Ken Livingstone Fundraiser at the Globe Theatre

Labour Party
It’s not so often that we get a star-studded event in the Labour Party. True to form Ken Livingstone came to the rescue yesterday with a gala dinner to rival all others, not just a a fundraiser, more a gathering of the Labour glitterati.
So who was there? Labour Leader Ed Miliband, of course, Richard Wilson aka Victor Meldrew, Ken himself and his running mate in the London Mayoral election, my old friend Val Shawcross, not to mention former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell.  All the Labour GLA Members were also present as was Andrew Dismore who I am supporting to be Labour’s GLA candidate in Camden and Barnet. There were others too. You will see me pictured above with the recently ennobled  Roy Kennedy and Labour Party Deputy General Secretary Alicia Kennedy and below with Ken and Nicky Gavron.  I was also pleased to catch up with Tribune owner Kevin McGrath.
It would be remiss not to mention Ealing MP Stephen Pound who did the auction, raising a considerable sum  of money. Stephen is in great demand  for his skills as an auctioneer, and was at his best raising money for Ken Livingstone’s for Mayor.
The Globe Theatre in Southwark was an excellent venue, radiant as it is with Shakespeare and Elizabethan memorabilia, a fitting place indeed for a London event, the event which launched Labour’s campaign to return a Labour Mayor in our great city. My thanks as ever to all those who organised the event and made it such a great evening. 


Labour Party

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.