Crossing statement defies poll purdah
Political Editor Paul Francis
If you want to know how the government plans to tackle air pollution, you may have to wait until after the election. Ministers went to court this week saying publishing the strategy would breach the rules on election purdah – the convention that government does not do anything during a campaign with political implications.
Which begs the question as to how an announcement on the route of the third Thames crossing was possible.
Now that Nigel Farage has declared that he won’t be standing for Parliament in the seat of South Thanet, Ukip will confirm its candidate this week.
And the frontrunner seems to be Ukip leader of Thanet council Chris Wells. If selected, there would be an interesting political symmetry with his chief opponent Craig Mackinlay.
Mr Wells was once a Conservative before defecting to Ukip, while Mr Mackinlay was a former member of Ukip before defecting to the Conservatives.
The venue for the selection meeting will be a local hotel. Party managers may have learned from last time when journalists gleefully pointed out that the venue for the selection of Nigel Farage was The Oddfellows Hall.
Ashford MP Damian Green looks likely to be appearing on a TV screens rather a lot in the next few weeks.
It seems that he has been given the job of acting as one of the Conservatives’ chief election spin doctors. A a former journalist, he knows how the game is played.
We are not quite sure, however, whether the description of him by political pundit Robert Peston as a “licensed attack dog” is entirely accurate.
Labour will be fielding rather a lot of new faces in the county at the general election, with several candidates who stood in 2015 declining to put their name forward. There is little doubt many of them feel Jeremy Corbyn is not the person to win the confidence of middle England voters
Knocking on doors remains one of the traditional ways of drumming up support at elections but politicians are increasingly turning to social media.
Will any dare in the next six weeks to use their 140 characters to declare they’ve had a miserable time canvassing and are seriously worried about their prospects?
We are not hopeful.
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