Oh dear, oh dear. Quentin Davies has defected to the Labour Party. He has certainly been semi-detached from the Party for some time and is someone who has always thought that his talents have never been recognised by the Conservative leadership. Despite being thought to be on the left of the Party he supported Iain Duncan Smith in 2001 and flirted very much with David Davis in 2005. IDS made him Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, but David Trimble thought he was bonkers and refused to have meetings with him. I guess that like Peter Temple-Morris, he views this as his only way into the House of Lords. What a disloyal s***. Or possibly he will be Gordon Brown's Northern Ireland Secretary in a Government of all the talents - if that is the case it shows just how few talents Brown has available to him.
Right, that's the denunciation out of the way, now to a bit of slightly more dispassionate analysis. Is this a blow to the Conservative Party? Yes. Is this a triumph for Gordon Brown? Yes. Will it have any long term effects? Probably not. Defections are always embarrassing for the party which a politician has left and this one will be no different. There will be many people who rubbish Quentin Davies over the next few days and there will be many Labour MPs trumpeting his defection from the rooftops. We'd do if it were happening the other way round. And you know, it's entirely possible that there will be a defection the other way before very long, so let's hope Labour MPs do not go overboard on the rooftops.
By the way, can I just say how nice it was to See Quentin Davies at the Conservative History Group last week. In the light of today's events he truly is Conservative history.
UPDATE: Phil Woolas has just described this as the most significant defection since 1945. No danger of overstating the case there then...