Conservative candidate Tony Lit is in a great deal of trouble. It appears, according to the Telegraph and Labour campaign organiser Tom Watson, that just one week before agreeing to be David Cameron’s candidate, he attended a Labour party fundraiser (photo above) where his company, Sunrise Radio made a £4,800 donation.
His excuse, we can assume, is that there is that his political activities as a representative of his former business are a different matter to his personal decisions.
On that note his statement to the Telegraph says “As a businessman, I did indeed attend this event for the Asian business community but, like many British Asians, I feel the Labour Government does not have the answers to the challenges that face the country.”
But the timing is terrible, and rather highlights just how rapidly the Conservatives picked their candidate, causing much complaint from their own side and a defection of a local party member to the Liberal Democrats.
The other thing it highlights, which is not good for David Cameron is just how superficial his project is proving to be if Tony Lit, Blair-donor one week, Cameron-candidate the next, is his chosen representative of what he wants to change in his own party. It takes the whole ‘heir to Blair’ line to an embarrassing extreme.
It’s also not obviously smart for Labour to have highlighted this. The public could well read this as confirmation of the Liberal Democrat message of ‘vote conservative, get labour’. If there is an anti-Labour majority in Ealing the splitting of that opposition vote is Labour’s best chance of holding the seat.
This event though should polarise it. Certainly the odds I just checked on Betfair (after yesterday’s story) have shifted with the Conservatives in third on 4.4 and Liberal Democrats second on 3.6, Labour unchanged. That looks like the start of momentum to me and what Labour don’t want is a clear anti-Labour opponent to emerge in the next four days.
This could be the story that decides the outcome on Thursday.