Friday, November 06, 2009

Kirkbride of Frankenstein - reanimated

U-turns are flavour of the week with the Tories. After publicly declaring that she wasn't going to be kicked around any more back in May, the Tory MP for Bromsgrove has reversed course.

It appears that the fragrant Julie has informed her constituency executive that she wants to stand again as their candidate in the General Election, as enough time has passed for people to forget that she had her snout deep in the Westminster trough get a better perspective on the facts. The facts being that she doesn't want her gravytrain to hit the buffers quite yet wants to continue serving the people of Bromsgrove.

If you recall, her husband (Andrew Mackay, soon to be ex MP for Bracknell) and her both claimed the full allowance for their two properties, each citing a different 'second home.' This netted them £170k. She also put her sister on the books as an office worker on £12k - despite being resident in Dorset - and then got the taxpayer to cough up towards building an extension on her Bromsgrove home to give her brother somewhere to live. And she thought nothing of putting £1000 of publicity photographs onto her expenses as well. When they were caught out, she pleaded ignorance, he stood down and tried to do a deal to save what's left of her career, but the public pressure was so strong that she eventually announced her intention not to stand again. Until things quietened down.

Partly, you admire her chutzpah and her seeming apparent belief that the electors of Bromsgrove will be so desperate to evict Labour from government that they will vote for anything in a blue rosette. She may well be right, but I suspect that if she does run again, it will prove damaging to the Conservative party well beyond the borders of her constituency. I wonder if both the Liberal Democrats and Labour will withdraw from the campaign and let a single-issue candidate run their place - the anti-Julie?

Remember this bloke? The campaign in Tatton defined the 1997 election. Will Bromsgrove prove similarly damaging? I think the expenses campaign has a new poster girl and one that might prove extremely expensive to the Conservatives.

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