Saturday, May 01, 2010

At a time when their leadership are trumpeting a new kind of politics it is a bit disappointing to note that locally the Lib Dems are engaging in some very old-fashioned negative campaigning. The latest broadside from Mr Sanders team contains more totally untrue allegations, to add to old favourites they put about during the last election.

The first myth is that I am the man from Windsor. Can I just point out that I have never lived in Windsor? My only connection with the place is that my Dad lived there for a bit when my parents split up in the '70's and I was once the Chairman of the Constituency Conservative Association. It is a matter of record that I live in Torquay, and have done so for years. My wife and I work here, my children go to school here, and all our friends live here.

The second myth is that I am connected at the hip to the Mayor. Nick Bye was chosen as our candidate in 2005 - and with everyone else I worked hard to help get a Conservative mayor elected. As the Lib Dem campaign team know full well I do not get involved in the local council political scene, I am not on the council, do not campaign, advise, or work for the mayor or any councillors in any capacity, I do not have a say on policy, planning matters or anything else.

The newest myth has just appeared in the Lib Dems latest leaflet. "The conservative intends to be only a part-time MP" - they shout. This is another wholly untrue allegation. They know full well that I have always made it clear that I intend to work flat out, full time, on being your MP if elected. Indeed the expectation is that the new Parliament will be working through many long nights to try and sort out the mess the last Parliament have left the country in.

And for the last MP to be shouting about the possible work-rate of the next one is a bit dangerous, it might just prompt voters to spot the fact that he and his colleagues spent the least amount of time working of any Parliament for 30 years - despite the worst recession in living memory, and after getting a record pay-rise.

As The Sun newspaper reported earlier this year: "Analysis of the working day at Westminster showed the House sat for just 139 days in 2008-09. Members' average working day lasted seven hours and 35 minutes - meaning they sat for 1,053 hours and 51 minutes overall. That was the lowest total in a non-election year since 1979."

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