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Eastleigh by-election: Maria Hutchings , Tory party's "loose cannon"

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Eastleigh by-election: Maria Hutchings , Tory party's "loose cannon"

Post  Panda on Fri 22 Feb - 20:56

Eastleigh by-election: Maria Hutchings, the Tory party's 'loose cannon'

The Conservative candidate in the Eastleigh by-election has refused to shy
away from claims that she is a “loose cannon”.

Maria Hutchings, the
Conservative candidate for the Eastleigh by-election. Photo: HEALTHCLIFF

By Peter Dominiczak, Political

9:43AM GMT 22 Feb 2013

Maria Hutchings, a mother-of-four, was yesterday accused of avoiding a live
debate on BBC Radio 5 live.

She claimed she had to miss the hustings with the other main candidates
because she was “preparing” for a visit by David Cameron.

The Prime Minister later clashed furiously with a BBC reporter who asked why
Mrs Hutchings had “avoided” the debate, accusing the corporation of acting
“stupidly and badly”.

Mrs Hutchings appeared alongside the other candidates today on local BBC
radio and denied that her party is keeping her from speaking publicly.

Despite having 30 minutes between yesterday’s hustings finishing and the
arrival of the Prime Minister in Eastleigh, Mrs Hutchings said she “couldn’t be
in two places at once”.

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“I didn’t turn up to the 5 Live radio hustings because I had the huge
privilege of having the Prime Minister in Eastleigh,” she told BBC Radio Solent.

“I couldn’t be in two places at once.”

However, when asked specifically whether she is a “loose cannon”, Mrs
Hutchings replied: “Call me what you like.

“What I know is the people on the doorsteps all across Eastleigh I’ve spoken
to for five years have said, 'We want somebody who answers us, gives us an
answer when we ask a question'. And that’s what they’ll get.”

It comes as bookmakers slashed the odds of a Liberal Democrat victory. The
Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton, a local councillor, is now projected to win the
election by nine points.

The odds of Mrs Hutchings succeeding Chris Huhne, the disgraced former
minister, have now fallen from evens to 4-1.

Conservative aides are now privately admitting that they do not expect to win
the crucial by-election.

Mrs Hutchings has come under fire for reportedly saying that local state
schools would not be good enough to help her "gifted" son become a surgeon.

She later claimed to have been misquoted.

She has also revealed strong views against abortion, the European Union and
gay marriage.
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