Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Labour 'dirty tricks' - allegedly

It is alleged by a former assistant to Labour MP Cathy Atherton (whose website is here), MP for Falmouth & Camborne, that she asked him to "dig the dirt" on a gay Conservative rival. Paul Phillips alleges he was asked by the MP to look for anything "salacious" in the past of Ashley Crossley, who is running for the Falmouth and Cambourne seat.

Paul Philips apparently refused and resigned from his job, citing:

"As a gay man, he feels it is offensive to think of someone's sexual orientation as something salacious that would be given undue prominence because he is not heterosexual."

and is now beginning proceedings against Cathy Atherton MP for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Readers of this blog may recall that I wrote about Ashley Crossley last August, concerning the attempts of some members of his constituency association to deselect him as Conservative PPC for the Falmouth and Camborne constituency, on the grounds that he was 'not good enough' for the job, but stating (and please stifle your laughter here!) that they had 'no problem with his sexuality'. His Conservative web profile is here, and the local association website is here. (I am including links to both Atherton's and Crossley's web presences as an attempt to maintain a semblance of neutrality)

If Mr Philips succeeds in his tribunal claims it will show that the Labour Party is little better than the Conservative Party, when push comes to shove, in its willingness to exploit the perceived prejudices of potential voters in order to weaken others. I don't consider myself more than usually prudish, in fact I'm not prudish at all, but it is salutary to learn of the latent bigotry which underlies the present and the earlier matters touching upon the possible candidacy of Ashley Crossley in both our major political parties.

UPDATE: (Wednesday 22DEC04 16.35 GMT) Relating to the earlier story from August, that I referred to above, the Telegraph reported yesterday that "virtually the entire leadership of [Falmouth] Conservative association was sacked yesterday for allegedly promoting the UK Independence Party". Five of the six who have been sacked, including the Chairman and Treasurer, have been barred indefinitely from holding office in the local association or from standing for election under the Tory banner in the area. The sixth has been barred from holding any office in any Tory association and from standing for any elected public office as a Conservative candidate for at least a year. Ashley Crossley remains the consituency PPC for the next General Election. A necessary purging of bigotry, it seems.


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