Cross­ing state­ment de­fies poll pur­dah

Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor Paul Fran­cis

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Earthquake: -

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.

Fol­low Paul on Twit­ter for all Kent’s po­lit­i­cal news and gos­sip @ PaulOnPol­i­tics

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