Brighton Pavilion Conservative candidate swayed by ‘caring’ Thatcher

Posted On 06 Aug 2013 at 5:30 pm

Clarence Mitchell, the newly selected Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion, said that when Margaret Thatcher represented his local constituency, she was “effective and caring”.

Mr Mitchell, 52, was a young reporter at the Hendon and Finchley Times in the early 1980s, having trained at the former Westminster Press Training Centre in Hastings.

Mrs Thatcher was both Prime Minister and the Conservative MP for Finchley.

Mr Mitchell said in an interview with the Brighton and Hove Independent: “I found her an excellent constituency MP, a class act, and, on a personal level, supremely impressive.

“She was effective and caring. And I use that word carefully.”

After starting his journalism career in local newspapers, Mr Mitchell joined the BBC where he worked for 20 years. He served as a political reporter, royal correspondent and presenter.

Clarence Mitchell

Clarence Mitchell

He has since worked as a civil servant, running the government’s Media Monitoring Unit. And for the past six years he has acted as the spokesman for the family of missing Madeleine McCann who disappeared during a holiday in Portugal.

He has acted as an adviser to the Conservative Party and is currently a managing director of Burson-Marsteller UK, the public affairs business.

As a young reporter he recalled meeting Mrs Thatcher at the annual Finchley Carnival at a time when Britain’s miners were on strike.

She handed the young Mr Mitchell a scoop in the shape of a formal statement which represented her first substantive intervention in the miners’ strike.

She showed Mr Mitchell that she had written it herself by giving him a glimpse of the original manuscript which she kept in her handbag.

In her statement she promised to do “everything necessary to keep the country working” – a comment later taken to mean that she would, if necessary, use troops to break the strike.

Mr Mitchell accepts that he faces a challenge trying to improve on the Tories’ third place in Brighton Pavilion at the 2010 general election.

Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas won the seat to become Britain’s first Green MP and Labour came second. The Conservatives were 4,000 votes behind the Greens.

Dr Lucas is standing again – the next election is expected to take place in 2015 – and Labour has picked an impressive candidate in Purna Sen.

Mr Mitchell said: “Brighton is unique – unique for its inclusivity, its tolerance, its radicalism and its cultural vibrancy.

“It’s also unique for the wrong reasons: a failed Green experiment that continues to let the city down badly.

“That’s why Brighton Pavilion now needs a unique Conservative candidate – one who may not have a typical Tory CV but who does have decades of real-world experience gained across the media, government and the private sector.

“The Greens’ failure to deliver locally has been self-evident on so many levels: recycling rates down, carbon emissions up, a refusal to freeze council tax while remaining hopelessly split internally, and all with the recent spectacle of their own MP opposing them on the picket line as rubbish piled high on the streets.

“Labour, though, are also failing to offer any credible alternative, finding themselves forced to agree with government spending plans as the economy starts to recover, realising they, too, are now losing the economic argument daily.”

Purna Sen

Purna Sen

He describes jobs for young people and providing affordable homes as policy priorities. He plans to make his own home in the constituency when the lease on his London flat expires.

And he is confident that he can win the three-way seat. It was held by a succession of Tories over nearly 50 years before falling to Labour in 1997 and then the Greens three years ago.

He said: “Voting Conservative offers the only credible way out of the mess that both parties have presented us with: the Greens locally, and the continuing aftermath of 13 years of Labour overspending and borrowing, nationally.”

  1. Edith Scott Reply

    What a lot of obfuscation. In all this “I worshipped Thatcher” tripe he fails to mention his years of slavering devotion to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown!

  2. Dr Shira Silverman Reply

    You would think that the Tories would have learned a lesson about “celebrity candidates” after Louise Mensch. Apparently not.

  3. AnnaEsse Reply

    Well, Brighton, if you really want to be represented by a man who managed to make 2 doctors, Kate and Gerry McCann, who left 3 small children alone in an unlocked apartment in a foreign country, look saintly, Brighton is not the great place where I once lived. You want such a PR man? I have no way of understanding that choice.

  4. Roger Hodgson Reply

    He does seem a little unsure of his political beliefs. First trouble shooting the flawed policies of Blair and Brown’s disastrous tenure in No.10, before moving on to the equally chaotic regime of the coalition…. Could it be that it is Mitchell himself who is the Jonah??

  5. Hanah Reply

    He quit his top job as Head of The Media Monitoring Unit under Gordon Brown, to dedicate himself fully and unreservedly to Kate and Gerry McCann, those two ‘responsible’ parents that left 3 toddlers alone nightly and went out for tapas.

    What a saintly being that Clarence Mitchell is!

  6. Mike Reply

    Next he’ll be saying that he didn’t take £128,000, from donations given, to ‘search’, out of the Madeleine ‘fund’ to pay his ‘salary’!

    He should have been a Charity boss!

    They get higher salaries and take more donations to fund their lifestyles!

    Missed a trick there, Clarrie!

  7. Michael McL Reply

    “That’s why Brighton Pavilion now needs a unique Conservative candidate – one who may not have a typical Tory CV but who does have decades of real-world experience gained across the media, government and the private sector. ” I think that rather rules you out them Mr Mitchell. “Spinning” and bending the truth and representing the two worst Prime Ministers for 200 years as they trashed the country and the economy for decades, not to mention telling the world that two parents – who on their own admission neglected their three children five nights in a row in an unlocked apartment, and then lied to the police who were called in to help – are beyond reproach and that what they did was “normal”m, is not a good thing to have on your CV. I trust the people of Brighton on this one.

  8. Weiss Reply

    Does Brighton-Howe really need a paid ‘media spinner’?

  9. cherry Reply

    Thatcher ‘effective and caring’ is he not aware of her connection to Jimmy Savile! She got him Knighthood after being warned about his personal life, doesn’t sound like a very caring person to me!

  10. Roger Hodgson Reply

    Will he ask for all donations to Tory coffers be sent in an envelope to ‘Dave and the Tories, c/o Westminster’?

  11. Roger Hodgson Reply

    Quote
    In her statement she promised to do “everything necessary to keep the country working” – a comment later taken to mean that she would, if necessary, use troops to break the strike.
    Unquote

    He is proud that a British Prime Minister confided in him that she was prepared to use British Troops on British workers to break a strike? What a low shallow creature he is.

  12. Michael McL Reply

    Roger H. You surely don’t believe that she would confide her long term strategy to him, do you ? He is “spinning” which the rest of us call * * * ing

  13. Roger Hodgson Reply

    No, Michael McL I know he’s simply trying to puff himself up into something he’s not… He’s very well known across the internet as a disingenuous Ambulance Chaser. And should not be trusted.

  14. Michael McL Reply

    Roger H. Agreed ! I think the people of Brighton will understand the issues – between concerned politicians, who believe in what they say – even if they are wrong, – and a Spin doctor who has acted for Labour and the Conservatives, and whose mission is, – on his own admission – “to control what comes out in the press”. This time he has obviously not got round to controlling what comes out in the Brighton and Hove news. NOT YET anyway !

  15. Dr Shira Silverman Reply

    Yes, we should all thank Brighton and Hove News for permitting these comments to remain here. Mitchell and his ilk do not like for the truth to be printed. But the voters in Brighton should be told the whole truth. Not a “version” of the truth, spun and white-washed beyond all recognition.

  16. Michael McL Reply

    Is Brighton and Hove News the only decent newspaper left ? The only one not afraid to report without fear or favour ? Is it going to become the UK equivalent of the Washington Post ?

  17. Mike Reply

    Kudos to the B&H News!

    Clarence Mitchell is officially ‘disgusting’

    He acted as ‘spokesman’ for a convicted FRAUDSTER.
    Fiona McKeown whole STOLE over £50,000 in benefit fraud.
    He was very ‘happy’ with the work ‘done’ by another convicted FRAUDSTER, who was GIVEN £300,000 worth of hard pressed OAP’s and handicapped childrens ‘donations’ from the Madeleine ‘fund’
    He, himself, took at least £128,000 worth of those donations as a ‘salary’
    He won’t tell anyone EXACTLY how much he took as a ‘salary’ from ‘donations’ given in good faith to ‘find’ Madeleine.
    WHY NOT, Mr Mitchell?
    Maybe it was a lot MORE than we already KNOW about!
    But almost worse than THAT, he is now a spokesman for the Carnival Group whose ship sank with the loss of 32 lives!
    NOT a spokesman for the ‘victims’ you understand, but the company that caused their demise!
    I hope there are relatives of some of the victims in the area he is standing in.
    Maybe he’ll tell them, face to face, WHY he is being PAID, and accepting money from Carnival Group to spin and defend the company AGAINST them!
    The company responsible for 32 peoples demise.
    But i doubt it!
    If, of course, the ‘victims’ could pay him more than the ‘company’ then i’m sure Mr Mitchell would switch ‘sides’ in an instant!
    A bit like his conversion from Labour SPIN doctor, for 20 YEARS, to a ‘caring’ Tory ‘candidate’ now.

    The man’s a complete and utter coward!

    EACH person that votes for this man will be condoning this mans vile behaviour.

    Taking ‘donations’ given by innocent handicapped children as a ‘salary’ for himself is officially DISGUSTING!

    DO NOT VOTE FOR MITCHELL!

  18. Dr Shira Silverman Reply

    I do hope he will appear at some live hustings here. There are a number of questions that people have to ask of him. It will be interesting to hear the answers.

  19. Sandra Webb Reply

    QUOTE: “He has since worked as a civil servant, running the government’s Media Monitoring Unit. And for the past six years he has acted as the spokesman for the family of missing Madeleine McCann who disappeared during a holiday in Portugal”. So his main career highlight is to have run the £4-million-a-year ‘Blair spin unit’ – courtesy of us, the taxpayers. Then he gets money from the *public* to fund his career as spinner for the McCanns. The public gave money to find Madeleine, NOT to shore up the McCanns’ less-than-shiny reputation. He’s been working for the McCanns for over 6 years, which has cost the ‘Madeleine Fund’ at least £150,000, may be a lot more. Yet has Mitchell brought us even one step nearer knowing what happened to Madeleine and where she might have been taken?

  20. Mike Reply

    Sandra Webb
    He’s been working for the McCanns for over 6 years, which has cost the ‘Madeleine Fund’ at least £150,000, may be a lot more. Yet has Mitchell brought us even one step nearer knowing what happened to Madeleine and where she might have been taken?
    ____________________________________

    Er, NOPE!

    In FACT he has SAID Madeleine McCanns ‘abduction’ IS a COMPLETE MYSTERY!

    The McCanns sued a pensioner who only said it was a mystery!

    I suppose Clarence will be have to be SUED by his ’employers’ the McCanns for stating his opinion!

    Otherwise, people will stop ‘looking’ for her, according to them.

  21. Margaret Reply

    Mr Mitchell has set up his Campaign HQ in the Grand Hotel here in Brighton. He claims to be “supporting local businesses.” But everybody knows that the Grand is not owned by local people. It is owned by De Vere. They run offshore tax schemes for the wealthy and channel their own profits through Swiss bank accounts. There are lots of equally nice hotels that are locally owned, so I have to say I’m far from impressed. A PPC who was really interested in local issues would at least credit the electorate with some intelligence. I would also like to know whether Mr Mitchell has any links with Cuadrilla.

  22. James Krang Reply

    I don’t think so. There has never been an MP conducting their business from Ford except mr archer.

  23. Edith Scott Reply

    Most of the “investigators” the McCanns hired to find poor Madeleine are now either
    in jail or under investigation. Mr Mitchell always insisted that this ragbbag of cheap chancers were elite top international detectives. The only people the McCanns throw money at are the hugely expensive solicitor firm Carter Ruck who protect them from the public scepticism. And of course Clarence Mitchell.

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