Local MPs back Prime Minister
Katie Davies LABOUR politicians across the Ham&High area may have different views on why they are sticking with Gordon Brown, but they have vowed to back their party leader. The decision to bank on Brown, which seemed to emerge from a meeting of members
LABOUR politicians across the Ham&High area may have different views on why they are sticking with Gordon Brown, but they have vowed to back their party leader.
The decision to bank on Brown, which seemed to emerge from a meeting of members of the parliamentary party and their leader on Monday night, has the backing of Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson, Finchley and Golders Green MP Rudi Vis and Hampstead and Highgate MP Glenda Jackson.
However, the three experienced politicians have differing views on why Gordon Brown should stay - with two backing him to the hilt and the other embracing him as all the party has.
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Mr Dobson said critics would do well to remember the acclaim Mr Brown met when leading the world's handling of the global recession and he performed just as well on Monday night.
"If the meeting had been filmed without anyone knowing and shown in full on television, we could have gone straight to a general election and won it," Mr Dobson told the Ham&High.
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"It was a very good meeting and Gordon Brown spoke very, very well. I spoke and said we were being railroaded into getting rid of Gordon by the Tories and Lib Dems and a lot of our people had got carried away with them. Another General Election win for Labour is possible. We need to get on with business."
Hampstead and Highgate's Glenda Jackson agreed with her Camden colleague. "There wasn't just an air of unity at the meeting - it was unity," she said. "The Prime Minister made a wonderful speech and had a hero's welcome. Of the people who spoke, out of the 160 plus MPs there, there were only five who spoke against him and they are the people who have pretty much always set against him. We can absolutely win the General Election under Gordon."
However further north, Barnet's MP Rudi Vis was less inspired by his party leader.
Mr Vis says he has been particularly dismayed by the reports about Damian McBride and said he wanted more transparency from the Prime Minister.
However he said he would back him because he is "the best of the bunch we've got" and he couldn't see other candidates "doing any better".
The mixed reaction came with a mixed result in the European Elections for Labour. But in Camden the party did better than the rest of the country - topping the poll ahead of the Tories and Lib Dems.
Local Party leader Cllr Nasim Ali said: "Despite being a terrible week, locally we polled more than other parties in Camden. It's clear that both the Tories and Lib Dems misjudged the continuing support Labour has locally."
Labour amassed 11,167 votes in the poll, with 10,400 going to the Conservatives and 10,180 for the Lib Dems.
The two parties in coalition at the council criticised each other with the Lib Dems claiming the Tories were just "treading water in Camden" and the Tories saying their vote sampling proved they would beat the Lib Dems in the two general election seats.
However, re-elected MEP Mary Honeyball, who takes Hampstead and Highgate as one area of her constituency in an internal Labour agreement, blamed all her UK colleagues for the votes going to fringe parties like Ukip and the BNP.
"Frustratingly for Euro MPs, who work independently from the Westminster machine, expenses drowned out any attempt to make this vote about European - not national - issues," she said.
"Voters' vitriol against the main parties, and the main parties' failures to garner support, resulted in two BNP euro-MPs getting seats in Strasbourg.
"While out campaigning I was heartened by Londoners' interest and knowledge of the European political system. Their complaints were not with the European Union, but with the distaste for MPs expenses and their perceptions of a break down of unity in the Labour party.