It's something we haven't seen in Gateshead for 30 years: the Conservatives winning a seat on the council. Sadly, the chances of this happening this May are now higher than they have been for 30 years. You have to go back to 1992 to find the last Conservative win when they topped the poll in Low Fell. Since then Gateshead has been an electoral desert for the Conservatives. Are we about to see an end to this electoral famine?
We could well be for there is one ward where the Conservatives stand a modest chance of winning. Winlaton and High Spen was a Labour hold last year but their majority was slashed to 396 over the Conservatives. I am reliably informed that the Conservatives' young candidate and raising star Lewis Ormston is running a strong local campaign, with the help of his party colleagues from across the border in Co Durham. I hear on the grapevine that there were lots of Tories in High Spen yesterday knocking on doors.
Young Lewis has been helped by the retirement of the Labour Councillor and her replacement by a candidate from the other end of the Borough. And the Conservatives could be the beneficiary of Labour complacency. My friends in the Labour Party seem to think Winlaton and High Spen ward is safe for Labour and they've got it in the bag. They could be in for an uncomfortable surprise.