A Thetford vicar has used strong words to voice concerns about outsiders being selected as parliamentary candidates in his constituency. He also accuses David Cameron of â€œarrogant interferenceâ€.
Canon Bob Baker makes no direct reference to Liz Truss, the Conservative candidate selected for South West Norfolk who will need all her inner strength and charm today when she faces a call for her deselection at Swaffham Conservative Club following revelations about an affair she had in the past.
He has written a letter to the Eastern Daily Press expressing his views about the kind of person who should represent his flock, with harsh words about the present MP Christopher Fraser:
â€œTheford voters need parliamentary candidates who live in Norfolk, care about Thetford and are willing to work hard for all their constituents.
â€œGillian Shephard delivered on all three counts, Christopher Fraser on none. If the local Conservatives cannot find a candidate who meets these criteria, voters should look to another party.Â They would be wise to do that anyway if David Cameronâ€™s arrogant interference in local matters is indicative of his kind of leadership.â€
I would like to ask Canon Baker if the same rule of law applies to vicars. Are only Norfolk vicars able to work with Norfolk parishoners? I have yet to meet a vicar who was born and bred on his home turf.
Interestingly, there is a report in Saturdayâ€™s Eastern Daily Press reporting on local peopleâ€™s views â€“ yet again – about Liz Truss, and not one of them cared about her previous indiscretion, preferring to judge her on her present life. The headline sums it up: â€œVerdict from the streets of Swaffham: Itâ€™s much a do about nothing.â€
I see the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, hails from Cornwall. I wonder if Canon Baker deems him unsuitable for this privileged ecclesiastical position because he was not Norfolk born and bred.
One wonders how in tune Canon Baker is with the views of local voters.
UPDATE 9pm: Canon Baker will no doubt be disappointed to learn that Liz survived attempts to deselect her, and a powerful speech by Baroness Shephard could have played a vital part, according to this Sky News report. Surely it’s now time to draw a line under this business and give the good people of Norfolk some peace, and let Liz get on with doing her job.