There are many things that can scupper an election campaign. An off-guard comment criticising constituents, revelations of an extramarital affair, police investigations – all come high up on the list.
Less common, though no less damaging, is when a candidate heaps praise on their opponent.
But that is what Partnership director of corporate affairs Jim Boyd did in his ill-fated 2001 fight for Sunderland South.
The jovial policy lead was trying to unseat Chris Mullins but was overwhelmed by his own admiration of the long-standing Labour MP, who famously led the campaign to release the Birmingham Six. In an interview with a local newspaper ahead of polling day, Boyd – who worked for Consolidated Communications at the time – was a little too deferential in conveying his respects for one of his political heroes and subsequently lost by a landslide.
Though, to be fair, he did manage to nab a few votes in a Labour stronghold, returning a 1.2 per cent swing to the Tories. Advice for 2015 candidates – honesty can only get you so far.