A friend alerts me to this diary piece in yesterday’s Independent:

* The sad death of Patsy Calton, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheadle, has already set Westminster buzzing with talk of a by-election.One man in the running for the knife-edge poll is Tim Collins, the former Tory frontbencher, who lost his seat (also in the North-West) to the Lib Dems at the general election.

Collins has previously told friends that his preferred route back onto the Conservative benches would not be a by-election, since “he’d prefer to go through a normal selection process”.

The marginal Cheadle (maj 4,000) will be tempting, though: it offers a chance for revenge on the party that booted him out of office, and would catapult Collins, a Harry Potter lookalike, into the thick of power-broking over his party’s leadership.

Not meaning to be macabre, etc., but why did the Lib Dems pick these various candidates on the brink of death to fight their seats? Was it just a Midlands/North-West thing, or were they doing it all over the country? Perhaps we’ll find out over the next few weeks and months.

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