Village People: 13/03/2010


Old Tory rebel returns as UKIP for his old seat


Philip Dunne, the Conservative MP for Ludlow, is a bit of a rebel, voting against the majority of his Tory colleagues on issues such as raising MPs' salaries, or making abortion law more restrictive.

He opposed both. But he has been a model of conformity compared with Christopher Gill, a sausage manufacturer who preceded him as Conservative MP for Ludlow in 1987-2001. Gill was one of the diehard, right-wing, anti-EU rebels who did so much to destabilise John Major's government. He also complained that immigration had made white people "almost exiles in their own country". And he was for bringing back hanging and corporal punishment.

Now aged 73, Gill is back on the campaign trail, as the UK Independence Party candidate for Ludlow. The only effect of his intervention – if it has any effect at all – will be to destroy Dunne's majority, which was only 2,027 in 2005, and let Heather Kidd, the Liberal Democrat candidate, take the seat. She is understandably delighted. If you wonder why Gill might do such a thing, it is because, like numerous old Conservatives, he loathes David Cameron and all who travel with him. "I am standing against 'Call me Dave' Tories because I cannot tolerate their utter contempt for the concerns of voters," Mr Gill said yesterday.

Mother won't be happy with Labour campaign

Mothers' Day, you might think, is one tradition that does not need party politics. And yet into the email boxes of every Labour MP this week there popped a selection of "Mothers' Day materials" on sale at the Labour Party Campaign Shop. The headlines were clearly written by a frustrated poet with a love of alliteration. One leaflet is headed "Winning for Women" and another offers "A Future Fair for Families".

40p here, 40p there; it soon adds up

In a week when three MPs have appeared in court charged with serious offences relating to their expenses, let us be kind and recall one of the more absurd details to emerge from the great expenses scandal. Mike Gapes, Labour MP for Ilford, north London, was one of those named and shamed over whatboiled down to an overpayment of 40p, which he himself uncovered and pointed otu to the auditor, Sir Thomas Legg. He also solemnly wrote out a cheque, but I hear that the cheque has not been cashed. Come on, Sir Thomas. The government is grappling with a deficit of £178 billion. Bank that 40p and that is 0.000000002 per cent of the deficit covered.

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