Monitor: LONDON MAYORAL CONTEST
Comment on the twists and turns in Steven Norris's attempt to win the Tory candidature
Saturday 18 December 1999
WHAT A complete and utter shambles the Tory party has become. Who stands as its candidate for Mayor of London may not be of much interest to anyone outside the capital. But the way the party is shooting itself in the foot will worry voters all over the country. It sums up what is wrong with the Tories. After the Jeffrey Archer scandal, we have the Steve Norris fiasco. The one candidate who could give Labour a run for its money was dumped because of a protest letter from, among others, the mother of a Tory MP. Now Norris is back in the running again. It was bizarre that some Tories thought it was OK to ask the great British public to vote for Michael Portillo, a married man who admits "homosexual experiences" whilst young, but not Norris, who happily admits to having five mistresses? Maybe they really ARE finished!
THE SAGA of Archer and Norris has tried the patience of Londoners and has doubtlessly bored all those in the rest of Britain. Mr Hague would be unwise to underestimate the much wider damage that this affair has inflicted upon his leadership. If this drama were but an isolated incident then Mr Hague could be forgiven if he ignored it. In truth it fits a depressingly distinct pattern of drift followed by a disaster.
AFTER A meeting dubbed "the night of the wronged wives", a female-dominated Tory committee blocked the bid by former Transport Minister Steven "Five Mistresses" (aka, Knobber) Norris to become the party's candidate for Mayor of London. How ironic. Knobber shafted by a bunch of women, instead of the other way round. Now it seems he's back on top. Situation normal. (Sue Carroll)
WHY ARE the Tories such a dreadful mess - in London, especially? Whatever the answer may be, it isn't that William Hague should interfere more. Tony Blair's problem is that he interferes far too much: if Labour Party members in London really do want Ken Livingstone as Mayor, Downing Street really shouldn't be forcing Frank Dobson on them. Similarly, if Conservative Party members in London really do want Steve Norris, then William Hague shouldn't be attempting to force anyone else on them. To Mr Hague's credit, he isn't doing this. There is no evidence, of course, that London Conservatives actually do want Steven Norris.
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