Sunday, July 01, 2007

Runners and Riders

Whilst I was away in Scotland, Tony had the temerity to stand down and trigger the by-election in Sedgefield.

Spreculation in Thursday's Northern Echo has it about right. Firstly, there's a real thirst in the constituency party for a candidate with genuine local roots. The Echo pinpointed Pat McCourt, Phil Wilson and Dr Simon Henig as the favourites at this stage.

Pat is the son of the late Warren McCourt, who was a long-standing and respected local Councillor. I spent several happy days campaigning for Warren when I first moved to Darlington and he was standing in a council by-election in Ferryhill Station. (It was also the first time I met Tony, who was then Shadow Home Secretary, resplendant in a powder blue suit outside the Surtees Arms). Anyway, the media is keen to paint Pat as the "left-wing" candidate, but that may not be so apparent to local members - Pat seems to have judged the local mood well when he said after Tony resigned, "What Sedgefield needs now is somebody whose first, second and third priority is Sedgefield."

Phil Wilson is the rightly the bookies' favourite and closely associated with Tony and John Burton. The 'dark horse' is Cllr. Simon Henig, deputy leader of Chester-le-Street Council and a respected political academic. Both Simon and Phil and their private armies have been working quietly (and not-so-quietly) amongst local party members for the past 18 months.

Barring the sort of "accident" that catapulted Alan B'stard into Parliament, expect the Labour nominee, and the next MP for Sedgefield to come from one of these three.


Anonymous said...

I say vote B,stard in that case or the raving looney party!

ian holme said...

sure we will all look forward to seeing one of them campaigning hard for our votes here in hurworth..... no?

Anonymous said...

Have you heard that Sedgefield journalist Peter Troy may be standing?
What can you tell me about him please. [party unknown]?

Darlington Councillor said...

As it happens, I know Peter well. He's a charming chap, and used to head the Federation of Small Businesses in the locality. I spoke there a couple of times, and although I always got a roasting, it was always done with great courtesy!

The angle the local FSB came from was very much from the UKIP direction. You'll have to Google, but I seem to recall Peter fell out spectacularly with UKIP a couple of years ago.

If Peter's standing, I would imagine it would be on a eurosceptic ticket, but he may have moved onto fresh pastures since I last saw him.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou For that Darlington councillor. Does Peter stand any chance do you think?

Darlington Councillor said...

Insofar as I'm more likely to be the next Miss World than Peter is to be Labour's candidate (and so the next MP for Sedgefield) in the by-election - no.

I've just found Peter's blog, which should be worth a regular visit - it's at I'll add a proper link soon.

Peter Troy said...

Well, thank you very much for the compliment Nick.

Indeed I well recall your visits to the well attended Federation of Small Businesses Darlington Branch meetings (now the Durham Darlington Branch) a few years ago; your contribution to the meetings added to the calibre of the debate on matters that were of great relevance to small business. The then committee of the Darlington Branch of which I was Chairman (for 6 years) always appreciated your time. Your contributions were regarded very much as the acceptable face of New Labour (or are you old Labour?) Anyway it was a delight to hear you speak.

The FSB is very much not UKIP, though FSB Branch delegates at their a the 2001 National C conference did overwhelmingly support a motion I proposed to leave the EU; though to my regret this was not adopted as FSB policy. I have since written that in respect of the EU being a significant barrier to business growth the FSB has since become a part of the problem not the solution.

I did have a little local difficulty with some of the UKIP people who tried to associate me with the nasty, horrible racist BNP party. The gang of four that caused me so much trouble in UKIP in the North East during early 2003 and attempt to rubbish me in The Northern Echo were following an internal disciplinary investigation dismissed from office and banned from holding any future position in UKIP for 18 months. They subsequently left the Party.

I went on to fight the European Parliamentary Elections as the Lead Candidate in all of Scotland in 2004 (a position that I was elected to by Party Members).

One of my finest achievements at the Euro elections of '04 was to prove pollsters You Gov and MORI wrong. In the week before the count it was predicted that I would take a seat off the Tories and be elected an MEP. The error factor of between 4-5 per cent was however accurate and I was some 4.5 points below the number of votes required. Though increasing the vote in all of Scotland from some twelve thousand in 1999 to seventy nine thousand in 2004 was I feel an achievement.

I now work as a self employed Publicist (I have been self employed since 1985) and am a member of the International Business Organisation BNI - which was recently confused by a group of A-Political (and ignorant) business people as BNP.

I write on EU, political and consumer issues and have two regular columns in the North East press

Carry on Bogging Nick you are doing excellent work. From across the political barrier the kindest personal regards.

Peter Troy

Editor of Blogsite Very British Subjects