Benjamin Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group thinktank
Benjamin Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group thinktank

Benjamin Harris-Quinney, the chairman of a conservative thinktank which has published a recommendation that people vote Ukip in certain constituencies, was a guest on the BBC's Daily Politics on Tuesday.

The Bow Group, of which Mr Harris-Quinney is chairman, describes itself as Britain's oldest conservative [small c] thinktank, but crucially "firmly housed in the Conservative [big C] family", so its decision to publish a paper saying some people should vote for Nigel Farage's party has been met with disdain.

He probably thought he was just going on for a quick chit-chat about the latest paper they'd released and the upcoming election. How. Wrong. He. Was.

In a 10-minute interview that was at times painful to watch, Harris-Quinney was given a severe dressing-down by Andrew Neil over his power in the Bow Group as well as his membership of the Madrid branch of Conservatives Abroad, another thinktank he helped to set up, and was labelled a "Walter Mitty character" by the presenter.

Mr Neil detailed accusations from those in Conservatives Abroad who said he had failed to pay membership fees since 2012 and was therefore no longer a member.

To this Mr Harris-Quinney, who emphasised that he didn't understand how this was relevant to the election, replied:

In case you didn't get that, it was:


Returning back to the studio guests, Mr Neil asked Lord Heseltine, the former Tory cabinet minister and a patron for the Bow Group, what he made of Mr Harris-Quinney, he exclaimed: "Well, I think you destroyed him."


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