Sajjad Karim defects to Tories

by Stephen Tall on November 26, 2007

That’s the story Sky News is carrying this morning, with an interview from Saj himself.

Alex Wilcock notes here that he had just been re-selected as a Lib Dem candidate for the European Parliament in the north-west – he finished second to Chris Davies:

Mr Karim – far from declaring his new-found Conservative vision – was an enthusiastic contender in this all-member Liberal Democrat election. I believe he was elected relatively narrowly last time, and that the number of seats in that region (as in most others) is being reduced. With Liberal Democrat members voting for him to be in the same place as he was last time, second, it looks like he thought his job was safer in the Tories.

Helen Foster-Grime is now the second-placed Lib Dem candidate in the north-west of England.
Update: As noted in the comments below, Helen Foster-Grime won’t automatically take second. A recount of preference votes will take place to determine the new second-placed prospective Euro candidate and how the other candidates move up.

Update2: The votes have been recounted and a revised list is now available on Colin Rosenstiel’s website.

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Right, it seems I have sparked debate which I shall try to answer:

As for my spelling: I typed this and all my messages without the benefit of a spell-check, but kudos to you for maing fun of someone with dyslexia. Aside from being utterly irrelevant and below the belt (just like most Lib Dem policy).

Tp angus: Who even said I was a Tory? As it happens I am NOT a member of the Tory party (although I have voted for them before, just as I have for the Lib Dems), nice of you to jump to conclusions!

And with regard to your comment about being ‘soft on drugs’, Liberal Democrat policy is very much not hardline. My own stance on drugs is not to surrender and say ‘well, if it’s gonna happen anyway!’ but to keep fighting. My own views on drusg (which I have never taken) comes from reading about the sincere regret countries such as Portugal have expressed about legalising drugs, seeing what they have done to my friends and a visit to Amsterdam when I was 18! I am very hardline on drugs.

As for my remarks about Patsy Calton, I apologise for any offence caused to people who knew her. I never met her and I’m sure she was a very kind woman and determined to fight on against her illness. But let’s be honest, anyone who has seen a loved on with cancer knows that they can go from being seemingly fit and healthy to critically ill and then dying within a few short months.

Now, for crewegwyn’s point, which is indeed a good one, I really don’t think it would send out the wrong message at all; If I was told my MP was standing down at the next election because they were suffering with cancer, I (having seen a family member die from the disease) would understand, because that is the grim fact of life, cancer kills, it sucks but its true.

I find it courageous and inspiring that she was so determined to fight on in 2005. However it speaks volumes about the Liberal Democrat hierarchy that no one stepped in had a polite word with her how they wanted someone to stand in her place as – at the time of her nomination- she was critically ill already. In short, the Lib Dem powers that be, knew that she was going to die very soon after the election and approved her as their candidate anyway for fearing of losing such a marginal seat without her.

They made a mockery of the electoral process by approving her selection when they knew she would not last more than a couple of months.

by George Kaplan on November 27, 2007 at 5:15 pm. Reply #

Mr Kaplan @101:

My respect for your willingness to apologise.

But I fear you are still missing the point re Patsy’s decision to contest the 2005 election.

She had fought (and beaten off) cancer prior to the 2001 election. Her courage was inspirational. Then she fell ill again prior to 2005. I have no idea what prognosis was given to her – it was, and remains, none of my business, nor (with all due respect) yours. For the party grandees – whoever they may be – to have had a “polite word … how they wanted someone to stand in her place” is ludicrous for several reasons.

Your comment that “cancer kills” is true, but incomplete – many people survive living productive lives for years with various cancers.

“They knew she would not last more than a couple of months” – what evidence do you have for such a remark? Strange as it may seem even we wicked Lib Dems don’t have access to our candidates confidential medical records!

by crewegwyn on November 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm. Reply #

George Kaplan seems to imagine a scenario something like:

“Patsy, we know you want to stand again but we really don’t think you should”

“Yeah – that’s a good point. OK I won’t stand again”

Just strikes me as a bit unlikely really 🙂

Whatever else her constituents re-elected her in pretty full knowledge of her state of health. If anything the by-election “strategy” was the more risky option than having a new candidate in 2005.

by Hywel Morgan on November 27, 2007 at 5:55 pm. Reply #

This is complete rubbish. I cannot beleive we are even responding to this. In Post 101, George Kaplin may be backtracking massively, but he has made some pretty offensive comments and I don’t think we should respond.

At best Mr Kaplin, you have massive misjudgments and a lack of empathy and humanity, at worst, you are thoroughly unpleasant.

Lets draw a line now and not respond to him anymore.

by Dominic Hannigan on November 27, 2007 at 6:11 pm. Reply #

Richard Church @ 88:

I’ll take that you will use this opportunity then to condemn Bill Newton Dunn then for refusing to resign? What about all the rest – we could go all the back to the SDP?

Why do I doubt it?

by Tory Dave on November 27, 2007 at 7:22 pm. Reply #


My thanks for your politeness. As I said, I am fully aware that people have fought oiff cancer successfully against the odds, however, as nomination papers are turned in less than a month before a General Election, by which point Patsy was critically ill, so I don’t think your point about the powers that be not having having access to her medical records is valid. They knew and went ahead anyway.

Hywel: The Liberal Democrats are renound for their ability at by-elections (see Brent East for shock gains, this summer’s events in Ealing and Sedgefield and the near gain in Bromley in 2006). While other parties bring in volunteers from elsewhere, Lib Dems are famous for some keen volunteer offering their longe floor for the troops to camp down on for three weeks to deliver 18 pieces of literature in 14 days.

The hyerarchy could and should have de-selected her (as the other major parties have done and Labour have done to my sitting MP) on the grounds that she had next to no chance of survivng even close to a full term. She was only allowed to stand again so that the Lib Dems could hold the seat against the Conservatives who would be busy trying to fight Labour but in a by-election (where the Tories have not done well since the Thatcher years) it would be much easier.

Dominic: I agree, we have got sidetracked, my point was to express my disgust at the tyical brand of Lib Dem hypocracy, like demanding an MEP who defects stand down when they welcome all Labour/Tory defectors with open arms. Or claim that he could only defect for career gains rather but any defectors to the Lib Dems do it for moral reasons. Add this to the usual cocktail of Lib Dem lies and you can understand why your party makes my blood boil, not for policy, but for your lying (see ANY Focus leaflet for evidence).

by George Kaplan on November 27, 2007 at 7:30 pm. Reply #

106. “…he could only defect for career gains rather but any defectors to the Lib Dems do it for moral reasons.”

There is an element of truth in this, and I have been critical here in the past over the prominence we give to defectors, particularly in LibDem News. However, the fact remains that Bill Newton Dunn did switch to the Lib Dems because he had a fundamental problem with Tory policy on Europe, a policy which has been anything but consistent over the years, whereas Saj Karim does not appear to have had any particular gripe with the Lib Dems over policy.

by tony hill on November 28, 2007 at 8:37 am. Reply #

A word of advice Mr Kaplan. When you are in a hole, stop digging.

You can hate the Lib Dems all you like. You can think we are lying pond life if you like.
Trouble is, you have made a particularly tasteless and offensive assertion for which you have only made a partial apology. Such a remark simply negates any claim you make about Lib Dem tactics.

Oh, by the way, the by-election following Patsy’s death was one of the nastier examples from any party of offensive campaigning, and the people doing it were not the Lib Dems, it was the Tories.

by Richard Church on November 28, 2007 at 9:08 am. Reply #

Someone a long way up this thread said: “Sajjad Karim was a conviction Tory before he was a Lib Dem councillor or MEP.”

Not true. He delivered leaflets for John Lee (then Tory MP now LD peer – “we have now both seen the light” – SK) at the age of seven – his father was a Tory member. He decided he was not a Tory once he started to think about things in his teens. He was a LD councillor in his early 20s. If he is now a conviction Tory (we all wait to find out) it is a very recent conversion.

by Tony Greaves on November 28, 2007 at 2:47 pm. Reply #

Lord Greaves: Is it not a fact that as well as the instance of child labour – presumably for sweets as recommended in “Effective Opposition”? – Sajjad was for a time a member of the Young Conservatives?

My analysis is that he became a Lib Dem partly because as in many areas of the NW your party has become the opposition to Labour and signing up to his dad’s dying party was not a good career move.

Your squeeze “Tories can’t win here” works on Tory voters, but activists too. There has certainly been little going for political life with the Tories in Manchester until very recently and even now where they do have some activity again it is not for the faint-hearted.

If you can show us results from Pendle at this time that showed Sajjad could look forward to representation and a political career as a Tory I’d be interested. I might even change my mind.

If nothing else a declining group on a council tends to offer few opportunities for new blood as it is harder to change incumbentg personnel in these circumstances and there are simply less opportunities of winnables.

by Chris Paul on November 28, 2007 at 3:38 pm. Reply #


I’ve slept on the matter Lord Greaves. And I think you may be right. Sajjad Karim may have never been a Conviction Conservative. He may have been a Tory by an accident of birth. Or a through-going Conservative of Convenience.

But then he became a Lib Dem of Convenience. And now he’s back to being a Conservative of Convenience. Now that Blair and Brown have caused Cameron to soften them up a little.

Sorry “conviction” was the wrong word. But I bet you’re regretting boosting the man to MEP status and that dratted communalist campaign?

More musing on this over at the blog and comments about you lot not liking being called Libdemologists or this story being covered at all are noted and appreciated.

by Chris Paul on November 29, 2007 at 9:52 am. Reply #

But then he became a Lib Dem of Convenience. And now he’s back to being a Conservative of Convenience. Now that Blair and Brown have caused Cameron to soften them up a little.

And how many people became “Labour supporters of convenience” after Thatcher and Major had “softened them up a bit”? It really is incredible that the person that forced Labour back into the real world was John “the enforcer” Major. Not a great indictment of Labour in the 1980s, methinks.

Or maybe no-one in the centre of Labour had bothered to tell the rank and file that they had been shifted? After all, information flow seems pretty selective at the top end of the Labour party 🙂

by passing tory on November 29, 2007 at 10:53 am. Reply #

Chris – what you are saying is that you do not know what you are talking about. I would have thought that given that is the case, you are better off not saying anything at all.
You are purely guessing about what Sajj thought in the past, you have no quotations from him and no evidence to support your innuendo.
Political defections are a fact of life and happen in all directions, and that is fair enough. People change and parties change.
Since I joined the Liberal party in 1983, I have seen the Liberal party, the SDP and it’s successor the Liberal Democrats become a net beneficiary of political defections, notably from the Labour party.
So although it is disappointing to see someone go, the case of one individual says little in the overall scheme of things, particularly given we will soon have a new leader coming soon.

by Geoffrey Payne on November 29, 2007 at 11:27 am. Reply #

A Labour Party that parades around the likes of former arch Thatcherite, Quentin Davies as a Labour supporter is having a laugh!

by Meral Ece on November 29, 2007 at 11:31 am. Reply #

On the principle of defections I have – for many years – held a very firm view.

A. I have no problem with people changing party affiliation. I have done it myself. I have sent Saj a message wishing him well in his new setting (but also asking why, so recently, he was asking for my vote as a Lib Dem MEP hopeful). I cringe at the usual line (adopted by ALL parties) – a defection towards “us” is a show of principle; a defection away from “us” is evidence of mendacity, careerism, political opportunism, mental instability etc.

B. BUT, where elected members defect I believe they should offer themselves to the electorate under their new “colours” within a reasonable period – my suggestion would be 6 months. Of course, there may be particular circumstances where this would be silly: an imminent election anyway, or specific policy issues. This has been my view going right back to the early 1980s and the dear old SDP (remember them?). The curse of party lists introduces a new element of course.

by crewegwyn on November 29, 2007 at 1:22 pm. Reply #

Well who can blame him really? As someone who felt thoroughly disenfranchised by the Euro candidate selection process and failed to get any adequate feedback, I can somewhat empathise.

by biodiesel on November 29, 2007 at 1:29 pm. Reply #

On related news: Party members foil poll plot

by Anonymous on November 30, 2007 at 9:28 am. Reply #

Could i say that Sajjad Karim’s farther was a conservative councillor so naturally as a young child he used to help his farther with leaflet posting and campaigns. He also used to help with campaigns with the then Tory MP Rt Hon Jhon Lee. So he was a tory before being a lib dem. The majority of the asian population in Pendle were tories until 1992/93 when due to differences the Asians walked out and joined the lib dems because this was the only party that appealed to them. Now years since being part of the lib dems and regaining control of Pendle Council for them nothing was being done for the ethnic minorities and nationally they were under represented as the lib dems party members and hierarchy did not feel comfortable in allowing the ethnic minorities to run in marginal seats. Although at the last general election having the most non-white candidates compared with the other two main political parties the seats offered were ones that could never be won. Yet the ethnic minority prospective candidates gained alot of votes. For instance in Pendle previous white lib dem candidates gained between 5000-6000 votes but in 2005 Shezad Anwar gained over 9000 votes just 5k less than the Labour sitting MP. So indeed the lib dems are no longer a force that is challenging in UK politics. As they undermine and take for granted the importance of the non-white communities.

by Lancastrian on May 14, 2008 at 6:01 pm. Reply #

Not a lot of people know Saj karim as much as I do. I even did work Experience in his office whilst he was a Lib Dem.

The Only reason he changed parties was that he was scared he might not have got elected. He was an asshole When he got elected as a Councillor he only won by 10 Votes!

He is a ungrateful peice of shit who changed his mobile number so all the people who got him elected couldnt call him for 3 years until he decided to change parties, At the time he rang his disciples who had been waiting for Karim to call for 3 years, and said to them will you come with me!

They are so stupid they followed the man who used to Call Cameron and Camellion and The Conservatives A Gay and Friendly party into that Party

by Irfan Ahmed on September 14, 2008 at 1:06 pm. Reply #

Irfan, a blog on a par with those on your site. Stop obsessing and move on. This anally retentive view is pretty poor.

by Jay Entee on September 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm. Reply #

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