Here is footage from outside Tory MP Bill Wiggin's constituency meeting in Leominster in May this year that he had called to face his constituents in the light of the MP expenses allegations against him:
As can be seen from the footage there were a lot of people who were turned away, even some Conservative activists. It seems that although the meeting was billed as "All Welcome", they were turning people away on the grounds that there was "not enough room". You can also see that when some people identified themselves as Conservatives who Bill had invited, they were ushered in and the line became "You can't come in unless Bill invited you".
I suspect that Mr Wiggin learned from Andrew MacKay’s experience here in Bracknell. I attended MacKay’s meeting and it was a bloodbath. At that meeting that was open to all constituents held in a very large hall (400 odd people were there I estimated) I would say that 80% – 90% of the attendees were against him and there were at least 2 people who filmed the whole thing.
Mr MacKay's meeting was on the 22nd May. The next day he was forced to announce he was standing down at the next election by David Cameron. Mr Wiggin's meeting was a few days later on the 27th May. I suspect that Mr Wiggin saw what happened with MacKay and decided to pick a venue that was far too small and also to do his best to only let Conservative supporters in. The only footage of him available seems to be of him making a statement to camera unchallenged by anyone. I bet MacKay wishes he had been able to rig his meeting like that now.
I spoke to Lucy Hurds, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for the newly formed North Herefordshire constituency earlier today that Mr Wiggin would be defending at the next election following boundary changes. She was distinctly unimpressed with the way he has conducted himself and finds it hard to understand why David Cameron has chosen to stand by him. She has called on Mr Wiggin to resign in a letter today.
I know I said that I wanted to move on from the MPs expenses story but I feel very strongly that Bill Wiggin should not be allowed to get away with this. He is clearly terrified of what will happen if he holds a proper public meeting. David Cameron should make him hold another meeting that is genuinely open to all. And if following this it is clear that his position is untenable then he should stand down.
Hattip to Guido for originally drawing my attention to the Youtube clip.
UPDATE: Here is a link to the original Telegraph story on Mr Wiggin's expenses and here is some coverage from the local Hereford Times about it. They also think he still has some explaining to do. Thanks to Lucy for the links.