You’ve got to admire the chutzpah of the folks over at Tory Home when it comes to making up excuses to cover the decision to draft in Tony Lit, a now former direction of Sunset Radio, as their chosen candidate for Ealing Southall before the ink was even dry on his party membership card, especially in the face of comments like this, from one of the site’s visitors:
CCHQ has approved Tony Lit, not even a party member, as a Parliamentary by-election candidate!!
What sort of message does that send out to those who were kicked off the candidates list or have failed a Parliamentary Assessment Board?
Up until now, only the best candidates were approved to stand as by-election candidates. Now a non-member can. Standards seem to be slipping!
How can we be sure that Mr Lit is a bona fide Conservative and not an infiltrator from another party? Are there no suitable local candidates with a proven track record as a Conservative activist, officer or councillor?
The party could pay a high price for taking such an unprecedented risk.
I was told to become a Parliamentary candidate one has to be a Party member for at least 3 months and must pass PAB, but in this case ??????????????????
His father I have been told supported Labour candidate in 2004 GLA election (Ealing & Hilligndon)and they have never been a Tory supporter.
Only qualification is money, if Tory party thinks that being a Sikh he will get votes from local Asian (Sikh) community they must be kidding.
Labour party candidate will be also from Sikh community and he/she will have support among all the local Asian and religious communities, Sikh, Hindu, Muslims.
Toni lives in Osterly, London Boorough of Hounslow. Party has made a big mistake by chosing him. He will not win. Local politics has changed since his father stood as an Independent in 2001.
The secretive process demonstrated here is typical of the new Cameron approach to selecting candidates. Other local non-Asian candidates were not even informed the Party was actively selecting. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a Tory supporter anymore, as long as you fit Cameron’s new candidate profile. Why is it that this candidate with no history of support for the Party is parachuted into a seat which many people believe we have a chance. It is because he is Asian and his father is well-known locally. If we started placing white candidates into seats where the electorate were predominantly white there would be an uproar, and rightly so. Can someone at CCHQ or in the local association (if there is one) tell us how many people applied for this seat and how the process was undertaken, so at least we know that this wasn’t as much of an opportunistic set-up as it appears.
I informed CCHQ the same day MP Piara Khabra died.
This is the reply I got today from a high profile MP.
Many thanks for your email and for your work on pulling together this data.
I am writing to let you know that Francis Maude has decided that our candidate will actually be from Ealing Southall on this occasion which I’m afraid does rule you out this time round.
However, with your great knowledge of this area in mind we would be most grateful if you would still come and support the Conservative campaign in Ealing Southall throughout this very short by-election. We expect polling day to be 3 weeks today.
I have told Francis Maude of your interest and he has asked me to thank you for your interest and also to ask the above question about whether you will still be prepared to bring in support to help us achieve the best possible result?
Which eventually brought out this feeble excuse…
Re: some of the comments about how long Lit has been a member, I’ve added an update to the post:
Just to be clear, Tony did become a member of the Party before passing the Parliamentary Assessment Board. He has always voted Conservative but couldn’t join the Party earlier due to his directorship of the radio station, a position which he has duly resigned from. Also, much credit is due to Grant Shapps MP for getting Campaign Together off the ground.
OFCOM might well have had kittens about his staying on the radio station while a candidate, especially after his father’s run in with the then Radio Authority in 2001, which cost the station a £10,000 fine, but whether or not he joins a political party as a member has precisely fuck all to do with OFCOM, not to mention that I can find nothing in legislation, regulation or in the OFCOM codes that would permit them to restrict rights of political affiliation which are, of course, covered by provisions on freedom of association in the Human Rights Act.
This looks a lot to me like making bullshit excuses to conceal a bit of blatant opportunism on the part of CCHQ.
To which I can add only that if holding a directorship of the media company is incompatible with membership of the political party, then perhaps the folks at Tory Home would care to explain this list of directorships, extracted from the House of Commons register of members’ interests
Gerry Adams (Belfast West – Sinn Fein)
Adfero Ltd; news and information services company, of which I am an unremunerated director.
Tony Baldry (Banbury – Tory)
Chairman (non-executive) of Multi Media Television plc (interactive digital television through the Job Channel and interactive digital television consultancy) – no longer in current register
Executive Partner in Diamond Film Partnership; a UK partnership promoting UK film and television production rights.
Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe – Tory)
Director (non-executive) of Independent News and Media (UK).
John Selwyn Gummer (Suffolk Coastal – Tory)
Catholic Herald (non-executive); newspaper.
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry North West – Labour)
New Statesman Limited
Stuart, Graham (Beverley and Holderness – Tory)
CSL Publishing Ltd; publisher of consumer magazines and newspapers.
Wyatt, Derek (Sittingbourne and Sheppey – Labour)
Non-executive chairman (unremunerated) of opusmedia sports; an IPTV company (resigned 15 March 2006).
As they say on the terraces at football matchs – ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-bull-shit-ahhhhhhhhhhh!