It was always going to be fascinating to watch how the two coalition parties would campaign when pitted against each other in the closely-fought Eastleigh byelection.
Commentators expected both sides to start criticising policies they have backed within the coalition, and to a certain extent that has happened.
But a press note just delivered by the Lib Dems has turned that on its head, becoming what must surely be the first election material to praise a minister of a different party for implementing government policy.
The note refers to the opposition by Maria Hutchings (above), the Tory candidate, to the plans by the Lib Dem council to build thousands of homes in the constituency. It claims that by pushing ahead with the plans, the Lib Dems are simply trying to put Tory policies into action (emphasis mine).
Local Liberal Democrats will today accuse the Conservatives of “gagging” their planning minister Nick Boles – and invite him to say who speaks for development policy in their party.
Eastleigh Borough Council leader Keith House will challenge Boles to say whether he backs the responsible development plans extolled by the minister and being put into practice locally – or the ill-informed scaremongering of the Tory by-election candidate.
It is admirably honest of the Lib Dems to put out a note praising the actions of a minister from their main rival party – but it’s not exactly typical electioneering.