I won my seat from the Conservatives in Gateshead back in 1987. Before 1984 the then ward of Whickham South (now called Whickham South and Sunniside) was a Conservative bastion. Then we turned up, made the ward marginal, and then won it quite convincingly. So, for a Conservative recovery in the North East to begin, they must first take back seats lost in the not so dim and distant past (actually, 20 years is quite a long time but it feels like yesterday when I was first elected!)
Conservative recovery in the North East? Well, it may happen in odd patches of Tynemouth and Sunderland but here in Gateshead, and over in Newcastle, the Conservatives are dead in the water. It's about 15 years since they put out a local election leaflet in my ward and I am not aware of any leaflets from them anywhere at all in Gateshead this year.
It's 11 years since there was last a Conservative on either Newcastle or Gateshead. Do not expect them to end their unbroken record of failure this year.
I have decided that my colleagues are getting their own back on me. There is one delivery patch that no one wants to do in Whickham. It's actually a very nice area. Cornmoor Road and Millfield Road, with a couple of offshoots are made up largely of detached houses each in their own large garden and often down very long drives. It takes an hour and a half to deliver the 150 houses on the patch. Somehow, for the last 2 deliveries (including one tonight) I had the joy of doing the patch. It makes for good exercise, so I keep telling myself.