Lord Sutch sells `Chequers' to fund loonies

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The Independent Online
Its policies are sometimes thought eccentric and party finances could be in better shape, but its leader is getting set for a snap general election this year.

This call to political arms yesterday came not from the Conservatives but from Screaming Lord Sutch, founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party and Britain's longest serving party leader.

Lord Sutch announced he is selling his seaside home in Hastings, East Sussex, to finance 100 candidates at the general election in his biggest assault on the corridors of power. He hopes another 100 Loonies will pay for their own campaigns.

After triumphs in the Bootle by-election, where he killed off the SDP, and last year's contest in Rotherham, where he held his deposit, polling 1,114 votes, Lord Sutch feels his hour is at hand. He is convinced John Major will go to the country this year, saying: "I think this will be my year. I am getting my troops ready. We were only a few hundred votes behind the Conservatives in the Rotherham by-election and we have a deputy mayor in Ashburton, Devon."

Lord Sutch is to auction the house in George Street at the town's White Rock Theatre on 18 January. He said: "I hope that the sale will raise £100,000 for the candidates. The house is my country retreat - my Chequers, I call it. I am making a £65,000 loss on the house - but it will be worth it."

The last general election left him with debts and in September he admitted he was "about £15,000 short". Despite this, he lives comfortably in his main home, a five-floor house in west London.

Lord Sutch - slogan "Vote for Insanity...You Know It Makes Sense" - first stood for Parliament as a National Teenage Party candidate in the Stratford-on-Avon by-election in 1963 and has made nearly 40 appearances on the hustings since.