Hastily being taken down from Conservative websites all over are references to this character – one Ian Oakley. If you’re quick you can catch the cached content here from the Conservative party site although it’s been taken off their main page. The reason why is this – the chap selected as Watford Conservative PPC in 2006 has pleaded guilty to police charges of poison-pen letters, anonymous late-night phone calls and criminal damage against Lib Dem rivals. The Mail goes into lots of detail about yesterday’s case at St Albans Magistrates Court. These include how Oakley admitted using a Stanley knife and a hatchet to slash the tyres on Watford councillors’ cars. Sal Brinton the Lib Dem PPC had lesbian magazines sent to her home address and to her campaign office defaced leaflets proclaiming “Go back to Cambridge, you evil bitch”.’ Another Watford Borough councillor had the words ‘scum scum perve’ spray-painted on to a wall at his home and letters sent to his neighbours stating he was a member of a child abuse ring.’ The Watford Observer reports that in February, he spray painted the words “liars” on the Watford Lib Dem headquarters, damaging the shutters to the building. They call his campaign a “three year hate vendetta”.

The Watford Conservatives website is uncharacteristically silent on the matter. Looks like the Tories attempt to win back a marginal seat that they held until 1997 have pretty much evaporated overnight. Iain Dale has posted twice on the subject and makes the point that it’s not really a party issue. The grassroots activist site Conservative Home is stressing that he is a “former Conservative candidate”. The fact is he only resigned from the party on his arrest after initially denying the charges and eventually being caught on CCTV. This Lib Dem blogger who has covered the case extensively has a post entitled “Still the nasty party”.

Still up by the way is the comment Mr Oakley once made on Kerron Cross‘ blog stating that although his dress sense was worse than Tony Blair he wasn’t going to be interviewed by the police so it didn’t matter. Famous last words or what?