Tory MPs see constituents as a ‘nuisance’ says daughter of Tory grandee
Nick Winterton's daughter delivers a damning on Conservative politicians in a candid new book.
Many Conservative MPs are "snobbish and cliquey" and secretly regard their constituents as a "nuisance", according to the daughter of two former Tory parliamentarians.
Nick and Ann Winterton both served as Tory MPs until 2010, when they stood down having hit the headlines for various scandals.
But now their careers are celebrated by their daughter Sarah Winterton in a defiant memoir which does not shy away from criticising fellow Tories.
Former chancellor George Osborne is described as "the brains behind Project Fear, the evil genius with a dodgy haircut", while former Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith is said to be "a bit wooden and not the sharpest tool in the box, but sound on Europe". Duncan Smith sacked Ann Winterton from the shadow cabinet in 2002.
In The Winterton's Unmuzzled, the daughter of the two former Conservative MPs states: "Whatever Dad’s other faults, he is devoid of snobbery… He was not the kind of up-his-arse Tory MP – and I have met a few in my time, some of them so far up their arses they couldn’t find their way out again."
She goes on to claim: "Quite a few Tory MPs, and not just the Old Etonians, can be snobbish and cliquey and not over-enamoured of their constituents whom they secretly regard as a nuisance."
Ann Winterton was sacked from the shadow cabinet by Duncan Smith in 2002 after she told a joke about an Englishman throwing a Pakistani out of a train that ended with the line: "They are 10 a penny in my country."
Two years later she had the party whip removed by Michael Howard after she refused to apologise for making a deeply offensive joke about drowned cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay.
In the book, Winterton claims that both jokes came from Tory HQ and says that her mother’s “political antennae, normally so dependable, had let her down”.
A few years later, Nick Winterton was pilloried in the press after he slapped the bottom of a Labour MP, Natascha Engel, in the Commons Tea Room. But his daughter plays down the incident that occurred in 2009 and suggests that it should never had made it into the newspapers.
She writes: "My father copped it again after giving a female Labour MP a playful pat on the bottom in the Tea Room. The MP did not object – she and dad got on well - but other people objected on her behalf and, although what goes in in the Tea Room would normally stay in the Tea Room, the feminists of Fleet Street had a field day. The tarnishing of Brand Winterton was complete."
Winterton also reveals that both of her parents now have a scathing attitude towards MPs who use their phones in the Commons chamber.
“They cannot stand those featherbrain MPs who cannot listen to a debate for five minutes without a furtive glance at their mobile phones,” she states.
“They preferred the old House of Commons in which they served for so long. Warts and all it had more dignity, more gravitas, than the present House.”