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Labour MP stands firm despite Tory threat

PUBLISHED: 14:14 05 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:28 07 September 2010

WITH Labour supporters riding high following bold displays of optimism by Peter Mandelson and the Prime Minister at the party s annual conference in Brighton on Monday, MPs in north London are fighting back with a renewed sense of vigour agai

Josie Hinton

WITH Labour supporters riding high following bold displays of optimism by Peter Mandelson and the Prime Minister at the party's annual conference in Brighton on Monday, MPs in north London are fighting back with a renewed sense of vigour against the predicted "London Landslip".

The outlook for Labour has been bleak: opinion polls have shown a massive shift in support in London to the Conservatives - with one newspaper predicting 17 of its London seats being lost to the Tories in the coming election.

But the Primrose Hill Business Secretary's speech, during which he told supporters "If I can come back, we can come back," hinted at a change of fortune for the party just days before Gordon Brown also tried to rally the troops.

And north London's Labour MPs have signalled, like their leader, they will not go down without a fight.

Glenda Jackson, MP for Hampstead and Highgate, which becomes the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency at the next vote, said: "We can certainly win.

"This is the first real election we've had since 1992. It's not a done deal - we have to get out there and work very hard with people throwing bricks at us - but I think it is imminently winnable.

"When it comes to the vote, it's about voting for Labour, a party people know, or for change by a thousand cuts."

Alison Moore, who hopes to take over from Rudi Vis who is standing down from his seat of Finchley and Golders Green at the next election, was equally positive as she spoke from the conference.

She said: "The atmosphere here has been brilliant - there's a lot of energy and excitement. I think we've got every chance and I never say die. Rudi has been a great local representative for a long time, and there is no reason his seat can't remain Labour."

Meanwhile at Camden level, Conservatives and Liberal Demo-crats already seem to be fighting over the scraps of a Labour wipe-out. The Conservative group has even opted for sneaky tactics - sending out a letter to Liberal Democrats voters and councillors urging them to switch sides.

Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative parliamentary candidate and councillor Chris Philp signed off the letters.

They say: "As I talk to people in our community, more and more of them say we need change. They want to see an end to this failed Labour Government.

"Many are also telling me that they used to vote Liberal Democrat - but now they are going to vote Conservative... If you would like to help get rid of this failed Labour Government. And if you share our aims, then please forward this to anyone you know who votes or is considering voting Liberal Democrat."

But Cllr Philp was keen to dismiss the idea that the leaflets sound the battle cry for an electoral fight between the two parties who run the council in partnership.

Cllr Philp said: "I don't think there is any bad blood on the council. Who knows how things will pan out closer to the election but I don't detect any change."

This came a week after Lib Dem councillor Alexis Rowell singled out top Tory councillors in Camden, including Cllr Philp, for their devotion to gas guzzling cars.

His wrath appeared in last week's Ham&High front page Emission Possible and was branded as a barbed personal attack by his political opponents.

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