A sign of splits to come in the blue team?
The political blogging pioneer and former chief of staff to IDS, Tim Montgomerie, announced overnight that he was quitting the party over Cameron’s stance on the EU. This clearly was a carefully timed announcement designed to have an impact.
I’ve known Tim for a long time and have great respect for his journalistic and political skills. He founded ConservativeHome in the immediate aftermath of Tony Blair’s third LAB victory in 2005 when PB had been going for just over a year. He saw what a site independent of the party could do and built it very successfully to be a very powerful force.
It is true to say that he has never been a fan of Mr. Cameron. Indeed at one stage ConservativeHome was dubbed on PB as “ContinuityIDS” – a name that stuck for a time. He saw the potential for polling and member surveys at a very early stage and used these very effectively.
Tim moved on from the site he created to become Comment Editor of the Times and is now a very influential journalist.
There can be little doubt that the referendum has the potential to create all sorts of problems within the party. That the leadership should be pursuing a course that is very much out of kilter with the party’s MPs and members is inevitably going to create strains.
My guess is that Tim will feel less constrained not being a party member.