Tories expected to gain from Labour, Greens might overtake LibDems for third place, former boxer Terry Marsh and FO irritant Craig Murray are standing, and the BNP candidate is a farking Reverend (do you think he's fundamentally misunderstood his own religion a bit?)
Radio 4 is doing a special about this (or did they, last night?). Ian Gibson was an outstanding MP IMHO and I am well-pissed off that he got the boot. I hope whoever gets in his place is an enormous trouble-maker to the Labour Establishment, frankly. The very least they deserve.
I'm never very good at figuring out what other people think, lol. I know that his constituency party was furious about him being deselected. Other MPs who committed similar "crimes" were allowed to pay back the difference, but not Gibson; who unusually has a science rather than politics/legal background. I reckon he didn't do enough brown-nosing of the whips and other types high in the party hierarchy. He can come across as arrogant, but mostly he seems very direct and to the point. He is/was quite popular locally (I think). It's one of those standard "They're all in it for the perks, except MY local MP" type of reactions.
I hope he does get in as an Independent, would serve Labour right. He is well connected, many people felt that they had a personal link to him and that he was alright. I think I may have met him once.
He's definitely not standing, apparently - but lots of people reckon he might have won if he had. There was a piece about it on Today this morning, and lots of Labour voters were saying they'd been happy to vote for him but weren't enthused by the new Labour candidate. Sounds as though Labour might have shot itself in the foot.
Actually <handbrake turn> having looked in to it, I think the Labour party have done the right thing here. Gibson's expenses claims were distinctly dodgy, and they were right to censure him I think. Causing this by-election seems like a big case of foot-stamping on his part.
PW, explain to me what Gibson did wrong? Coz I'm struggling to get it.
He should have charged his daughter market rate for rent and deducted that from his expenses. That's the only thing I can see that he should (could) have done different. He could pay that back now like other MPs have been allowed to pay back amounts and get to stay in Parliament.
Alternatively, the taxpaper would be no better off, and there would have been no scandal if he had:
* Stayed in a Hotel for those 3 nights/week. /OR/ * Owned the same flat and claimed same amount of expenses on it but not let his daughter stay there rent-free for 18 months.
Selling the flat to her for under market-rate seems irrelevant to me. He could have sold it to anyone for any amount and tax-paper would be no better and no worse off.
Besides the daughter-flat things I mentioned, what else is said to be dodgy?
Well, I guess I just disagree with you that the below-market-rate thing was irrelevant. It seems like corruption to me - use taxpayers' money to subsidise your daughter's lifestyle, and then sell a flat that the taxpayer had an interest in (not an actual cash interest, but we had paid £80,000 towards its mortgage) at below-market value.
I take your point that the taxpayer wouldn't have seen a huge difference (in terms of cash) if he'd done things differently, but it's about the principle, not just the cash.
I heard the piece today - he is much loved in Norwich, and well known. But the censure was the right thing to do; yes, there may have been an element of example-setting, but he certainly pushed his luck. It's a real shame. If it had been Norwich South (Clarke), I think the Greens may have taken it.
Yes, the bearded wonder himself. He seems like a nice bloke (we have DSs who were schoolfriends), although was a piss-poor constituency MP while he was Home Secretary which is fair enough, I guess. But I think he's left his sudden interest in all things local too late - the Green Party, meanwhile, are very proactive and very efficient at letting us know what they've been up to. People have been very exercised about a new local Tescos, for example, and the Greens have been well and truly on the case.
Oh I love by-elections; the candidates always seem to have such interesting names. Who do we have here, then? Glenn Tingle of Ukip - that's quite sweet. I also rather like the Lib Dems' April Pond. One sadly has to assume that Laud Howling isn't his actual birth name.
Wonder whether Labour will be 2nd, 3rd or even 4th. Also wondering whether Greens will overtake LibDems. Also wondering whether Tory majority will be much to write home about. Will have to wonder until tomorrow however as results aren't out until midday (?)
It is disappointing that the Greens don't seem to be gaining much from the disillusion with Labour. I very much like the fact that Labour campaign manager is called Bob Lizard. His assistants are presumably Jill Slimeball and Adrian Creepy. Almost as good as a politician called Fabricant.