Sunday, March 01, 2009

On the European Trail

Corus' Redcar Site on Wednesday.

A busy week campaigning, culminating in a very successful Labour European Forum in Sunderland.

Included on the itinerary was speaking to residents in Trimdon, and a visit to Corus' Redcar site, where I spoke with union officials about the economic downturn.

This was a very useful meeting, and a good opportunity to discuss Labour's international approach to tackling the credit crunch. There was a strong consensus that the Tories' strategy of sit back and do nothing would have left the country in a truly parlous state. In the Q&A afterwards, we also considered issues such as the dangers of protectionism, beating the BNP, how the EU can help with re-training of workers made redundant, and the pros and cons of the Euro.

I rounded off the week at the Sunderland Glass Centre at our last big region-wide party meeting before June 4th. It was a packed event, with over 80 representatives present from Berwick to Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. Our keynote speaker was Caroline Flint MP the Minister for Europe, and we were also joined by Anna Colombo, Secretary General of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.

The meeting was chaired by Julie Elliott, Labour's newly-selected PPC for the new Sunderland Central seat (the Glass Centre is in her patch). Her team is already up and running, and this will be one of the many constituencies I'll be visiting (several times!) between now and June 4th.

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