Thursday, September 27, 2007

Could it be Mercer and/or Bercow?

There have been rumours circulating from Blackpool that there may in fact be two defectors coming this weekend designed to overshadow the start of the Tory Conference. Well I did ponder if it could happen again. We already know that Patrick Mercer is not going to Blackpool (or at least his office said he wasn't). Now Adam Boulton's blog has revealed that John Bercow, the MP for Buckingham, isn't attending the seaside resort either. One shouldn't draw conclusions from ether of these things of course. But it's interesting that two MPs that have taken Brown's 30 pieces of silver are both not attending their own party's conference.

The question for me is this though. If anyone were to defect what could they have been offered? After all, there is no way in the world that someone could hold a seat in, for example, Buckingham given the majority. So if they jumped ship this weekend, and Brown did call an election next week, they would basically be kissing goodbye to the Commons. I guess they could, if it happened, be offered the House of Lords maybe? But is that likely?

Anyway, this is all wild speculation of course. But it occurs to me that if you're going to defect then you're probably going to be mindful about your seat and whether you can hold it, and this would apply either way. If someone in the Labour Party with a 18,000 majority jumped ship to the Tories they're not likely to overturn that majority unless they're Jesus himself with the local electorate - and even then I wouldn't bet on it.

Update: An anonymous commenter has said that this post is rubbish. I did actually concede that one shouldn't draw conclusions. But I have been wondering this morning what sort of thinking one would have if one did choose to defect. It seems to me that you're only likely to do it if (a) you have some guarantees for your political career, or (b) you're in a marginal where the chance of holding the seat when representing the other side is not out of the realm of possibility.


Anonymous said...

If it is Mercer, he's stupider than I though. Just months ago Labour were referring to him as a disgrace, a racist who had no place in politics. What kind of person joins a party who holds that opinion of them?

Anonymous said...

What a load of rubbish. A bloke is a loyal MP for ten years, decides to help try steer government policy on special educational needs (SEN) and the knives suddenly comes out..!

He has been an advocate for better provision in Parliament for years, and it might interest your readers to know that Bercow's young son has SEN. Wouldn't you try to steer the debate if you were given a similar opportunity?

One of the reasons he enjoys such a stomping majority in Buckingham is that he fights for his patch, and reaches beyond traditional Tory voters - how many other MPs can claim the same?

I know Bercow personally, and there is about as much chance as Gordon Brown defecting to UKIP as Bercow leaving the Tory Party.

dizzy said...

With respect, the idea that Buckingham is such a safe Tory seat is all because of hard work is a buit silly. It's had a Labour MP twice in its 400+ year history, 1945, and 64. Like Ayeslbury Vale it has been Tory/Whig heartland for centuries. It wouldn't matter who the blue rossette was pinned too they would win.

That this is a matter of the "knives coming out" is the real rubbish. It's called fair comment. There is a very strong rumour of two defections this weekend. It just so happens that two MPs that have already agreed to work in Government but not take the Labour whip have decided they're not going to attend their own Party conference at a time when there is serious election fever.

It's called an observation, little more.

Anonymous said...

chatterbox said...

Do I think that Brown has something nasty planned to torpedo the Tory Conference, you bet!!
The weird thing is that the more Brown resorts to tricks like this, the less he looks like a statesman or a man fit to be a PM!
But a bit of homework is needed by everyone, in particular the press.
I read weeks ago that neither Mercer or Bercow were attending the Conference, and it did not take a genius to work out why.
Neither would have enjoyed themselves, and that fact really does underline that deep down they know that they were ultimately damaging their party and their colleagues with their actions.

Mark Heenan said...

"If someone in the Labour Party with a 18,000 majority jumped ship to the Tories they're not likely to overturn that majority unless they're Jesus himself with the local electorate - and even then I wouldn't bet on it."

Reminded me of a quote from Churchil when he was canvassing:

WSC: Good afternoon madam, my name is Winston Churchill and I'm your Conservative candidate...
Voter: I'd sooner vote for the Devil!
WSC: Indeed, but since the Prince of Darkness is not a candidate in this election I was wondering if you might consider giving me your vote.

Anonymous said...

Don't be silly - an MP wouldn't stick by his constituents if he could help his career.

These defectors abandon their constituency as well as their party, and are parachuted into a safe seat somewhere else.

Remember Shaun Woodward - Tory MP for Witney. After he defected to Labour he moved across the country to St Helens.