Labour candidates hit trouble in Liverpool and Northampton

Labour’s Liverpool Wavertree candidate Luciana Berger is in trouble again:

Wavertree’s Labour candidate, Luciana Berger fell to pieces in the first debate of the Election campaign, which saw Colin Eldrigde for the Liberal Democrats and Conservative, Andrew Garnett attack the Londoner from both sides.

In a filming for ITV1s ‘Party People’, the three candidates were grilled by presenter Rob McLoughlin over their policies on crime and the economy.

When given 30 seconds to sell themselves in the debate at Riley’s Snooker Hall near Picton Clock, Berger froze, clasping her hands over her head repeatedly saying: “Sorry, can we start again?”

Following the re-take, which say Colin Eldridge reiterate his pitch on fairness for the electorate, the 27-year-old Labour hopeful spoke in an unconvincing manner about her confidence in the party.

You can read the full story here and find out how to help Colin Eldridge here.

Meanwhile, in Northampton South, a seat that on the new boundaries should a marginal Labour seat with a narrow majority, the Labour candidate has already conceded defeat:

Labour’s candidate for the Northampton South seat in the General Election has reportedly said he is merely a ‘paper candidate’ in the contest.

The former leader of Waltham Forest Council, Clyde Loakes, was announced as the Labour party’s candidate for the Northampton South seat at the end of 2008…

But yesterday, his local newspaper, the Waltham Forest Guardian, reported that he had “admitted he is merely a ‘paper candidate’, with no realistic prospect of winning the parliamentary seat”.

The newspaper quoted the politician as saying: “It is no longer classed as a marginal seat. I am doing this for the experience.”

You can read more here and also in the Waltham Forest Guardian, which reports:

Relations between Cllr Loakes and Northampton South constituency party activists have broken down amid anger at the amount of time Cllr Loakes has spent away from the area.

Cllr Loakes admitted there are “complex issues” with the constituency party.

The Liberal Democrat interest in Northampton is much more in the Northampton North seat, where the excellent Andrew Simpson is standing. But this sort of bad coverage for Labour in the local Northampton media will do no harm at all. You can find out how to help Northampton Liberal Democrats here.

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  • Not the best week for Clyde Loakes.

    See page 14 of this week’s “Rotten Boroughs” in Private Eye.

    Text of the article here:

    ‘When four Cabinet members of Labour-controlled Waltham Forest council learnt they would break the law by not following EU procurement rules when they awarded a three-year extension of a recycling contract, worth £2.5m, to private company ECT, they did what any upstanding public servants would do in their shoes – they went ahead, then hushed it up.

    The four – Cllrs Liaquat Ali, Keith Rayner, Chris Robbins and Clyde Loakes – decided it would “not be in the public interest” to disclose the truth. Just fancy that! Loakes, former leader of the council, is Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Northampton South at the general election. Robbins is the council’s leader.

    An inquiry by the council’s anti-fraud team observed that “a request for a bank loan of £20,000 would require more justification than this”. Investigators also noted that “it is difficult to understand how LBWF expects [others] to uphold the law when its own Cabinet deliberately breaks it”. Indeed’.

  • I expect you are, Jennie.

  • Chris Nelson 19th Mar '10 - 10:35am

    Paul Varnsverry – Lib Dem PPC for Northampton South – has commented:

    “Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Northampton South, Paul Varnsverry, commented “It has been apparent for some time that the constituency Labour Party in Northampton South is imploding. The toxic effects of former Labour Party members, plus a parliamentary candidate who does not live and has not lived in the constituency for decades, are what in combination with Labour’s national woes have truly destroyed their prospects.”

    “There is still everything to play for in Northampton South, despite the incumbent MP and a former MP believing they both already have it in the bag. When one carries the stigma of the expenses scandal and the other is perceived by residents as someone who ”doesn’t even like the town”, because of their negative attitude towards everything; voters – including lifelong Labour voters – are making it clear they will be switching their allegiances to the Liberal Democrats at the General Election and pledging their support for me.”

    And a quick plug for the other Northampton seat: as well as picking up support in Northampton South, we’ve got a fantastic chance of winning in Northampton North with long-standing PPC Andrew Simpson. You can find details of how to be part of Northampton North’s winning team at!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Mar '10 - 11:26am

    “You can read the full story here …”

    Which, funnily enough, has now been revised to say that the author’s initial criticism of Berger was too melodramatic. He adds that “Liberal Democrat Colin Eldridge’s misquotations, and an inability to defend his party’s taxing policy” were more evident after he’d watched the debate a second time.

    Sometimes negative campaigning can rebound …

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