Saturday, 23 May 2009

Reaction to Andrew MacKay's meeting in Bracknell last night

Some of the writers on this blog were amongst the 400 or so constituents who attended the public meeting Andrew MacKay called last night.

During the meeting Mr MacKay stated his intention to put himself forward for reselection to his local party and that he wishes to stand again in Bracknell for the next General Election.

The feeling in the hall was very angry towards him and at least 80% of the comments were very negative towards him. There were many accusations put to him about his second homes claim and the ill feeling often spilled over into heckling and shouting with strong words used against him.

However on the media afterwards, Mr MacKay was trying to claim that the feeling of the meeting was with him and that 75% percent or more of the audience were with him. I am afraid that does not reflect the way I saw the meeting from where I was sitting. Watch this clip from BBC News where Mr MacKay is being interviewed by BBC South's Political Editor Peter Henley:

The gentlemen who interrupts Mr MacKay during the interview is absolutely right. He was misrepresenting the view of the meeting and another voice off camera later on points out that despite calls from the floor, the Chair of the meeting (David Osborn, the former Rector of Bracknell) refused to take a show of hands to gauge support towards the end.

In this piece from Sky News, Victoria Gatenby says that is is disingenuous for him to claim that he had the support of the meeting and that support is ebbing away from him, even amongst Conservative activists and that the feeling is he is unlikely to be reselected:

There has been further reaction to this story across the media and internet. Here are some that we have come across:

Here is the BBC News report on the meeting.

John Hicks from Radio Bracknell in a detailed and balanced review of the meeting thinks that the reaction within the hall may have signalled the beginning of the end for Bracknell's MP.

An article in the The Independent about the meeting and its aftermath quotes one of the comments from the floor that I also recall: "I have no wish to be represented by a thief".

This thread on the Conservative Home website (a site for Conservative grassroots activists) demonstrates the depth of Mr MacKay's problems. The majority the more than 40 comments at the end of the blog post are saying that he should stand down or be sacked.

Peter Henley, the BBC South Political Editor (who is an excellent and prodigious user of Twitter) tweeted this morning: "Tories saying MacKay is toast after last night. But spinning that Cameron wants to get in clean skins".

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If you attended the meeting, perhaps you could detail your recollections of what happened.

UPDATE: I have also done a more detailed review of the meeting at my own blog "Mark Reckons" here.


  1. I was at the meeting last night and I am angered by his blatent lying to the press about our responses to the press; how he thought he could get away with it when there were people surrounding him I do not know. Is he stupid, or does he just not care?

    Also - was it one of your colleagues that was filimg last evening? If so, will you be putting up any of the footage?

  2. I really don't understand what is going on inside the head of this man. How he can lie (once more) about what went on in a meeting the proceedings of which would be widely reported defies belief. He HAS been a good constituency MP in my experience (and I'm not a Conservative, BTW) but others could be too AND show a sense of ethics (beyond 'what the rules say') which Andrew clearly lacks.

  3. Hi shishmish.

    It was not one of my colleagues who filmed it. I did sit next to him for the whole meeting though and asked him to e-mail me the link once he uploads it.

    Rest assured I will post this link (or embed the clip) if he sends it to me!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I have just deleted a comment that was inciting violence against Mr MacKay's and his wife's property.

    I know feelings are running high about this issue but please moderate the expression of your feelings to within the bounds of what is legal.

    I have not turned comment moderation on yet and I do not want to but I will if we get any more comments like this.

  6. Looks like a case of the fans hitting the shit.

  7. I was at the Friday meeting when Andrew MacKay was still intending to stand for re-selection, believing that he would be automatically reselected. It was clear that he did not see he had done wrong - he just didn't get it. Then he came outside and lied to camera. Either he was not in the same meeting as me or he is so arrogant he only saw & heard what he wanted to and hasn't understood that modern communication means you cannot lie in front of that number of people without the world finding out. Now he has been forced not to stand at the General Election, he is only sorry for his 'situation' not what he has done.There is only one reason why he shouldn't stand down immediately - he, like all the others who have been living at our expense over and above a pretty fair salary, must be brought to book. I am worried that if they get replaced now, they'll get away with what they've done. If that means facing a trial, so be it.


  8. 25 years as Bracknells Mp and he has never had a property there.