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Will Dave prevail against the Norfolk Nineteen?

November 3rd, 2009

Could the “Turnip Taliban” undermine his leadership?

There’s now a betting market on the situation in the safe Tory seat of South West Norfolk where the move to de-select the PPC, 34 year old Elizabeth Truss, is opening up all sorts of issues over the powers of local parties and charges of sexism.

Last week the local executive decided by 19 votes to 14 to put Ms Truss’s candidature back to a special general meeting in a fortnight’s time because it was alleged that she had not been open with them about an affair that had been widely reported in the national press three years ago.

Her backers say this was all the on the record and all would have been revealed in a two minute Google search. Her accusers say they were deceived.

You have to ask whether whether the local party would have acted in the same way if the same situation had happened with a male candidate? I doubt it and that’s what makes it so toxic.

One local councillor is quoted as saying they they want a local candidate who can get round the constituency “without a satnav” – which opens up another line of attack against Ms Truss and seems to suggest that some are looking for any reason to over-turn the original selection. In doing so they are undermining their core case about being misled.

It would certainly be a blow to Team Cameron if de-selection is what happens and the local association has been warned that in that situation an all-women short-list could be imposed on them.

So who knows which way the de-selection meeting on November 16th is going to go? PaddyPower, has announced a market called “Naughty Norfolk” and is offering 4/5 on Ms Truss being de-selected and 4/5 on her not being de-selected.

I can’t read this and it would be interesting to hear the take of those who are closer to this than I am.

Mike Smithson

****Bunnco has an in-depth post on this on PB2****