David Cameron is launching the Conservative Cooperative Movement today:
He is set to announce the creation of the Conservative Co-operative Movement to help people form groups to take control of some local public services.
Chris Huhne has a head start on this. His policy review on public services made a big deal about mutuals running public services. He is also the only candidate in the leadership campaign to talk about the old Liberal idea of industrial democracy. I could already write his response to this new Tory initiative; what is Clegg’s?
Oh dear, and he was doing so well.
Linda Jack and Charlotte Gore have condemned Chris Huhne’s campaign for publishing an endorsement by Chris Clarke which contains a blatant attack on Nick Clegg, branding him a Tory (unless there is a third candidate of whom I was previously unaware). It’s negative. It’s untrue.
Up until now I’ve not been that fussed about the level of yah-boo in this contest. A lot of Chris’ attempts to define himself have been leapt upon by his opponents as implicit attacks on Nick Clegg. I don’t think that is fair, and having spoken to members of his campaign team I’m very conscious of how keen (at least some of them) are to make this a fair fight.
But as Charlotte says, this is crossing a line. It has handed Chris’ opponents to take the gloves off themselves. He ought to take that quote down immediately, and not use Chris Clarke on any of his subsequent publicity materials.
UPDATE: The offending quote has been taken down. I still think the damage has been done and that the whole post should be taken down as a symbolic gesture, but at least it suggests they’re listening. Power of the blog, eh?
UPDATE 2: Another comment has now been added acknowledging that the article has been edited and that Anna Werrin is taking responsibility, which is much better and will hopefully defuse the situation. As Sam writes below, it does seem to have been cock up rather than conspiracy (although as someone who has chronicled Team Clegg’s various cock ups over the weeks, I have to say such things shouldn’t be treated too lightly).