Whatever happens in May, Horsham will have a new MP because Francis Maude has announced that he is standing down. It will be interesting to see who is chosen there because Horsham is the sort of place where the Tories can win easily even when their candidate is unpopular with many people because of blatant profiteering on expenses.
There may well be some local member, like Philip Circus, who fancies a go, but such a safe seat is the sort of place where Central Office like to parachute in somebody they owe massive favours to.
The big question is whether Henry Smith will try the chicken run like his predecessor did. Horsham is certainly safer than Crawley for him and he doesn’t seem to have been doing much active campaigning in Crawley this year. As the Horsham and Crawley associations used to be merged he will know a lot of the people over there, but on the other hand a lot of the members over there will know him and I get the impression he isn’t hugely popular outside Crawley.
If he did the chicken run quickly enough, it could even allow his chum Liam Marshall-Ascough to transfer from Stoke-on-Trent to Crawley.
For the time being I will just mischeivously assume that Maude tipped Henry off and he is preparing to jump ship, until such time as it is denied. At which point we will know that the lack of activity in the Crawley Tory camp is not because of that but because of lack of funds or because they are preoccupied fighting amongst themselves. Again.