Will the climate change sceptic win the Peers’ Tory by election?
There’s a by election going on at the moment for a place in parliament which has hardly been covered in the media but which, potentially, could cause a problem for David Cameron.
There are 43 candidates fighting it out to win the support from an electorate of just 47 different people and the result is due the week after next. At stake is one of the hereditary Tory places in the House of Lords which was made vacant by the death in December of the Tory peer Lord Mowbray.
And for David Cameron there could be a problem – for one of the leading candidates is Viscount (Christopher) Monckton – the former aide to Margaret Thatcher who has become the leading world voice against climate change.
Monckton’s features in the Sunday Telegraph last November in which he “disputes the ‘facts’ of this impending apocalypse” and accuses the UN and its scientists of distorting the truth have become the main tracts for those who doubt whether global warming is in fact taking place.
And what could be more embarrassing for the young Tory leader if the next party member to be elected to parliament is playing such a role and has such views? For Cameron has sought to make so much of the green agenda to differentiate his Tory party from how they used to be perceived.
Although he is up against a huge number of opponents it is Monckton who has been making the running in what limited coverage there has been in the media. There’s a big piece about him today in the Guardian which notes that he worked for Margaret Thatcher “during her most abrasive ruling period” and describes the Blair government as “dictatorship … inflicted on us by stealth“.
The “electorate” are existing Tory peers in the Lords and not all of them, one would guess, are completely comfortable with Cameron. What better way for them to express their discontent than by supporting the Monckton bid?
The 55 year old peer has also been in the news over a game he invented. In 1999, he created the eternity puzzle (bottom picture) which offered a Â£1m prize to the first to crack it. It was won after 18 months. A second puzzle, Eternity II, is to be launched in July 2007, with a prize of $2 million.
Alas – there is not a betting market yet on the election. If there was then Monckton might be worth a punt.