Nick’s Sheffield Hallam opponent quits as Tory candidate after just 10 days

Last week, LDV reported the Tories’ embarrassment in Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam, where news had just emerged that the party’s newly selected candidate had been kicked off a town council for failing to attend meetings.

The Tories’ Daniel Gage vowed at the time to fight on, promising a 20-year plan to take the seat from the Lib Dems. Just a few hours later he was ‘resigned’ by the local Tory association.

The Sheffield Telegraph tells all:

Daniel Gage, aged 24, was selected on November 7 as the Conservative representative to challenge Mr Clegg for his Sheffield Hallam seat.

But his campaign launch last week coincided with the news he had been kicked off Dronfield Town Council for failing to attend a single meeting in six months. …

… Mr Gage was summoned to a 45-minute meeting in Bradford with Conservative regional officials. There he was shown 18 letters of complaint from Sheffield members.

He claims he was pressured into signing a resignation statement which said his disqualification from Dronfield Town Council had made his “position untenable”. He said he felt pressured into stepping down to avoid a repeat of a recent controversy in Norfolk where activists clashed with central Tories over their choice of candidate. He said today that his resignation note was written for him.

“I felt bullied into signing the resignation letter. I was told I should try to avoid a deselection process which could drag out over two weeks.”

But a Conservative spokesman refuted his claims and said the association will now begin the process of selecting a new parliamentary candidate. “We do not recognise Daniel’s version of events,” he insisted today.

Mr Gage assures the local paper this is not the end of his political ambitions – though the quote he offers probably won’t help him get re-selected by the Tories elsewhere:

Mr Gage said he intends to fight to remain the candidate for Hallam – “preferably as a Tory but, if not, as an independent.”

UPDATE: Anders Hanson has a blog post about Daniel Gage too.

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15 Comments

  • If the Tories had any tactical sense they’d try and persuade the Labour voters to back the Tory candidate to stop Clegg winning. Instead they seem to be fannying around.

  • Richard – Labour voters tend to prefer a Lib Dem to a Tory. I’m sure they’re more likely to vote for clegg to beat David Cameron’s Tory candidate.

  • James Robertson 18th Nov '09 - 6:23pm

    Exactly. I can’t see Labour supporters in Sheffield Hallam backing the Conservative candidate, whoever it is.

  • Malcolm Todd 19th Nov '09 - 8:38am

    I see the Sheffield Telegraph belongs to the growing ranks of those who think that ‘refuted’ is just a fancy word for ‘denied’. (sighs)

  • I think those posters who state that “Labour voters tend to prefer a Lib Dem to a Tory” are rather sticking their heads in the sand. Where do you think the Conservatives and Labour get enough votes to form a government? From each other, naturally.

    The big problem we face at present is Labour voters going straight to Blue without passing Yellow. In the recent past we have had many Blue voters going Yellow; Cameron has been seeking to take them back. Not too many Red going Yellow, which is why we hold far fewer ex-Labour seats (and where we do, they tend to be middle-class Guardianista seats rather than blue-collar seats) than ex-Conservative seats.

  • Herbert Brown 19th Nov '09 - 10:40am

    It seems to me that disaffected Labour voters are going to be rather less likely to switch to the Lib Dems if what’s on offer is “savage” cuts in public spending and a freeze in public sector pay.

    But no doubt someone will be along shortly to explain why that’s just the thing to hoover up votes in Labour seats.

  • Malcolm Todd 19th Nov '09 - 10:58am

    “But no doubt someone will be along shortly to explain why that’s just the thing to hoover up votes in Labour seats.”

    It’s not. But policy can’t all be about hoovering up ex-Labour votes, even from a purely cynical perspective. Of course “savage” was a stupid word to use – most of us knew that at the time, and the frequency with which it is thrown up on this forum is proof enough of that. But a recognition of severe constraints on public funds over the coming years absolutely is essential if we are not to haemorrhage support to the Tories from those yellow-blue voters who’ve given us a lot of the seats we’ve won in the last 12 years. Nor are Labour voters necessarily all big fans of public sector pay rises – the majority of the population, even of Labour voters, don’t work for the public sector, and many who do would rather see a pay freeze than huge cuts in services and therefore jobs, which is what they will fear if the Tories get in.

  • Malcolm – “Nor are Labour voters necessarily all big fans of public sector pay rises – the majority of the population, even of Labour voters, don’t work for the public sector, and many who do would rather see a pay freeze than huge cuts in services and therefore jobs, which is what they will fear if the Tories get in.”

    Indeed. Pace Matthews comments above, Liberals should seek to shine a light on all vested interests, and that includes the pubic sector as much as corporations and the media.

  • Malcolm Todd 19th Nov '09 - 11:23am

    Tabman – intrigued that we’re now planning to shine a light on the pubic sector. Has Clegg-over himself endorsed that policy? 😆

  • Herbert Brown 19th Nov '09 - 11:30am

    Malcolm

    Actually, I agree that if the party is going to be cynical about policy, the priority in electoral terms should be to protect the seats that are threatened by the Tories rather than chasing illusory gains from Labour.

    But it should be recognised that these are conflicting aims. And I don’t believe a lot of Labour voters are in favour of either spending cuts or a public sector pay freeze – particularly in the seats where the Lib Dems are the challengers to Labour. By definition, these are seats where the Conservative vote is low, and they aren’t likely to contain a lot of traditional middle-class swinging voters.

2 Trackbacks

  • By Top of the Blogs: The Golden Dozen #144 on Sun 22nd November 2009 at 8:16 pm.

    […] Blogger blog. And if you can survive that, Nich, you’ll be able to survive anything. 5. Nick’s Sheffield Hallam opponent quits as Tory candidate after just 10 days on Lib Dem Voice. Oh dear, mustn’t laugh. 6. Will the Conservatives deal with racism in the […]

  • By “You should have slept with mayor’s wife instead” on Tue 24th November 2009 at 10:04 pm.

    […] of The Star from Sheffield. It reports on the latest fall out amongst local Conservatives over the sacking of their prospective Parliament candidate for Sheffield Hallam, Daniel Gage: A TOP Sheffield Tory told a parliamentary candidate he had to quit for missing town […]

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