If you can't stand the heat - get into the kitchen! That, at least, seems to be the way one Tory candidate in Newcastle has rewritten that old proverb. Brian Moore, Tory candidate for Gosforth East, one of the very, very, very few Newcastle wards where the Conservatives stand a chance of more than one in a million of winning (generous estimates put their chances at about 2 in a million), has packed up his election lunch box and quit as a candidate.
The call of the kitchen was just too great. Mr Moore is to star in a Channel 4 cookery programme called "Come Dine With Me", in which 4 contestants each have to cook a meal and host a dinner party for the other 3. It sounds like Big Brother with cake.
Alas, poor Mr Moore's career as an aspiring celebrity chef has crashed headlong into his barely existent political career. Makers of the programme want to transmit this culinary delight on 17th April, right in the middle of the election campaign. This slight problem with Representation of the People Act could have seen the programme laid to rest on the chopping board of Channel 4, especially since Mr Moore used the programme to say what he would do if he were to be mayor of Newcastle (he probably wouldn't have much to do as most people would probably evacuate the city in a state of shock were Mr Moore to reach such giddy heights - still, there's all those mayoral receptions he could cater for!)
So, Mr Moore kindly gave up the role of candidate to keep on the role of cook so the programme is going ahead.
Each contestant has to rate the others and my spies in Newcastle tell me that a large number of Lib Dem campaigners have their videos already set to record at 8pm on 17th April to see how Mr Moore can take unadulterated criticism from his cookery competitors.
Mr Moore is rather well known amongst Newcastle Lib Dems. For a few years in the 1990s he was a Lib Dem councillor. He quit the council and shortly afterwards in a downwardly mobile career move, he defected to the Conservatives. The final collapse of the Conservatives in Newcastle seemed to coincide with Mr Moore's arrival amongst their depleted ranks.
Quite what Mr Moore cooks up is a closely guarded secret. Rumours however are circulating that 'Ego Surprise Pudding' has caused a certain amount of indigestion with competitors.
Mr Moore claims in our regional newspaper, Evening Chronicle, that "he was confident he could win" in East Gosforth, despite the towering Lib Dem majority there. This perhaps gives a clue as to what he has cooked up for his competitors. Apparently grilled pig wings are quite a delicacy.....