Uncle Rob, the Tory

THE Conservatives choose their Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary candidate at an ‘open primary’ vote tonight. With the personal pledges flying about in his favour, it would be a jackal of a gambler to post a bet for anybody apart from Councillor Simon Marcus to come through the contest as the victor.

That said, it’s not that these evenings do not generate a few little storylines to feast on. Andrew Marshall, the former Conservative group leader, is apparently going to be missing from the audience with ‘work’. Does that mean his unanswered questions on where the hopefuls stand on Europe still won’t get dealt with? I’ve been assured he isn’t languishing in an iron mask somewhere for daring to ask a reasonable, topical question.

For the diary page spotters, there’s another bonus. The moderator ensuring fair play at tonight’s contest is due to be Robert Hayward, the former Conservative MP for Kingswood. A familiar name? His niece is Sarah Hayward, Camden Council’s Labour leader – the first council leader I can remember being compared to Lady Astor by the New Journal‘s diarist John Gulliver. Apparently Mr Hayward thinks Sarah is ‘fantastic but just a little misguided’.

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