DALE Iain Krieg illustration square

Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publications, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

Next month, I am chairing the first Conservative London mayoral hustings, hosted by Conservative Way Forward. I’m amused that the Spectator’s Steerpike column is building this up as an Dale v  Massow confrontation. Hey ho: I suppose it might sell a few tickets!

As well as Ivan Massow, three other candidates have confirmed they are taking part – Stephen Greenhalgh, Andrew Boff and Sol Campbell. I’m hoping that Zac Goldsmith will also be there, but he’s waiting for the result of his constituency consultation.

It would be nice for a couple of women to take part as well! The hustings will take place in Finchley: see the CWF website or its Twitter feed for more details.

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A few nights ago I dreamed that I was helping Nigel Farage with his election expenses. How sad is that? In it, I asked him where his records were. “I didn’t keep any,” he said. Who’d be an agent?

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I’m off work this week, so please excuse the fact that this column is a little shorter than usual. I’m trying to switch off completely, but as usual it’s not working out like that.

I’m on my own with our two dogs at our house in Norfolk, doing sweet F.A (apart from watching DVD box sets and movies I’ve bought but haven’t watched yet.) First up was the latest apocalyptic offering: Beyond. Rubbish. Then a German language offering, Freier Fall, in which two policemen fall in love. Ein bisschen besser. Then Flight, in which Denzel Washington crashes a plane, but does it well. Disappointing. The week was rescued by Series 2 of Veep and the last ever series of 24, or 12 as it became – since its creators were obviously too lazy to complete the usual 24 episodes. Oh, and the weather’s been quite nice too.

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The Times has taken over from the Daily Telegraph as the broadsheet I turn to first of a morning, although these days I read it on my phone rather than buy a physical copy. I could hardly believe yesterday’s front page which carried a story about Alastair Campbell proclaiming that any new Labour leader should be able to be ousted 18 months before an election if they’re not performing.

Why could I hardly believe it? Because Campbell had said the same thing to me in an interview six days earlier, and it had received quite a bit of coverage. I gently chided the paper’s Michael Savage on Twitter, who explained that he thought Campbell had gone a bit further by saying that he would lead any campaign to oust an underperforming leader – and this made the story more newsworthy. Hmmm. Clearly a slow news day at the Times!

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Nominations for the Labour leadership formally close on Monday, with the deputy leadership nominations closing two days later. It’s interesting that there are five candidates for the leadership and no fewer than ten for the deputy leadership at the time of writing. It’s slightly mystifying that the deputy leadership is seemingly a more attractive post and has attracted a much more interesting array of candidates.

However, because they all need 35 MP nominations, only four or five are likely to make the cut. I imagine that they will include Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Angela Eagle and Ben Bradshaw. Will Stella Creasy make the cut? I’m not sure. For some reason she seems highly unpopular among some of her colleagues. Perhaps it’s because she’s actually rather successful and they’re jealous. Her campaign against payday loan companies was a brilliant example of a backbencher achieving something. She actually won – clearly something Labour MPs have become unused to since 2005…

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I still can’t work out whether this open letter of congratulation on LabourList to Ed Miliband is a send-up or not. On balance, I think not. Which just goes to show how far some Labour supporters have to go until they understand why they lost.

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Last night I dreamed that Norman Lamb tried to enlist me on his campaign for Liberal Democrat leader. “We can’t do it without you, Iain,” I remember him saying in the dream. I wonder if a similar thought came to him in 2005…

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I’m reading John Campbell’s biography of Roy Jenkins at the moment. I’m less than a third of the way through it, having only reached 1964, but I can already say it’s the best book I’ve read this year. A real tour de force. He was a randy old goat, wasn’t he? It’s always the quiet ones…

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Oh, by the way, today is my wedding day. We’re converting our civil partnership into a marriage today in Norwich. No big bash though. We did that eight years ago. We sign a bit of paper, hand over the massive sum of £4 – and that’s it. And back to work on Monday. Who said romance was dead?

50 comments for: Iain Dale: I am Farage’s election agent and a Lamb campaign activist. In my dreams…

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