How many seats are going to be opened up?
There’s one group of people who are going to be absolutely delighted by the continued revelations about MPs in what’s becoming known as the “Manure Parliament“. These are those who have set their heart on becoming an MP and so far have not found a winnable seat.
I would not be surprised if quite a few of them are waiting in front of their computers every evening for news of who the Telegraph is writing about in the latest edition.
For normally, at this stage before an election the chances of making it if you have have not been selected are slim. David Cameron found that in the lead up to the 2001 general election when he’d tried on constituency after another but then had a lucky break when the multi-millionaire Tory incumbent at Witney in Oxfordshire, Shaun Woodward*, decided to jump ship to Labour.
Now every day is bringing news of MPs announcing that they won’t be standing again. One this morning, Sir Peter Viggers the MP for Gosport, “claimed for a Â£1,645 floating â€œduck islandâ€ in the garden pond at his Hampshire home.” His 2005 majority was 5730.
How many similar casualties will the affair produce? Probably quite a few and if individual sitting MPs are not dealt with by their party nationally then local constituency organisations might decide to de-select.
This is likely to have big impact on the look of the next parliament with far few old hands and many of the new MPs coming from younger generations. There’s never been a better time since 1945 to try to become an MP.
There’s a full list of MPs covered by the Telegraph investigation here.