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No parachute required

There has been some consternation this week about the parachuting in of Conservative candidates to the Rhondda and Pontypridd constituencies.

The incumbent Labour MP and former would be leader, Owen Smith, tweeted several comments in what was a breath-taking display of hypocrisy even by his standards. In one he stated

"I hear local Tories are fighting like rats in sack at the imposition of a PPC from London."

He followed this with

"The few Tory voters I could find in Pontyclun yesterday seemed a bit miffed too that their candidate was arriving by parachute."

Now he has a point in that the Conservative candidate has indeed been brought in from outside - Oxford in fact, where she lives, according to this article, in a rented flat at the cost of £2,750 a month. She manages to scrape by as she rents her Pimlico properties for £4,500. So she will no doubt have a perfect understanding of how the majority of people in the Pontypridd constituency live.

However, Smith seems to have a short memory, as can be seen from this article on Wales Online.

When Kim Howells announced six months before the election in 2010 that he was stepping down, Labour ran a shortened selection process in which their National Executive drew up a shortlist for members to pick from. Owen Smith had previously stood in Blaenau Gwent , and his parachute drop into Pontypridd did not get universal approval.

A local Labour member told the Western Mail

"The concern is that matters are being fixed so he gets the nomination. It's very easy for the NEC to ensure its favoured candidate is selected - this has happened many times before. What they do is pick a shortlist that includes the man or woman they want. They then add another two or three weak candidates to make up the numbers."

Smith, at the time living in Cambridge, got the nod and was installed as the candidate. Hardly puts him in a position to criticise others for the same manoeuvre.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate meanwhile requires no parachutes.