Ah, who can forget Maria Hutchings?
Ah, who can forget Maria Hutchings? Blasted all over the papers for provoking a long-running row with her suggestion that it would be ‘impossible’ for her son to become a surgeon if he attended a state school, the Conservative Eastleigh candidate has become a national laughing stock, lampooned all over the media.
And not just by the lefties who have hilariously photo-shopped her being gagged by David Cameron, her notable absence in the Radio 5 live debate in Eastleigh led the Liberal Democrats to respond with a satirical ‘missing’ poster titled ‘Missing: Conservative candidate for Eastleigh: if found please call any member of the press.’
Despite being a die-hard leftie, viewing the Tory party out of date and having a deep inability to modernise itself (after all how many women are serving in your cabinet, David Cameron?), one cannot help but think that she is somewhat being scapegoated. Recent figures show that the Liberal Democrats have a 79.37% chance of winning the Eastleigh elections, and the Tories are aware that they will undoubtedly be losing a seat. No doubt, they will decide to pin the blame on Hutchings who is rapidly becoming a Tory scapegoat.
However, the Lib Dems have always been incredibly strong in Eastleigh, holding a remarkable 36 council seats in the constituency so winning the Eastleigh elections was never going to be instantaneous or even a viable option. Additionally, Hutchings’ recent entitlement by her contemporaries and colleagues as a ‘loose cannon’ exemplifies perfectly the Tories’ endemic attitudes towards women. Her rivals claim that she is being hidden away because she has attracted headlines for outspoken and strong views on issues including the EU, state education and opposition to gay marriage.
Denying she dodged a national radio debate due to her label as a ‘loose cannon’, she claims: “I didn’t turn up to the 5 Live hustings because I had the huge privilege of having the prime minister in Eastleigh. I might have lots of energy but I can’t be in two places at one time.”
Despite her statement that she was busy, national newspaper journalists were not allowed to speak to her on Thursday, according to a report in The Guardian.
Besides the obvious political affiliation, I have never been a fan of Hutchings. Her lack of experience, and her quite frankly bigoted views towards immigrants and asylum seekers, exemplified perfectly in her quote ‘with an increasing number of immigrants and asylum seekers then the pot is reduced for the rest of us…I don’t care about refugees’ are all reasons why this woman shouldn’t be involved in politics, but it is unfair to gag this woman. It is more than likely that the Tories simply didn’t want Hutchings anywhere near a microphone but free speech is undeniably a right for all.
And Hutchings appears to be another casualty—the removal of women from the public sphere is evident in the sacking of Cheryl Gillan, Caroline Spelman (Environment Secretary), and Sarah Teather (education minister) and the demotion of Justine Greening and Baroness Warsi demoted.
The Tories priding themselves on equality? I beg to differ.
What do you think? Should Maria Hutchings have taken part in the 5 live debate? Who do you think will win the Eastleigh by-election? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.