Sunday, 9 January 2011

Is Chloe Smith 'Verging' on religous persecution?

Intrigued by this article in the Mail on Sunday about Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, where she seems to have a problem with an official of the Church. It would seem that Chloe Smith, aged 28, feels 'pressured' by a man of 64 - and yet seems unable to resort to her ultimate deterrent, namely the whip! As with most stories that break in the press, details are scarce, with only insinuations being made by the reporter and little else on which an opinion can be formed.

It is noted that the article refers to Chloe Smith as being a "steely Commons operator", although her appointment no doubt had nothing to do with PR on the part of her boss elevating her in the first place. Of course not! Apologies for my cynicism surfacing so early in the post! However, one has to question, first the election and second, the appointment of a person 28 years of age as an MP and government whip. Exactly what experience does someone this young bring to democracy? As an aside, it is always a matter of interest that the press continually manage to find the most flattering picture to include in articles. In this particular article the picture of Chloe Smith almost has the appearance of a nun, ie virginal, in plain clothes. This leads me on to an old joke: What do you call a nun on a bicycle? Virgin Mobile - sorry, once again, I digress.........

Returning to the serious matter in hand, namely the accusations of Chloe Smith against Verger Ian Evans, it would seem at first sight that this is about the situation whereby an activist feels that the constituency MP is not 'pulling her weight' and decided to make an issue of that. What is interesting is that an "emergency meeting" was called and one that was attended by Chloe Smith's parents, her agent and Baroness Shephard, a former Tory Education Secretary who lives locally - although no other information is provided as to who else was present.

What is even more interesting is the position of those who held this "emergency meeting". Whilst not being privy to the current rules and regulations of Conservative branch and emergency meetings, when I was Vice Chairman of a Conservative Association it was the case that the those attending had to be party members and that for a quorum to be present, at least two out of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer needed to be in attendance. Perhaps that is something an interested member of the local association may wish to investigate?

In the newspaper's report it is noted that:
"The meeting decided to put the appropriate authorities on notice about Mr Evans."
yet later, in the report, we learn:
"Norfolk Police had no record of a complaint against Mr Evans."
Now, if the appropriate authorities were put on notice, besides the church authorities - and especially in the case of alleged 'stalking' - it is reasonable to assume the police would have been contacted - yet they were not.

Another point for interested local activists to query is whether minutes were kept of this "emergency meeting" and if not why not, as surely that would be against party constitution rules? It is also noted from the report that the executive committee of the local branch were obviously not in attendance - so what was this "emergency meeting" - a "kangaroo court" and if so, was it in accordance with branch rules?

My initial reaction to the Mail on Sunday's article is that Chloe Smith has but taken a leaf out of her Leader's book and acted like a dictator - making up the rules as she went along. On the other hand, perhaps Chloe Smith might wish to correct the record?

Update: I have emailed a link to this post to Tim Montgomerie, Conservative Home, asking whether he may wish to comment.

1 comment:

Edward Spalton said...

Baroness Shephard (a former teacher herself) looked like a rather reassuring, mumsy traditional Tory.

If my information is correct, as Education Secretary she went with the flow of the "progressive" views of her departmental officials, setting back the cause of improved reading standards etc through traditional teaching methods by many years(for which all the necessary ammunition was to her hand)

So I'm not surprised that she should lend her authority within the party to a bit of skulduggery on behalf of a soft focus, Cameroon, "heir to Blair", A list, lobby fodder type. It's true to form.