Our group meeting this evening was a good place to pick up political gossip. One item that previously slipped by me was a Labour councillor deselection in Gateshead. Another story that I had already heard about but was elaborated tonight was an interesting bail out of Labour's rather meagre delivery system in parts of Gateshead that used to be reached by Labour but now seem to be causing them problems.
Pelaw and Heworth used to be amongst the safest of safe Labour seats. Then, 11 years ago, the Lib Dems won there. Since then, Labour have given up any hope of regaining the ward and now simply put in a half hearted campaign during the election. The ward itself is in Jarrow constituency. Interesting to learn that Ian Mearns, Labour deputy leader of Gateshead council and new (and improved) Labour candidate for the new Gateshead constituency, was spotted in the ward having to deliver Labour's leaflet.
Then at the other end of the borough we have Chopwell and Rowlands Gill ward. Again, once a rock solid Labour seat. It is still Labour held and certainly in the Chopwell area (which used to be dubbed Little Moscow) Labour used to be well organised. And who was spotted delivering there for Labour? None other than the roving deputy leader and new, improved Labour candidate Ian Mearns.
Whilst I accept that we all move around to help marginal seats and seats under threat from opponents, the fact that Labour have to move such prominent local politician to bail out what should have been (but no longer is) safe Labour territory to do a basic campaign task is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. Interesting indeed.
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