As they say in Vegas, It’s Showtime!

Posted 7 Feb 2013 by Walaa Idris

We all knew the Same Sex Marriage bill will pass in the commons. We also knew many Tories will not vote with their government. But what we didn’t know or expect is the numbers we saw on Tuesday. More Tories abstained and voted against the bill than with the government. As surprises go, that was a big one.

This morning Michael Gove was forced to abandoned his GCSE reforms, maybe not altogether. But his very ambitious and bold changes will not be the EBac system he worked hard to implement. Whispers suggest the obstruction came from the DPM.

The other, albeit a milder shocker is that the Eastleigh by – election will not take place this May but will be held in just three weeks on February 28. Marking the occasion the DPM is to deliver a speech attacking his coalition partners for blocking the Mansion Tax. Where will that speech be delivered? You guessed it, Eastleigh!

After the AV referendum, Lords Reforms, Boundary Changes, squabble over the NHS reforms and constantly telling us that if it wasn’t for them this government will order the killing of every first born, now we finally have our showdown. This by- election is the first time where the gloves will truly come off. Eastleigh is a straight forward two way race. Before the 2010 election, Chris Huhne held the seat with only a couple of hundred votes, after running for his party leadership, his popularity increased that to a 3,684 majority. As for Labour, they are just spectators in Eastleigh. There the Lib Dems run the council and have a strong grassroots base. So naturally they are the favourite’s to win and hold their seat. On the other hand we have Maria Hutchings who fought the seat in 2010 and have been the Conservative spokesman ever since, I hope the association selects her to stand, as this no time for daft ideas.

But most of all and for the first time since the Coalition was formed; this is the first true test for this government. My concern here is for my party. As this is also a test for Cameron as a party and a parliamentary party leader. A test of our party’s unity, its resolve and its brand as it is seen by outsiders and the public currently.

To me Eastleigh is ‘make or break’ time and I am sure that I am not alone in thinking it.

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