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Voters deserve better than Chris Pincher He is merely a symptom of our failing system

Feeling the pinch (Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)

Feeling the pinch (Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)


July 4, 2022   5 mins

The Subscription Rooms in the centre of Stroud have long played host to small historic moments. In March 1962, the Georgian building hosted one of the first Beatles concerts. The band were paid £32 between them. It was one of their “worst ever” performances, Paul McCartney later said. “Stroud was pretty bad. I think about three people showed up.”

Last Thursday, by contrast, around 300 people turned up to the rebranded “Sub Rooms”, when local Labour activists met to choose the candidate they hope will wrest back the surrounding Gloucestershire constituency from the Tories at the next election. After spending three hours considering just two names, they picked Simon Opher, a 55-year-old local GP and the more local applicant. The announcement, as often in these processes, followed weeks of wrangling between the Stroud party and national Labour officials.

Three more Labour selections took place over the weekend, and between now and the next election, hundreds of such meetings will take place in assembly rooms, church halls, schools and pubs all over the country. It’s a process I call “Britain’s Hidden Elections”.

Whereas American parties choose their candidates under the intense public scrutiny of primary elections, Britain’s parliamentary selections are conducted with great secrecy. They are rarely reported on these days; many places don’t have a local paper anymore, while those that do survive don’t regard candidate selections as particularly newsworthy.

Yet they are a vital part of British politics. Local parties aren’t just picking the MPs of tomorrow, but the ministers, Cabinet ministers and whips of future decades — the pool of people from which governments are formed. If parties regularly choose incompetent, lazy and stupid MPs, then weak and inept governments will follow: the sort of governments populated by the likes of Chris Pincher; the sort of governments that make a man accused of sexual misconduct a deputy chief whip. That, ultimately, is why I’ve started a new project to report on the selection process for every candidate who might have a chance of becoming an MP.

Selection for a winnable seat is perhaps the big turning-point in most political careers — the moment when a politician’s ambitions finally take off, often after years of toil: Michael Howard tried more than 30 times to get a seat, over almost 20 years.

These candidate selections are politics in the raw, muscle against muscle — rough, unjust, and undemocratic, with fixes and deals, and interference from the regional or national HQs or the leader’s office. But the beauty is that the interference sometimes backfires. And often these selections see the birth of new stars, young men and women who wow the activists with inspiration and hope: as the 32-year-old Margaret Thatcher did in Finchley in 1958 and the 30-year old Tony Blair in Sedgefield in 1983.

Yet fiddles and chicanery are common. Indeed, at the end of Thatcher’s selection meeting in Finchley, everyone was told she’d won by 46 votes to 43. But she was the unknowing beneficiary of fraud. The local chairman was so impressed by Thatcher that he switched two votes to her, taken from her male opponent, Thomas Langton. Those votes made the difference, and made history. The chairman had justified it to himself on the grounds that, before long, Langton was bound to be chosen elsewhere. He never was.

Luck and accident play their part too. After fighting the Labour stronghold of St Pancras North in both 1974 elections, John Major was determined to stand in a safe Tory seat next time. He made numerous applications only to hear nothing back, apart from unsolicited invitations from Tories in Labour seats he didn’t want. After 18 months of frustration, he discovered Conservative HQ had mixed up his file with another John Major, a GLC councillor from north London. The error was rectified, and the real Major was picked for super-safe Huntingdon. As for the “other” John Major, I tracked him down to a guest house he later ran in Bournemouth, where I filmed him for Newsnight cooking bacon and eggs. “At least someone called John Major became prime minister,” he said cheerfully. “It could have been me.”

Of course, it’s not just the Tories who have cultivated the dark art of murky selections. Dozens of Labour MPs elected in the Blair-Brown era owe their careers to party fixers Tom Watson and Keith Vaz. The pair of them — Watson for the Gordon Brown camp and Vaz for the Blairites — would share out seats between them, in cahoots with the trade unions.

Often they would wait for an election to be imminent, when the party leadership and national HQs can further reduce members’ role in the process — there’s no time to consult about shortlists, they claim. This provides a chance to “parachute” in advisers and favoured sons from outside, often by providing a shortlist with only one realistic capable contender. That’s how the Blairite TV historian Tristram Hunt got Stoke-on-Trent Central in 2010, while Harriet Harman’s late husband Jack Dromey was handed Birmingham Erdington. In 1997, the Labour Party in Dudley had already printed posters for the sitting MP John Gilbert — I spotted them in his agent’s car. But then Blair’s office got Gilbert to step down with the promise not just of a peerage but a ministerial job too.

For party activists, the power to pick the parliamentary candidate every now and then is one of the few perks. Why do all the slogging on the streets if you’re going to have a candidate foisted upon you by some national deal or fix? Leaving the choice entirely to local members is surely the democratic ideal. Yet the trouble is that increasingly local members insist on local candidates — people brought up in the area, and familiar with its problems. Often this takes the form of choosing members of the local council, especially Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

But the truth is that former councillors, especially council leaders, rarely flourish in Westminster and Whitehall. Herbert Morrison and David Blunkett are the major exceptions of the last 100 years. Graham Stringer and Jon Trickett, for example, ran big city councils in Manchester and Leeds for a decade each, yet have hardly enjoyed dazzling Commons careers. On the whole, councillors don’t make great statesmen — people who are interested in the big issues of national importance: foreign policy, defence and the economy.

And if voters and activists had insisted on every candidate in the past being “local” then Margaret Thatcher would never have got Finchley, and Tony Blair would never have stood for Sedgefield in County Durham. Today, Keir Starmer might be confined to fighting his home patch in Tory East Surrey.

As pitiless as it sounds, party leaders and their officials sometimes need the power to slot the best and the brightest into safe seats. And Starmer himself seems already to be doing that. On the morning of Labour’s selection in Stroud last week, the popular Labour leader of the local district council, Doina Cornell, dramatically resigned from the party over the way she’d been excluded by national officials from the selection shortlist over various alleged transgressions on social media. The offences seem pretty minor, and one suspects the motive of party bigwigs was to limit the Stroud shortlist to two names who looked like potential future ministers. Certainly, the GP who won the Stroud nomination looks a possible health minister in a Starmer administration.

Meanwhile, the case of the government deputy chief whip Chris Pincher, who resigned over his excessive drunkenness in the Carlton Club on Wednesday night, and amid allegations that he groped two male members of the staff in the club, shows the urgent need for wider public and media scrutiny of candidate selections. More MPs have gone to jail in the last two decades — for dishonesty over their expenses, for perjury, and for sexual offences — than at any time in the last 200 years.

In May the former Conservative MP for Wakefield Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed for groping a 15-year-old. Former MP Charlie Elphicke was imprisoned for two years for three sexual assaults, while his former colleague Andrew Griffiths was found by a court to have repeatedly raped his wife. The Somerset MP David Warburton faces allegations of harassment and drug abuse.

On the Labour side, Fiona Onasanya was jailed for perverting the course of justice, and Claudia Webbe convicted of harassment, while former MP Jared O’Mara still faces several fraud charges. And last Thursday, the former SNP MP Natalie McGarry was jailed for two years for embezzling nearly £25,000 from two campaign groups.

Perhaps if our political parties, activists, journalists and the public had paid more attention to who was being picked to represent us, we might have been spared some of these scandals. Voters deserve better than the likes of Pincher, Elphicke and the rest of their disgraced colleagues. Of course, we have the right to be angry when they’re caught out. But the truth is they should never have been picked in the first place.


Michael Crick is a broadcaster and writer whose most recent book is One Party After Another: The Disruptive Life of Nigel Farage (Simon & Schuster). His Selections Twitter feed is @Tomorrow’sMPs

MichaelLCrick

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Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
1 year ago

A lot or problems would be simply solved if people could only run for seats in the House of Commons on attaining the age of 60 – and not being allowed to stay there beyond 75.
This would lift the Big Curse of the political career: people going into politics for life (or trying to).
It would abolish the scores of political nerds (e.g. Matt Hancock inter tanta alia) who become SPADS.
It would mean having MPs (a) with experience of life and therefore a modicum of wisdom at the least, (b) under no harrowing financial pressure to hold onto their seats regardless of what their party wanted them to do (they would have their professional pensions in place, their mortgages paid up, their children already raised); (c) they would have to be people who had proved themselves in other walks of life – a drifter who had failed at everything for 40 years would be exposed as such to the local party and national HQ by his or her CV; (d) politics would appeal to personalities of real achievement, competence, moral substance, as a way to give something to society while still active in mind and body on the cusp of retirement.

Gregory Cox
Gregory Cox
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Matt Hancock ‘inter tanta alia’ – inter tot alios ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Gregory Cox
Niall Cusack
NC
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Gregory Cox

Valde melius!

Deb Grant
DG
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Good grief, really? What about diversity of opinion. I’m all for older and wiser voices being heard but if young voices aren’t heard, reforms for the good never happen. Older folk accept realities and often don’t have the energy or will to make necessary changes.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

We have had an emphatically YOUTH-oriented culture now for 60 years.
Would you say it has produced a happy society?

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The problem there is that parliament would only represent the views of a single generation. A cohort of relatively wealthy home owning elderly would be largely indifferent/ignorant to the problems facing youngsters stuck in the gig economy priced out of a family home for instance as it simply wasn’t an issue 40 years ago.
You’d also end up with a double triple pension lock

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We have had LOADS of young MPs for decades now, and what confronts us is a political class which is the lackey of Big Money, Big Vested Interests – which have made home ownership nearly unthinkable for multitudes of young people, and sent all manner of proper fulltime jobs abroad, and been as greed-driven and short-term thinking as possible.
Time for a change.

Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m a lucky Baby Boomer
After years of 30% inflation I was pleased to hear student grants were going up by 20% (for the 2% entitled to them).
Then I found hall fees, book prices, etc had been pegged, and were going up more as a result, and graduated with a debt.
Went to university in what I thought was the middle of a massive recession, and picked a course I thought would guarantee employment as we came out of it, only to find that was only the warm-up to a total collapse of that industry.
Yes I could get a 95% mortgage at three times salary, and was lucky enough to not suffer negative equity.
Just 17.5% interest rates.
Yes, on my mortgage, not credit cards!
Finally got my head above water, thought we could afford another kid, only for another massive recession to hit, and lose my job…
Now I’m forced into retirement through ill health, after working a minimum 55 hours a week, up to 18 hour days, up to seven days a week, with up to 50,000 miles travelling to and from work, paying tax and NI for 40 years, but don’t tick the right boxes for disability, and not entitled to any other benefits, as the only thing I have to show for it all is that I’m “lucky” enough to own my own house (despite my endowment policy falling far short).
Yes Bill Gates and the like might be billionaires.
The Baby Boomers in the BBC, not to mention academia and other bourgeoise public “service” jobs, with their Bank of Mum and Dad support, and inheritances, and their platinum pay packets, and solid gold, diamond encrusted, pension packages, might be doing OK.
But don’t think everyone outside that liberal bubble, in a silo, in their non-global village enjoyed the same benefits!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Most youngsters would happily take 17.5% mortgages if house prices were still 3.5x their salary. You forget this was also a period of large inflation so the debt lost around a third of its value within a few years anyway.
However for comparison, a mortgage 3.5x the median salary (£26k) today would be £91k. A 5% deposit leaves around £86.5k. A 25 year mortgage at 17.5% leaves has repayments of £295 a week.
Today the average house price is £280k. The same 5% deposit leaves a mortgage of £266k. The repayments on that at 3.5% (assuming you can find them that low with such a small deposit) are £305 a week.
So in summary, even at the very peak of the interest rates you faced, your mortgage was still cheaper than those faced by youngsters today even with interest rates at record lows. Their deposit is also almost treble what you had to save, and they have to do so while paying record rents.
You didn’t have it so hard after all did you?

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Why our politicians are so rotten”Blair seems to be attempting a comeback. with the aid of the media industry. Every newspaper I turn to has an article on that wretched charlatan.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I don’t see him making a comeback, however hard he and the court-eunuch-lackeys of the media try.
He is like Hillary Clinton: too generally detested in his own country.

wenda edwards
WE
wenda edwards
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

she won the popular vote

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  wenda edwards

In lawn tennis, if you win 4 games 45-0 and lose 6 games 45-30, you would win more points but lose the set.
Doesn’t mean that you deserved to win the set.

Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
JB
Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
1 year ago
Reply to  wenda edwards

Brexiteers won the popular vote.
But Remainers still insist they won on a country constituency basis.
The difference is our referendum was held on a UK wide popular vote basis.
The US Presidential election is run on a state basis.
To protect the minorities in the flyover states of that union from the dictatorship of the masses in New York and California.
But don’t let the facts intrude on your sorrow!

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

What an over the top attack!. Many right wingers endlessly assert, as you do, that Hilary Clinton is ‘detested’ in the US. PART of the American electorate do indeed detest her, a rather salient difference. I hold no brief for her, and she was and is often unlikeable and was probably the single main reason behind Trump’s 2016 victory. But the fact she won more votes than him disproves your hyperbolic assertion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
JB
Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Wow!
What an over the top attack!
So outlining that some elections are constituency based and others popular vote based.
And that some people who don’t like a constituency based vote result demand it’s changed to the popular vote “result”.
And surprise, surprise, those people, when they don’t like a popular vote based result, demand the constituency based “result” be substituted.
And you demand that stating those facts should be treated as an over the top, right winger’s endless assertion that Hilary Clinton is ‘detested’ in the US “attack”.
And the fact she won more votes than Trump disproves my hyperbolic assertion?!
On what planet exactly?!
Where did I mention Clinton? Or Trump!
Clearly you are “projecting”!
But, as I said, you shouldn’t let the facts intrude on your sorrow

Jeremy Bray
JB
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

“More MPs have gone to jail in the last two decades — for dishonesty over their expenses, for perjury, and for sexual offences — than at any time in the last 200 years.”
This says it all about the quality of MPs – although the decline in deference has something to do with it as no doubt plenty of dodgy MPs like Cyril Smith had their peccadilloes hushed up in the past.
Unfortunately the selection of candidates are made by too few individuals in secrecy from unsuitable political careerists. Too often Ministers in charge of complex departments have no serious top level management experience to call on upon appointment.

Harry Child
HC
Harry Child
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Of course MP’s were up to theses sort of activities in the past for example – a PM with a mistress but today with sanctimonious journalists whipping up a storm of false righteousness over human behaviour. Did the sexual revolution not take place in the 60 & 70’s and are we heading back to the Victorian morals?
The real question is who on earth would want to be a MP with a savage press revelling in every mistake they make

Deb Grant
DG
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

No it doesn’t. It says more about scrutiny in the information age and being found out than it proves we’re getting worse, we’re not.

However, intense scrutiny is a double edged sword. The quality of people standing in politics has plummeted because the media and public scrutiny is 24/7 and some well-meaning idiots have led less experienced people to believe that perfection is achievable. Good, wise and sensible people realise this and run a mile from becoming a politician.

Albireo Double
AD
Albireo Double
1 year ago

Poor though it is, our parliamentary system is still among the best in the world and we tinker with it at our peril. The problem is the people that are allowed to enter it.

We pay these people nearly half a million a year in salary, expenses, allowances, pensions and perks. For that we are entitled to expect the very best.

Dull drones, whether they be ex-council worthies, trade union gasbags, or dim Eton old boys, have no place. And sadly our debased academic qualifications no longer have sufficient rigour to provide a measure of the necessary ability.

Candidates should have strong, industrial level psychometric, medical, psychological, moral and legal, and IQ testing to wash out those who simply don’t have sufficient mental candlepower for the job.

Successful candidates who are elected as MPs should then be re tested every two years – we expect this of pilots, divers, and commercial drivers, and MPs are capable of creating far more damage than those.

And the bar for deselection must be realistic, and quite low. Constituents must be able to sack their MP.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Andrew Williams
AW
Andrew Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Stalin said that elections are decided by those who count the votes, this suggestion would mean that candidates are selected by those who set the tests, and I am sure those tests would end up selecting candidates that are most like those writing the tests rather than the “best qualified” to run the country. PPE graduates would set tests to select PPE graduates, old Etonians would set tests to select other Etonians, Trade Unionists would select tests to select candidates strongly supportive of Trade Unions. Basically the Establishment would make sure only other Establishment types are selected.

Deb Grant
DG
Deb Grant
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Who’s going to bother?

David Harris
DH
David Harris
1 year ago

Do the open primaries used in the United States deliver better politicians? I haven’t the data but doubt it very much.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Harris
Andrew Wise
AW
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  David Harris

No you don’t get better candidates through primaries – you just push the hidden politics back a layer into who get’s to run in the primaries.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Perhaps the solution is, that a cross section of qualifying people (ie having the requisite skills), who are not otherwise engaged in critical work, should be obliged to serve as administrators for a period of a parliamentary term – like jury service or military service.

Man of Gwen
Man of Gwen
1 year ago

The US Presidential race had open primaries for both major parties and the final competition was between Trump and Biden. Is that evidence that the alternative works any better?

I think the issue is wider and starts with the sort of person who wants to be an MP and feels they can endure the constant media attention if they actually are successful. We are better looking go at why potentially good candidates are put off from running.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Man of Gwen

I would paraphrase Groucho Marx who said: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”
Wanting to be an MP should be enough to disbar you from application 🙂

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Well the Labour party is has now certainly reached the point, where anyone wishing to join the party should automatically been barred, simply on the grounds that they want to join.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago

I agree that thequality of MPs across the piste is poor, but I don’t think this Pincher story has much to teach us. The reaction seems very pearl-clutching to me: man gets drunk at party and makes a fool of himself, then resigns. Err, that’s it…

Gregory Cox
GC
Gregory Cox
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

It is an opportunity to attack Johnson.

Terry Davies
TD
Terry Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Gregory Cox

Or, ask Johnson to accept some responsibility for appointing Pincher.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago

The simple answer to the question, is because we allow it.

John Dewhirst
JD
John Dewhirst
1 year ago

Your investigation of the rotten politics of candidate selection is both welcome and overdue. I’d encourage you to look at the workings of Bradford West among other West Yorkshire constituencies where the tribalism and fixing is rotten to the core. Time to shine a light on the grubby affairs.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Reinstate hereditary peers.. It only takes a brief look at Government at the end of the 19th Century to see how superior in every way politicians from both houses were….. Our country was never designed to be run by jumped up little line managers, who cannot find employment elsewhere.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Whilst I’d abolish the Lords personally, I’d actually prefer the hereditary peers to the politically appointed cronies that currently make fill it

Mike cazaly
Mike cazaly
1 year ago

“the best and the brightest”…lol…

Andrew Martin
AM
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike cazaly

The best and the brightest are usually people who have worked in the real and competitive world, earn shed loads of of Money and have their finger on the ball. They will not partake in the Westminster shenanigans.

Edward Hocknell
Edward Hocknell
1 year ago

There is a difference between choosing the best and avoiding the worst. Many people, especially in the Tory party, seem to relish public life as a way to go to London and have gay adventures. Boring local councillors would be an improvement.

Roger Irwin
Roger Irwin
1 year ago

Job Description:
You will be required to work on site in London during the week, but must be available in your constituency at the weekends. You will have limited expenses paid for having to live and work in the center of London.
You may not engage in activity that might be considered remotely distasteful. You must be interested in your constituents problems, smile and be polite at boring local events, and be prepared to knock on doors smiling for 20 days non stop when their are elections
You will receive a salary that is modest by managerial standards, but you may find yourself out of a job at any time, possibly with short notice, and with no compensation.
Only idiots may apply.

Robert Matthews
Robert Matthews
1 year ago

Great piece, full of fascinating detail that comes from decades of experience and insight.
Wd have liked Michael to say more about exactly how his new project could be part of the solution to the ills he identifies.
Indeed, wd welcome more from Michael (or anyone else) on methods like “vote-swapping” across different constituencies that could allow the poor bloody electorate to have a better chance of getting the current shower booted out.

john downes
john downes
1 year ago

The then plain Lindsay Hoyle was deputy Labour leader on Chorley BC before becoming MP in 1997 for the constituency, succeeding Tory Den Dover who, having become an MEP, resigned in 2008 after spending £750,000 on staffing his office with his wife and daughter

Last edited 1 year ago by john downes
Philippe W
PW
Philippe W
1 year ago

Conspiracy theorists believe the imbeciles we have in government – the people who made such an almighty mess of the last few years – are secretly working to bring about the end of civilisation and indeed human life itself.
No, they’re just imbeciles.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Philippe W

Hanlon’s razor is an adage or rule of thumb that states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Maureen Finucane
MF
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago

Blair. Never been jailed but should be for his warmongering.

Rob Kennard
Rob Kennard
1 year ago

Almighty local stink in Tiverton & Honiton recently as Tory HQ insisted on the luckless candidate best described as “next to useless” even by local Tory loyalists. And we all know what happened next.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

Is the problem that politics is not at all attractive to people who have ability? Like the old saying –
Those who can do, those who can’t teach and failing that go into politics.

dan jaynes
dan jaynes
1 year ago

Bit predictable to single out Chris Pincher but I suppose you need a headline to make it relevant. Otherwise good points. Equally needing reform is the selection of party candidates for local government councillors but only mitigated by the fact that most have no influence despite the corruption of the expenses bribe and the Mayor’s Parlour cellar. What is really needed is to get the party system out of the process but that’s a bit anarchic and will lead to too much uncertainty and disruption for the civil service and those who really control the levers.

Andrew S
Andrew S
1 year ago

Journalists could make their contribution to better politicians by being better journalists. Instead of inventing issues over small matters they could, for instance, look into and fairly report on poor candidate selection, poor candidates, goings on in Westminster they do not report until too much damage has been done.

Stop the yah-boo style of interviewing. Stop crucifying people who are decent just because it makes a story and the target does not support the journo’s political positiin.

SImon Fowler
SF
SImon Fowler
1 year ago

In general I think MPs perform an almost impossible task, whether in government or on the backbenches. They deserve our thanks and admiration.
But the quality – particularly of ministers – is shockingly poor. Compare today’s the calibre of today’s government with the members of Thatcher’s or Wilson’s cabinets of 40 and 50 years ago.
To attract better applicants, we need to pay MPs a decent salary, provide proper support with case workers, researchers etc (paid for by Parliament), and allow them some privacy.

Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
Jeremy Bonington-Jagworth
1 year ago

Chris Pincher is surely only accused of “inappropriate behaviour” not “sexual misconduct”.
And only on the basis of rumours.
Like he’s a bit gay isn’t he?!
He wasn’t accused of nipping a woman’s knee, but rumoured to have pinched a bloke’s bottom (and probably based on boorish bigoted blokey banter about it to boot).
Are you seriously suggesting the terrible Tories should have investigated insinuations from cruel Conservatives that Pincher was a perv?!
What next?
Starmer sacking sidekicks because Transphobic Tories told tales about the self-identified loitering in ladies loos?
There’s as much chance of Rotheram rozzers being required to do a realistic retrospective review of “Asian” “grooming” gangs!
And will the new project you’ve started report on the selection process for every candidate who might have a chance of coming out, and then being involved in a witch-hunt, even if they’ve just been outed!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

It’s funny that after all the other shenanigans by Johnson I’ve stuck with him because there are no decent Tory alternatives for leader, it’s important to maintain this government to make Brexit stick, and I accept the chaotic mess that is government led by anyone really – but the Pincher debacle has proven too much for me.
How could he approve someone for such a role after hearing about the allegations against him?