James Forsyth

Talent needs a seat

Talent needs a seat
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The expenses scandal has already created three vacancies in extremely safe Tory seats, and the word is that there could a dozen or so more before this is all over. The temptation for the Tories will be to opt for the safety first approach and fill these seats with solid but unexceptional local candidates. But that would be a mistake. Instead, the Tories should be aiming to substantially improve the talent pool from which their ministers will come from.

There are already a host of people advising the Tory leadership who have more influence than the average backbencher. However, until these people become MPs there is, for obvious and proper reasons, a limit to how much they can do. If the Blair years are any guide, these people will head off to try and find seats mid-way through a second term—draining a government of energy just when it needs it most. It would be far better for the Tory party if these people were urged to go for seats now not later.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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