I am, I hasten to say, writing this before the Norwich North result is declared. Having worked in the by-election yesterday and the day before, I thought I would share a few thoughts and observations. I have, as many of you know, a special affection for Nowrich North as I was the Labour candidate in the 1987 General Election, a fact recently pointed out by Iain Dale.
I would like to pay special thanks to my colleague Richarrd Howitt, MEP for the East of England, who helped organise my trip. Richard worked assiduously in the by-election. He has always had a reputation for hard work, and is definitely one of the most conscioentious of the Labour MEPs.
Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, visited the Constituency on Wednesday to an enthusiastic response. I was pleased to see Phil Dilks, London Labour Party Press Officer, during David’s visit. I understand that the Director of the London Region, Ken Clark was in Norwich yesterday, though we didn’t actually meet up. A belated hello to Ken. In additon, I had the opportunity to catch up with several of the Labour Party national staff who were there – Ray Collins, General Secretary, Alicia Kennedy, Deputy General Secretary, Hilary Perrin and Roy Kennedy. Emily Thornberry MP for Islington South arrived at the election centre in Mile Cross Ward while I was there and I gather I just missed Stevenage MP Barabara Follett.
One of the most striking things during my two days in Norwich was the number of young people who turned out to help the Labour Party. Students, in particular, had come from all over the country. Who says young people are turned off politics?
The weather was almost perfect, hot and sunny without being oppressive, just what is required for an election. There can be very few more pleasant cities than Norwich in the summer.