Embarrassing or what, Jeremy Hunt?
Today SW Surrey Conservatives have announced they are suspending their By-Election candidate Ian Mitchell due to his inappropriate social media posts.
He said Mr Hunt was a “fence-sitter” on the EU, called the new prime minister Rishi Sunak a “tax dodging billionaire”, and has called the UK’s foreign aid budget, immigration issues and benefits system “a drain on society”.
Perhaps a little due diligence is called for before endorsing Tory prospective Waverley borough council candidates in future, eh Jeremy?
So Chiddingfold resident Mr Mitchell may be out of the running for Thursday’s By-election, prompted by the death of John Gray, the Tory councillor since 2015.
A letter sent to residents on 26 November included a personal endorsement from Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP, who says he is…
“looking forward to working with him.”
Statement From SW Surrey Conservative Association.
Just in case you cannot read the small print above: Tuesday, 29 November 2022
We have been made aware of a social-media post made by Ian Mitchell that could be considered to be an inappropriate use of social media. Given this, we have suspended Mr Mitchell from the Conservative Association pending an investigation into his conduct that may potentially lead to disciplinary proceedings being taken.
In light of this suspension, we will not campaign further in the by-election to be held on 1 December and in the event that Mr Mitchell wins the by-election, he will not be eligible to join the Conservative Group until such time as his suspension has been lifted.
So all that shoe leather worn down schlepping around the rural villages of Alfold & Dunsfold by Lib Dem & Labour councillors may have been wasted.
The victor will be installed as Cllr Gray’s successor for just six months, with voters returning to polling stations next May to elect their borough representatives for the next four years.
The result could indicate how national and local politics may affect the 2023 borough-wide poll.
Conservative candidates have won Chiddingfold and Dunsfold’s borough council seats since the seat came into being at the 2003 election.
But the Tories have seen their share of the vote dwindle in recent elections, slipping from a high of 83.7 per cent in 2007 down to 41.5 per cent at the last election in 2019.
The Conservative’s lead was cut from 846 in 2015 to just 200 in 2019 as the Green Party, and Lib Dems surged, pushing Labour into a distant fifth place.
The Greens withdrew their by-election candidate “to avoid splitting the progressive vote” and have since backed Lib Dem hopeful Dave Busby.