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.

ConservativeHome has been doing some sterling work this week in exposing the secrecy of CCHQ in the London Mayoral selection. Quite why the latter feels the need to act like an arm of the North Korean regime is a question only they can answer.

Surely party members have a right to know exactly who is doing the interviews and sifting, and how many people are involved. Wasn’t it David Cameron who once said that “sunlight is the best form of disinfectant”?

He was right then and he is right now. Andrew Feldman, the party chairman, is a great man and someone who I have a lot of time for. However, he is in his position because of his close friendship to the Prime Minister. However, so far as I know he has never been elected to anything in his life.

It’s perfectly understandable, therefore, that he won’t understand why the party expects more openness in selections and that they might rather like a choice of more than two people. There are plenty of precedents. For instance, I was in a final of seven candidates for the parliamentary selection of Bracknell. I came third behind Philip Lee and Rory Stewart, since you ask.

It seems to me it is very difficult to argue that there shouldn’t be at least four names on the mayoral shortlist. We all know that Zac Goldsmith is and will be the chosen one, and that’s fine. I have a lot of time for him. and think he’s eminently qualified to do the job.

But surely the same can be said of Syed Kamall, the leader of the wider Conservative group in the European Parliament. And of Stephen Greenhalgh, Boris’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. If the list is indeed restricted to three, then one of those won’t make it because, as sure as night follows day, Philippa Roe, the leader of Westminster Council, will be included.

I’d love to hear Andrew Feldman explain why Syed Kamall is fit to lead a major European Parliament Group, but isn’t fit to be on a London mayoral shortlist. I’d love to hear him explain why Stephen Greenhalgh, who has oversight of the Metropolitan Police is capable of doing that job, but shouldn’t be on a mayoral shortlist.

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So the conclusion of the British Election Study was that not enough Labour voters turned out to vote. No s**t Sherlock. I bet that was a really difficult conclusion to come to. And taxpayers’ money doubtless funded this.

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On Monday, I interviewed Zac for half an hour on my LBC Radio show. He certainly knows how to give a good interview. It produced at least four good newslines, but virtually none of which were picked by other news media.

The exception was the Evening Standard - though their credit to LBC for the interview came right at the end of the piece. Zac told me he wouldn’t stand in a by-election if the Heathrow decision doesn’t go his way. He’d concentrate on his mayoral campaign.

Now that’s a Grade A news story by anyone’s standard. He also said that, unlike Boris Johnson, he would intervene in industrial negotiations, and that he wouldn’t apologise to Sir Howard Davies, the chair of the Airports Commission, for impugning his integrity on my show the previous week. And he talked about being thrown out of Eton when a small amount of cannabis was found in his room.

Matthew Parris wrote a very anti-Zac column in The Times last weekend, and reckoned that Cameron would find Tessa Jowell easier to deal with as Mayor of London than Zac. Possibly true – but does that really matter? A bit of creative tension in politics can sometimes be a good thing.

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I don’t shout at people very often on the radio, but I do get riled when someone says Jews should get over the Holocaust. Earlier this week, I hosted a discussion on whether Oskar Groenig, a 94 year old former guard at Auschwitz, should have been jailed for four years.

It provoked a heated debate, but I am afraid I lost my temper with a caller who suggested that Jews should just move on. It just shows the ignorance that there still is out there about the Holocaust.

The shame of it is that the caller had just listened to me interview an Auschwitz survivor, Ivor Perl, who had given evidence at the trial of Groenig, and he still went on to utter his shameful remarks. If you want to listen to a real hero, take ten minutes out of your day to listen to Ivor Perl.

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Next Wednesday I will be hosting a hustings on the radio for the four Labour Leadership candidates. It will be a bit different to the ones they have done so far in that there will be an opportunity for the candidates to question each other.

I don’t know why, but I am especially looking forward to Liz Kendall questioning Jeremy Corbyn. The programme will be broadcast live on LBC from 7pm-8.30pm next Wednesday. You can also watch in HD on the LBC website. End of plug.

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Loving the way the BBC is using its own programmes to urge the government to “leave the BBC alone”. I’ve just seen a tweet from the Victoria Derbyshire programme which has Michael Palin on purely to defend the BBC, and have a go at the Government for its doubtless very wicked plans.

I’m not sure that this is wise by the BBC. If I were John Whittingdale, I’d take a dim view of it using its programmes to do this. If it has a case to make, it should be made by its executives directly to the Government, rather than using popular famous faces to pull at the heartstrings of the viewing public.

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