THE Tories admitted there was no way they could have won the Eastleigh by-election as their opponents were either mired in scandal or completely insane.
The party was beaten into third place after a brilliant Lib Dem strategy of getting a former cabinet minster convicted of obstruction of justice and then becoming bogged down in a tawdry sex scandal that threatens to topple its lame-duck leader.
The Tories had still hoped for a second place finish but were beaten on the doorstep by UKIP’s potent mix of paranoia and drivel.
Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: “I realised we were facing an almost impossible task when Chris Huhne was convicted of sustained and cynical abuse of the British justice system.
“I remained vaguely optimistic until Nick Clegg’s masterful handling of the Chris Rennard affair. If I lived in Eastleigh I’d have tried to vote Lib Dem twice.”
Shapps added: “What really took us by surprise was the way UKIP did not change a single thing about themselves at any point.
“If only we had known they’d just go around spouting obvious, unhinged nonsense about eastern European immigrants that only a three year-old child would believe. And even then you’d still have to promise them a KitKat.”
Meanwhile, Labour said it would learn lessons form its fourth place finish and that its next by-election candidate would be Gordon Brown.