The last time Conor Burns was suspended from the Tory Party – after using his position to intimidate a constituent who’d had business dealings with his family – his Labour challenger David Stokes called for him to step down as an MP.
This time around, with Burns’ latest suspension following allegations of still more “serious misconduct,” the local Labour Party in Bournemouth West is making no such demand.
Whisper it ever so gently, but Burns is seen by Labour as making the true blue Tory heartland seat look “eminently winnable.” Says my local comrade: “We will be gutted if Burns doesn’t stand. The first time he was suspended, die-hard local Tories were writing to the local paper saying they’d had enough. You can imagine how they feel now it’s happened a second time.
“We polled 14,400 votes in the last election and the Lib Dems were on 4,931. The Tories once polled over 30,000 and they’ve been in long-term decline. A Labour-Lib Dem tactical alliance would, I’m confident, topple Burns, who got 25,550 votes last time and that was at the height of Brexitmania and before the suspensions.”
John Beesley, the chair of Bournemouth West Conservative Association, has declined to comment on the ongoing inquiry into Burns, but claimed Burns had been “a diligent and hardworking MP for the last 12 years and has made a significant and positive impact on so many people locally…”