George Osborne has given an interview to the GMTV Sunday Programme in which he talks openly about approaches he has made to LibDem AND Labour MPs, urging them to cross the floor. I'm not sure how wise this is. The David Laws incident is well known but it is the first time he has confirmed that Labour MPs have been approached. I suppose Kate Hoey and Frank Field would have been the obvious targets. Here's the extract...
Gloria del Piero:
There were rumours that you asked David Laws to join the Tories and said he could get a Shadow Cabinet post. Clear that one up for us…
George Osborne: Well it was a private conversation between the two of us and only one person went and told the press about it, I guess, because it wasn’t me, so you’d better go and get David Laws on your programme and he will tell you. Or maybe he won’t.
Gloria del Piero: What were the consequences of that conversation?
George Osborne: He’s still a Liberal Democrat MP.
Gloria del Piero: Do you wish he wasn’t?
George Osborne: We are a big tent. We welcome in people from across the political spectrum. We’ve got councillors who have switched over to us and there’s a real sense at the moment that the excitement is with us, that people are coming to join us. In my own local area people are coming to join my local party. And you know there are quite a lot of ideological soulmates out there who say ‘Well hold on, actually the Conservative party are the future and actually this lot have had their go and they’re the past.’
Gloria del Piero: So are you and your colleagues talking to other Liberal Democrats?
George Osborne: We talk to lots of people. Labour MPs are well.
Gloria del Piero: You’re talking to Labour MPs?
George Osborne: Let me just tell you, let me just tell you, I’m not sure I can promise you that on GMTV we would reveal any defections first, but I promise you I will certainly come on this programme if we get anyone defecting.
Gloria del Piero: But are you telling me that you’ve had conversations with Labour MPs
George Osborne: Well, I’ve had conversations with Labour MPs and Liberal Democrats but no-one yet has taken the bait.
So to all the Tories who are reading this, which Labour & LibDem MPs would you feel comfortable welcoming into the Conservative Party?
UPDATE FROM PA: "David Cameron today launched a bid to woo Liberal Democrat voters, telling them there is a home for them in his "modern, moderate Conservative Party". Accusing Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of causing a breakdown in trust in politics, the Tory leader called for Liberal and Conservative supporters to "rally together behind an alternative government-in-waiting". And he said the time was right for a "new Liberal-Conservative consensus" combining individual freedom and social responsibility.