Now Cllr Tim Perkins – deputy leader of Salford Liberal Democrats and twice a PPC for the party in Bolton (the second time against Ruth Kelly) – has hinted to the Manchester Evening News that he may switch sides:
"I think the Lib Dems have had a period of drift nationally and I would like to see how things develop."
He admitted that his Liberal Democrat party membership had lapsed and he had no plans to renew it.
been impressed with the new regime of the Conservative Party under
David Cameron and I will be watching to see how effective they are," he
Asked if he might come back into politics with a new look Conservative Party, he said: "I would not rule that out".
David Cameron wasted no time making a pitch to the Liberal Democrats, and during the Lib Dem leadership race there was much talk about Menzies Campbell contrasting poorly with him. Core-vote Conservatives may have cause to worry if the party attracted support from stereotypical Lib Dem activists, but Cllr Perkins was actually a founding member of Chad Noble’s Centre for Progressive Conservatism. According to Chad, he is "an intelligent man with balanced views" who has been pondering the switch for a while, so there is only so much we can read from his recent statement.
Cllr Perkins hasn’t defected yet, and may not do in time for the Spring Forum in Manchester, but hopefully he represents a significant minority of moderate supporters of the Lib Dems that are having second thoughts about which ship they should be in. The more the merrier.