likely to end up in parliament after the next election.

To help the new-style Tories get selected, the party is changing the way candidates are evaluated. In future, working in the community will be given equivalent weight to party political experience.”


Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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