â€œSorry, no, I have never said Iâ€™m anti-women. I have got absolutely nothing against women. Who cooks my lunch? Who cooks my dinner? How did my wonderful three children appear? Women, you canâ€™t do without them. My god, take my wife.â€ What does she do for a living? â€œWhat does she do? She looks after me. Looks after the children. Runs the house.â€
The above is attributed to SW Norfolk Tory big-wig, Sir Jeremy Bagge, in a Telegraph interview by Melissa Kite ahead of tonight’s big battle in Swaffam over the move to de-select the former Lib Dem anti-monarchy campaigner, Liz Truss, as Tory candidate. (HatTip Ben Brogan)
Bagge is one of the people who have been lobbied hard by David Cameron in a battle that could have wider implications for the party as it seeks to appear to be more diverse.
Truss’s position was thrown open to a full meeting of the local association after lurid details about an affair she’d had with an MP appeared in the national press. The story of that business was not new – it had all been covered widely in 2006 and therein lie the problem. Ms Truss says she was completely open with Tory HQ officials about this – after all it was all on the record.
Since the move to re-open the selection there’s been heavy pressure on local party officials – so much so that if Liz Truss loses then it could be seen as a big set-back for the Tory leader in a critical period so close to the election.
My guess is that in spite of the high-blown rhetoric Truss will be re-selected tonight after a strong resolution has been approved attacking unnamed officials in Tory central office for not passing on the full information about her to the local party. This could act as a lightning conductor for the local anger and get all sides off the hook.
A second alternative is that an open primary could be held in which Truss would have to fight it out all over again. The problem here is that it keeps the whole business up in the air for a few more weeks and why should she have to battle it out again?
Whatever I predict that Liz Truss will be the Tory candidate there at the general election and will do as well or even better than the swing for her new party in that part of East Anglia. There’s nothing like name recognition to get the the voters out.