26 September 2011 3:44 PM
Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman is in for one hell of an evening
To view the original article CLICK HEREFreedom Association's youth wing, and if the messages being posted about him on Facebook are anything to go by, he's in for a tough time.
"Turncoat! Judas!" exclaimed one member. Another wrote: "Hell would have to freeze over to miss this once in a lifetime event. What a booking!"
The reason people hate Mr Bannerman is not that he defected, but because of the way he did it. He didn't quit after a bust-up or after gradually drifting away from the party - it was entirely without warning.
In fact, in the month that he joined the Conservatives, he was published in the Campaign for an Independent Britain's magazine, saying:
"The ridiculous choices of the Coalition Government, to spend more on EU membership (now £48 million a day) and foreign aid (£23 million a day) when we are making dangerous cuts to our own military services speaks volumes. They cut at home to squander money abroad. And we call these politicians our public servants!"Yet on the day of his defection, he claimed that he was "impressed" by David Cameron's leadership. He said: "I have been pleased with the robust stance taken by David Cameron and Conservative MEPs over the EU Budget negotiations and I believe that it is Conservative MEPs who are working hard to defend Britain's interests."
Needless to say, UKIP members feel let down after investing time and considerable sums of money to help get him elected.
But Mr Bannerman has probably made the right choice politically. Several months before he defected, I was told by a senior UKIP source that the members were unlikely to reselect him for the next European elections. His future now seems pretty secure. At the last European elections, the Tories automatically put incumbent MEPs at the top the top of party lists. If the same system is repeated for the 2014 elections, he is effectively guaranteed reelection.
Anyway, back to tonight. Around half the audience are likely to be Tory supporters - and a Tory MP is listed on Facebook as attending. So although there will be critics, I wonder if Mr Bannerman will also have some defenders. Whatever happens, the Q&A is sure to be riveting.
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