‘Blue Chips’ to aid party in Croydon
By John Witherow and Richard Ford
Concern that talk of dissent within the Conservative Party could lose them votes in the Croydon, North West, by-election has prompted a visit by the 14 so-called “Blue Chip” MPs to the constituency next week.
Mr John Butterfill, the Conservative candidate, said yesterday that the group has asked to visit Croydon and would arrive together to help him to canvass for votes in the marginal Tory seat.
The MPs, who apparently want to demonstrate their loyalty to Mrs Margaret Thatcher and the party, achieved some notoriety last week with the publication of a pamphlet entitled Changing Gear, which advocated a loosening of the tight monetarist policy.
Mr Edward Heath, the most vociferous critic of the Government’s policies and MP for Bexley, Sidcup, has also been invited next week but it is not yet known if he will attend any meetings :or join the campaign.
Because of Mr Heath's record of outspokeness, his presence is considered as something of a liability .in the final days of what could be a close result between the three main parties.
Latest opinion polls show the Conservatives, who have held the seat for 25 years, are trailing behind Labour and the Liberal-SDP Alliance.
Although they can expect to pull some votes back with the party conference in Blackpool this week, they are clearly worried that the Liberals and SDP could pull off an electoral coup in Croydon on October 22.
Mr Eric Heffer, Labour MP for Liverpool, Walton, told a public meeting in Croydon last night that the new party was a dustbin for reactionary, right-wing Labour party renegades which had moved from being a credit card party to a party of sly, devious parasites.
Mr Stanley Boden, the Labour candidate, said the Liberal-SDP Alliance would keep a Tory Government in power in exchange for electoral reform. The by-election has been caused by the death of the Conservative MP, Mr Robert Taylor, who had a majority of 3,769 in the last general election. (Conservatives 19,928, Labour 16,159, Liberal 4,239.)