Monday, December 18, 2006

Gateshead East Labour MP dumped

Gateshead's parliamentary constituencies' boundaries have undergone considerable changes under the latest review. Previously the boundaries were something of a dog's breakfast - we had only one constituency wholly within the borough and bits of 3 others within Gateshead as well. The swanky new boundaries put an end to all that and, in the process, appears to have put an end to the career of a Labour MP.

The reason for this is that overall Tyne and Wear is being cut from 13 to 12 constituencies and the greatest effect of this has been felt in Gateshead where the MP for Tyne Bridge, the devastatingly unknown Dave Clelland went head to head with the MP for Gateshead East and Washington West Sharon Rent-a-Quote Hodgson for the new constituency of Gateshead. David (my David that is!) has just texted me the result of this Jurassic Park punch up and the anomoly of a female Labour MP on Tyneside has just been cleared up. A devastated Sharon, 30 years or so the junior of Dave Clelland, is on the outlook for a new parliamentary seat.

All I can say is thank goodness Labour have rid us of this turbulent MP. The last two months have seen a tropical downpour of press releases from her about anything she could think of. We have had calls for the renationalisation of the railways (I put my boot in on that when I spoke at council on Thursday last week), calls for people to put videos on YouTube and worries over disappearing public toilets (after all she needed somewhere to flush away her no-go career.)

Mind you, Clelland has kept up the war for column inches as well though to give him his due, he stuck largely to issues of substance, even though he was spending a large amount of time whining about how terrible his government is (though frankly ever since he was sacked as a whip in 2001 he has sought his revenge on the government through his caustic whit and advanced wisdom. Not that anyone has noticed.)

So Labour, who hold all 13 of the current seats in Tyne and Wear, have just dumped their only female MP here in favour of a guy the same age as Ming. Remind them of this when the spin doctors of Labour try to make out Ming is too old.

Pity the people of Sunderland however. Super high profile MP Bill Etherington, who made it his lifetime achievement never to get off the backbenches or indeed achieve anything of note in Parliament has announced his intention to retire. An all female shortlist is to be imposed. Those public toilets in Sunderland had better watch out. They may be needed again shortly.

I wonder what Sunderland newspapers do for column inches?
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