Coffee House

Tories use Chris Huhne as Eastleigh by-election weapon

8 February 2013

The Conservatives have just published their poster for the Eastleigh by-election. Like most campaigns, they’re capitalising on the fact that the Tory candidate, Maria Hutchings, is local. But in their slogan they’ve also told voters that she’s the one constituents can trust.

This shows that, even though Nick Clegg argued in the Q&A after his speech yesterday that the contest shouldn’t be about Chris Huhne, the party wants to make as much of the former Energy Secretary’s exit as they possibly can in this bloody battle.

UPDATE, 17.40pm: A rather sardonic Lib Dem source tells me:

‘I have to say, campaigning against Chris Huhne when he’s not a candidate is an intriguing idea.’

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  • philgcdr


    This morning’s Populus poll bears that out. They are in third place with 21 per cent, with the Tories second on 28 and the Lib Dems ahead with 33. But, as the indispensable UK Polling Report points out,if you don’t reallocate some of the undecides to the party they voted for last time, UKIP are doing even better. The numbers then are UKIP 25%, Tories 26% and Lib Dems 31%”


  • cyllan2

    i saw her in another photo and she looks like a dog……damn Photoshop…..unbelievable……

  • The Red Bladder

    I don’t think either the Conservative 1st or 2nd XIs have got a lot to shout about when it comes to wooing the voters of Eastleigh!

  • Fernando5

    The real game changer would be if the cover up included others well placed in the Libdem organisation. According to Pryce a researcher had earlier taken some of Huhne’s points. I recollect that there had been an internal Libdem inquiry, as well. Even after the trial this matter may well continue to haunt the Libdems.

  • Radford_NG

    Maybe CCHQ just isn’t too smart.Attractive young WOMAN;disabled child;confronted Blair:just the image of a modern conservative.Probably nobody bothered to find-out if she had any `nasty` views:or that, as the Blessed Margaret put it,she was `normal`.Put her into Eastleigh where she can’t do much harm;generally forget about her;Lib Dem victor;good chap [believes in global warming];there for life—–shots himself in foot[oh dear];re-nominate Hutchings[awkward not to];seems to have integrated locally.Only then she comes out of the closet as`normal`….to late to do anything.She could-well become one of the 46>MPs needed to invoke a leadership challenge:a vote for Hutchings is not necessarily a vote for Cameron

    • Deputy Dawg

      Let us hope this is the case. But it is not yet clear that it is so.

  • Russell

    A poster with Laws and Huhne on wearing masks and convicts arrowed suits with bags of swag over their shoulders in the background would be capitalising, not the above poster.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I’m for that. Subtlety is for losers.

      The thing to do here is to turn this election into a useful agenda fulcrum, not airbrush some gal’s face and parade her about the runway.

      These Cameroons know nothing about politics, apparently.

      • Russell

        Or better still posters with Blair, Brown, Balls and Miliband asking people “Do you really want people like this ruining the country again?”

        • telemachus


          • telemachus

            From Ashcoft Con Home

            The Conservatives enter the Eastleigh by-election campaign with a narrow lead over the Liberal Democrats. A poll I conducted over the two evenings immediately following Chris Huhne’s resignation put the Tories on 34%, with the Lib Dems on 31% and Labour on 19%. The result shows that both coalition parties have everything to play for in the three weeks to polling day on 28 February.

            Mattereth not
            Both are out of power in two short years

            • Colonel Mustard

              We’ll see.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Ha ha! Do you realise what you answered ‘yes’ to you muppet?

            • Coffee House the Wall

              Yes, I suspect related to the quartet.

    • Remittance Man

      Sadly the politicos will never go for that. Can’t remind the electorate that their ranks include criminals and fraudsters. Good God! Someone might think they weren’t isolated examples.

  • HooksLaw

    Its not a bloody battle. Borodino was a bloody battle. This is a by election.

    • 2trueblue

      For the Liberals it might be a BYE BYE election..

      Sorry, it was just too good to miss!

      • Gareth

        Don’t give up the day job, 2trueblue…

  • Archimedes

    What an inspirational photo. She has the look of a person in that mellow place of deciding whether to smile for the photo or just give up and die now.

    • telemachus

      She’ll walk it
      Til the LibDems get it back in 2015
      The local LibDem philosophy runs deep here

      • Fergus Pickering

        Philosophy?What would that be, then?

      • starfish


        Are you local?

  • brossen99

    Should be nailing Huhne for promoting this !

    • telemachus

      Is that Nolly Pratt Huhne

      The Girl is pretty and knows how to needle a PM

      Remember 2005

      Maria Hutchings approached Tony Blair on a live channel Five programme as he spoke about school discipline.

      “Tony that’s rubbish,” she said, before being calmed down by studio staff. Mr Blair spoke to her after the show and was, she said, “very attentive”.

      Mrs Hutchings said: “He listened to everything we had to say. We are going to meet him again.

      “He said to me that he knew something about autism. He felt sorry for what we had to go through. He said that he would be looking into all this personally.”
      No doubt she believed him

  • Deputy Dawg

    I note that Hutchings has been parachuted in, and this makes me rather wonder about her hard-core Conservative credentials since it is the left-wing Central Office that has selected her. It is also noteworthy that she was a life-long Labout supporter…

    Hutchings was a self-professed life-long Labour supporter who switched to the Tories after a well-publicised altercation with Tony Blair over plans to close her autistic son’s Essex special school. Later reports suggested there were no plans to shut the school. Regardless, she came out the row very impressed with the then-prime minister.

    “Tony Blair was very, very attentive. He listened to everything we had to say,” she said. “He felt sorry for what we had to go through. He said that he would be looking into all this personally.”

    Another woman Labour supporter who becomes a Conservative candidate/MP. All very odd, or all very much part of a pattern.

    • Philiph

      After fighting the seat in the last election. One big parachute jump!

      • Deputy Dawg

        She was parachuted in in 2010. She is a Labour supporter until very recently. She is a central office A-lister.

        • HooksLaw

          So the conservatives should ignore people who want to switch from 1 party to another? How are they supposed to win elections if they cannot persuade people to change?

          • Deputy Dawg

            Its a bit odd that so many MPs have been Labour supporters, become Conservative Party supporters (without necessarily becoming conservative) and are immediately rewarded with candidacy while life long conservatives are passed over.

            Helen Grant, for instance; was a Labour supporter but was not being put forward as a candidate. She switched to the Conservatives and was gifted a safe seat. Is she a conservative? Her voting record does not suggest she is.

            • realfish

              So, using your logic, we should have suspicions that Winston Churchill wasn’t really a Conservative.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, and with very good reason.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Perhaps you could name one Conservative who lives up to your idea of conservatism (of course your “conservatives” might be of the American kind).

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …well, let’s just say for starters that eco nutters who bankrupt the countryside by making it pay for a flood of windmill psychosis aren’t even close to conservative.

                • Daniel Maris

                  So there isn’t one then, apart perhaps from your own reflection in the mirror, as you practise your acceptance speech…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …well again, it’s better to narrow the field, and eliminate the windmill eco nutters.

                  All of we conservatives agree on that much. That keeps us on the same page, once those kooks are out of consideration.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Back in your country back in your youth Governor Wallace might be the man. Or Barry nutter Goldwater.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …is that what the voices are telling you now?

                • Daniel Maris

                  “Wind energy advocates carved out a corner of the straw poll’s spotlight by having GOP candidates and state officials sign a 130-foot long wind turbine blade manufactured in Iowa. Among those signing their names were Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty, who has since dropped out of the race. Bachmann, according to Iowa Wind Energy Association Executive Director Harold Prior, has signaled support for wind energy in Iowa during recent campaigning, but did not stop by to sign the blade.” (From

                  So all the GOP candidates were non-conservative eco nutters then?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Did you actually believe I was going to read one of your braindead posts about windmill eco nuttery?

              • Russell

                He was a Liberal

    • Fergus Pickering

      Listen, feller, I voted Labour when I was younger and I preferred Wilson to Heath. Woudn’t anyone? I am now somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. Churchill crossed the floor twice. A lifelong Conservative is probably a bit of a bigot. And I think she looks very nice. A lot of the Tory women look nice. It balances out the terribly ugly mugs on many of the men.

      • UlyssesReturns

        Well said Fergus. Could have described me except: I have never voted labour, hated Wilson as much as I despised Heath, think Atilla the Hun was too soft and am not at all bigoted. As for the women, why are the labour lot so ugly? That Flint woman is an ultra-low resolution fox who makes one wilt, Harman and Abbott are visual bromide, and those Eagle brothers make me appreciate gay marriage.

        • telemachus

          Shame on you for these politically incorrect remarks
          You can edit them

          • Colonel Mustard

            And you can…

            • telemachus

              Yes and do frequently
              I seek perfection of The Word

              • david aderton

                That show ended years ago, Terry (the insanity and left-wing offal explain a lot, though).

              • Colonel Mustard

                Well your seeking seems to be going wrong somewhere.

            • Terry

              For God’s sake Colonel, just ignore the sad little wretch.

        • James Strong

          Harman was a stunner when young, she’s not now.
          The former MP Louise Mensch is a good-looking girl (that one is for Sarah, of Rod’s parish) and I wouldn’t say ‘No! No, Nadine!’ if Ms. Dorries came on to me.

          • telemachus

            Equal shame

          • Daniel Maris

            I think even the lifelong Conservative Auberon Waugh was rather taken with Harriet Harman if I remember rightly. Mind you, he might have pretended to be besotten just to annoy her.

            • MirthaTidville

              So was the late Alan Clark, who fancied her greatly. Apparantly to do with her classly upbringing. Thought she had breeding……He would be disappointed with her present decline of course. She has deteriorated with age

              • Fergus Pickering

                Haven’t we all? Ah, when I was a page to the Duke of Norfolk…

          • david aderton

            Stella Creasy brightens up the current affairs shows too. Blair and Cam had the right idea.

          • 2trueblue

            Harman used to speak like a toff too, as you would expect from an old Pauline, and the niece of Lord Longford.

      • telemachus

        I can see why you liked Wilson

        Harold Wilson faced the same choice as every Labour leader—whether to confront the rich and represent those who elected him, or to back British capitalism.

        And like every Labour leader, Wilson chose the latter.

        • Colonel Mustard

          He also chose the Soviet Union.

        • ButcombeMan

          And unreformed (by Thatcher) British capitalism of the time, let him down.

        • Fergus Pickering

          And bloody good for him.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, you may be to the right of Boy George…

      • ButcombeMan

        Any one who isn’t a Socialist by the age of 20 has no heart. Any one who isn’t a Conservative by the age of 40 has no brain.
        (Winston S Churchill)

        • telemachus

          The other way round

          • Colonel Mustard

            No. You provide the solid evidence for us. Your boasts of family reveal you are not less than 20 and that you have no brain is incontrovertible from the evidence of your serial comments.

          • ButcombeMan

            No , that is a quote from WSC.

            Most people grow out of socialism.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I always thought there was something a bit odd about you…

      • Daniel Maris

        Sorry Fergus, the Guardian have a different angle on this…


        • Fergus Pickering

          Ah, I read it in The Guardian so it must be true.

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