Friday 24 July 2009

Bring back Gibbo?

Congratulations to Chloe Smith on being elected to Parliament by winning the Norwich North by-election for the Conservatives.

Despite the majority of over 7000, Norwich North ought to remain a key battleground seat for the next General Election.

Boundary changes (in Labour's favour) will move it down the list to 162nd on the Conservative target list. The Conservatives benefit from the boost in profile of having a sitting MP in place in the final year - but previous by-election gains have often been reversed at the General Election.

That will be much tougher this time. Labour has a great deal to do to reunite the local party to launch a fightback. They will also need a candidate with the profile and reputation to win the seat back. Chris Ostrowoski, who fought a creditable campaign in unusually difficult circumstances, ending in a bout of swine flu, might build on that for the General Election.

But there is, of course, one other man who fits that description.

Apart from Smith who, as the front-runner is widely credited as rarely having put a foot wrong in a professional and safe campaign, the candidate whose reputation rose most during this by-election campaign was a non-runner - outgoing MP Ian Gibson.

His strong reputation with local voters on the doorstep has been a consistent theme cited by both reporters and by candidates from all parties. That can sometimes happen when a long-standing MP has died. But I can't recall any previous example over a departure under a personal cloud of controversy.

This surely adds credence to Gibson's complaint that he was ill treated by the party's "star chamber" in refusing him the ability to be the Labour candidate next time.

His party has now paid a heavy price too for his decision to resign at once

The grievances on all sides must surely run too deep for a Gibbo comeback.

So I can't see the party asking - and perhaps Gibson would walk away if they did.

But with Labour needing to rebuild quickly in Norwich, perhaps that should be the final regret of the self-inflicted damage of this unnecessary by-election defeat.


Oldrightie said...

I think you are guilty of the topic of my latest post.

Silent Hunter said...

Yeah right, Sunder,

Bring back a Labour MP who was caught red handed fiddling his expenses.

That's a great idea.

It's also great to see that Labour are hell bent on pushing the "Labour spend - Tories Cut" message; since we ALL know that cuts HAVE TO HAPPEN . . .
which just show what a bunch of liars Labour are.

Can't wait for the GE!