The Party needs to learn from the very serious mistakes we made (especially the manner in which we were manipulated by the defecting Labour councillors during the campaign).So reveals London MP Mark Field writing today on Conservative Home He was commenting on the defection to the Tories of five Labour councillors during the by-election campaign.
There was little media interest at the time in the real story behind the defections which were led by controversial Ealing councillor Gurcharan Singh.
Mr Singh had been desperate to become Labour’s candidate in the by-election. He was furious when he was told he wasn’t good enough to make Labour’s selection shortlist, that he jumped ship, taking four of his followers with him.
The facts didn’t stop the Tory spin machine:
David Cameron hailed the defections as an important moment in British politics (Tory Central Office press release, 9th July).
Tory blogger Iain Dale claimed the defections showed Labour’s campaign was disintegrating by the day.
Conservative Home even commissioned a Brown’s Ealing Bombshell graphic to celebrate the defections, claiming:
This is not only a massive boost to Tony Lit's by-election campaign it is also a serious blow to Gordon Brown.At 18 Doughty Street you could read:
Grant Shapps MP deserves a lot of credit for engineering these defections. By all accounts he is running a superb campaign in Ealing. Many congratulations to him and his team.
The stage is set for a potentially huge by-election upset, with the Conservatives facing their best opportunity ever to take the seat from Labour.The result showed that it was the Tory campaign, not Labour's which disintegrated - with far reaching consequences for the Tory Leader.
As for Grant Shapps getting the credit, many Tories - particularly local Ealing Southall activists believe he deserves full credit for his Party's disaster.
In fairness, it's not just Tory by election spin that proved laughably wide of the truth. Last week I reported on bizarre LibDem claims that Labour’s victory in Ealing Southall was a blow for Gordon Brown…
Former Leader Chas Kennedy let the cat out when he later admitted the result was in fact a boost for Gordon Brown
In the days following the disastrous result for David Cameron’s Conservatives, Mark Field upset many Tory activists when he said:
I believe that our by-election campaign in Ealing Southall may have done lasting damage to the Party’s outreach work in the British Asian Communities.If a week’s a long time in politics, it seems a month is, er, even longer…!