Stumping Jim

April 4, 1997

Pity poor Jim Murphy, whose selection as Labour candidate for the safest of Scottish Tory seats, Eastwood, after his National Union of Students presidency appeared to offer a breathing space in a career of enthusiastic politicking.

There he was, looking forward to a spot of gentle campaigning, gathering his strength in preparation for the gloriously winnable seat that would surely be his reward in the next election, when in stepped sleaze.

First, the sitting (and pickaxe-waving) MP Allan Stewart resigned amid claims he had been over-friendly with a woman met in an alcoholism clinic. Next, allegations of homosexuality stopped Sir Michael Hirst, chairman of the Scottish Tories, filling his shoes. Now young Mr Murphy is being plagued by phone calls from Walworth Road telling him to keep knocking on doors and kissing babies and he could be in with a chance.

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