Friday, 21 August 2009

Reading West Selection Up In Air

The battle to replace Martin Salter as MP for Reading West has taken a new twist as LibDem candidate Patrick Murray unexpectedly stood down earlier this week.

According to a statement he explained that time pressures meant he was not able to effectively combine his duties as an Oxford city councillor with his commitment to campaigning. He paid his tributes and explained:
"as I live and work in Oxford I have found that I have not been able to give as much of my time to the residents of Reading West as I should have liked."
Conservative commentators have already jumped to the conclusion that Cllr Murray is leaving the local LibDems in the lurch and that this is a sign of their disarray and 'turmoil'. Cllr Willis is particularly confident this places the seat as a straight two-way contest between Conservative and Labour challengers in which his colleague Alok Sharma is almost certain to win against Labour's 'gaffe-prone' Naz Sarkar.

Meanwhile popular Battle Ward Councillor, Tony Jones, who resigned several decades of Labour party membership in 2008 is not so sure!

He calls for 'a real alternative on election day' - dropping his biggest hint yet that he is preparing to stand as a candidate in Reading West.


Update: In the Reading Post, Cllr Murray denied that he had been pressured to stand down by party activists hoping to put in a stronger showing as commentators continue predict Labour meltdown.

LibDem activist blog LibDem Voice reports Patrick Murray's decision not to contest the general election, with commenters raising the concern that restrictions limiting the field of potential candidates may not be a good thing.

Cllr Jones has announced he will not stand for re-election in Battle ward, thereby freeing him up to devote resources to a constituency fight.

Reading Post notes that Cllr Jones previously stated it would not be right to stand for council and parliament at the same time.

Former Labour MP for Reading East, Jane Griffiths repeats an unattributed rumour that Reading West LibDems may be lining up to support an 'independent' candidate.

Oranjepan says:
With his experience Cllr Jones isn't interested in helping lifelong opponents, and it is a given he has some indications that he has a realistic chance of putting up a strong fight in Reading West. So all that we're waiting for is the announcement that he will!
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  1. Has Jonesy done a deal with the libs then?

  2. '..popular..' - with himself perhaps (and that's doughtful!)

    '..and it is a given he has some indications that he has a realistic chance of putting up a strong fight in Reading West..' - really? On what evidence do you base that assertion? Has he been round for tea and told you?

  3. Sorry - my doughs and doubts got mixed...wonder why?

  4. First Salter, now Murray, what is happening?

    Tony Jones has spent so long as spokesman for Labour its hard to see how he will be very different though.

  5. How an invisible candidate quitting would leave the Libs in turmoil is hogwash even for Willis.

  6. Feel a bit sorry for him, only met him once and seemed like a nice guy. Although I'd say he was only a paper candidate would have expected to hear a little more of him (as we see Gareth's local pubs in the newspaper every week, usually a different pub though!)

  7. Don't you just hope that one day other MPs will live in the constituency they represent.

    Too much to ask for I guess in these days of professional politicians.


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