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The CON Eastleigh campaign goes into damage limitation mode for the final week

February 21st, 2013

On balance keeping Hutchings off 5live today was correct

No doubt the post mortem on the CON Eastleigh campaign will focus how the party found itself lumbered with a candidate in a crucial by-election that had to be gagged for almost all of the time.

This morning on 5live the CON dilemma will be magnified because a live hustings is due to be broadcast on national radio and Maria Hutchings will not be there.

Clearly it’s been decided that on balance less damage will be done by not having her appear

The problem, of course, is that her outspokeness has become THE issue of this intensive short campaign and if she had taken part then all the focus would be on getting her to say something even more controversial.

    What I find extraordinary is that she was selected as candidate in the first place. It is not as if her personality traits were not known or that this by-election has come as a surprise.

The contest has, of course, been on the cards for more than a year and every little thing should have been thought about and planned.

The problem that Tory bosses had a fortnight ago was what Hutchings might have done if she hadn’t been selected. She’d stood against Huhne in 2010 and was the obvious choice.

One theory that I’ve heard is that CCHQ were worried that if they hadn’t have chosen her then she would have found a way of running anyway maybe as an independent or even for Ukip.

What is done is done. The election is a week today.

  • The 5live programme from Eastleigh starts at 10am.
  • Mike Smithson

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