South Shields considering replacement for David Miliband

Posted: March 28, 2013 by Ellion hossain in News
Tags: , , , , ,
Disgruntled voters in ex-cabinet minister’s constituency still believe next MP will be Labour – but Ukip may have other ideas
Shields Gazette

The Shields Gazette announces David Miliband’s departure from British politics.

In Westminster the talk may all be about David Miliband jetting off to New York because he couldn’t hack being in his brother’s shadow. That’s not how many people see it in South Shields, the north-east constituency the elder Miliband has represented since 2001.

“He’s been offered more money, hasn’t he?” said David Oley, selling copies of the Shields Gazette on Ocean Road in the town centre. “You don’t leave a good job for another unless you’re getting paid more, do you?” Quite right, said a customer, Gordon Haslop. “It’s obvious he is going to be handsomely paid in New York – and you already get a lot as an MP.”

The daily Gazette had splashed on the departure of its local MP, revealing that the constituency Labour party would prefer him to be replaced by “a local candidate, rather than a prospective MP ‘parachuted’ in by head office”. The South Tyneside council leader, Iain Malcolm, could be a contender for the takeover, the paper mused.

David Oley

David Oley.Haslop, a retired welder who works part-time in the local hospital as a porter, said the next MP would certainly be Labour. “People have got very short memories around here,” he said, complaining that while Miliband “hadn’t done much for us”, his successor would be unlikely to lose the 11,109 majority he won in 2010. “Better the devil you know.”

Like most people in the town, Haslop said he could never vote for the Tories. “Look around you,” he said. “They killed this place, Margaret Thatcher and co. Just look at the river, there’s nothing there any more.”

South Shields is proud to be the only constituency in existence since the Great Reform Act of 1832 to have never elected a Conservative MP. But could Ukip make inroads? The anti-EU party didn’t even bother fielding a candidate in 2010 but a spokesman said on Wednesday morning that it was “very likely” to this time. “People have already been applying to stand,” he said.

Nigel Farage already has one vote in the can: postwoman Tracy Johnson, a lifelong Labour voter who felt the party had lost its way. “I don’t think Labour is Labour any more,” she said, delivering letters in the town centre. “I don’t think they represent ordinary working people any more. Think of how many millionaires were made when they were in government.”

It wasn’t right for Miliband to quit halfway through a term, she said, having said after losing the leadership election in 2010: “I am proud and want to stay as an MP for South Shields. I want to stay for at least the five years of this government.” But she could understand it, she said, employing a lovely bit of local lingo to explain the situation: “He’s had his plug knocked out by his brother, hasn’t he?”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s