Why David Cameron might be grateful to Mark Reckless defecting
Whilst it might be accurate to say every constituency result on May the 7th was important, the result in Rochester & Strood might be the one that has most impact in this parliament.Â Anything that helps, to borrow LBJ’s maxim, about keeping the Eurosceptics inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside pissing in, is good for the Tories, Cameron and the continued life of this government.
Given the way the scheduled In/Out referendum has dominated events since the election (and will continue to do so, even after the result, particularly if it is a small victory for IN) and the smallness of his majority, defections to UKIP or scandal would be the major causes for that majority to be wiped out, as the health of Tory MPs in recent years has been exceptionally good (it is nearly a decade since the last Tory MP died of natural causes whilst in office, and only one in the last sixteen years.)
The chances of further defections to UKIP were reduced by Mark Reckless losing, and not only did he lose, but it was a very comfortable victory for the Tory candidate Kelly Tolhurst, I’m not sure many MPs will want to join Mark Reckless in potentially being a minor footnote in history, pour encourager les autres as they say, particularly if the current contretemps in UKIP end in Douglas Carswell leaving UKIP.
The odds on the year of the next General Election are available here, 2020 is at 2/5.