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Nick Clegg visited Bob Russell visited Colchester last week, to celebrate Bob Russell MP’s 40th anniversary as an elected politician, and the pair found time for a quick game of pool at the local YMCA.
Despite Bob’s reputation as a critical friend of the Coalition Government, Nick told the BBC:
He’s an institution, he’s totally unique. When he was first elected I was only four years old. He’s now one of the best-loved politicians in Westminster.
I think life would be much less interesting if Bob Russell always toed the party line. He’s not a yes man – he says what he feels and I think people really respect that. They don’t want cardboard cut-out politicians and in Bob they’ve got someone who speaks his mind.
Bob Russell was first elected aged 25 as a councillor for New Town ward in 1971. He then served as mayor and later leader of Colchester Council, before becoming the town’s MP in 1997.