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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Blackman’

So the dust has settled: Tony McNulty is out and Bob Blackman is in. Gareth Thomas fought off Rachel Joyce and despite Cleggmania there were no significant gains for the Lib Dems. 

The web is buzzing with views on the result of the 2010 election in Harrow, so here is Stanmore Politics with the most interesting theories:

All down to Boris: When London went blue to years ago it certainly boosted the Conservatives. And as the mayor himself told Evening Standard journalist Paul Waugh: “I would say it’s Boris wot won it in areas such as Harrow East.”

  Elsewhere, blogger Boris Watch disagrees, noting that where there were high profile Labour losses – in Harrow East or in Brentford and Isleworth for Ann Keen – it was more about constituency record and expenses.

“So where does this leave Boris?  Well, when elected he was supposed to use his charisma to deliver London to Cameron, which would have won him the Premiership.  

“Instead Boris has been decidedly low-profile [...] where Labour seats were lost there appear to have been extraneous factors like an undefendably low majority or expenses scandals rather than a Boris Halo

Paying the price? The majority of commentators have argued that McNulty’s loss – and conversely Gareth Thomas’ win – comes down to expenses.

The Telegraph raged ‘disgraced MPs are driven out by angry voters’ while the Scotsman noted ‘the expenses scandal claimed another victim’ and the Daily Mail waved ‘Cheerio to those cheats’.

One commenter on the blog ThisisBigBrother wrote: “This bunch of sleaze merchants refused to resign but justice has now been done!”

Tory trouble? Lest we forget, both Harrow East and West were Conservative before 1997, but while new Labour has been well and truly decimated Gareth Thomas held on with a respectable majority. Helped by some boundary changes, why did his opponent Rachel Joyce – a very credible candidate – not boot him out too?

The Telegraph’s London Editor Andrew Gilligan  writes that ‘it was also due to a patchy performance by the Tories’ and comments:

“First, candidates clearly mattered in this election. And unlike Boris in 2008, Cameron has not broken through to the working class, in the capital at least.”

The Times notes that this was ‘a terrible night for science’, something that had Dr Joyce been elected, would have been slightly less the case.

Lib Dem loss? Days ago, the Lib Dems under Nick ‘British Obama’ Clegg were tipped by all the pundits and polls to come second in the popular vote, and certainly improve their share of seats. In Harrow, not much changed.

Neil Midgley, the Telegraph’s assistant media editor said: “If you look at the opinion polls at the start of the campaign, and the final results, they are very similar.

“In other words: all that TV hoopla had pretty much no impact on the overall final result at all.

“Of course, individual voters may have switched to and fro based on what they saw on the TV. But the individual constituency results that are striking tend to be so (Jacqui Smith, Tony McNulty) because of the MPs’ expenses scandal”

Green candidate Rowan Langley notes happily: “in Harrow our own supporters turned out to take that leap of faith on the Green candidates, on the ballot paper for the first time, 625 in Harrow West and 793 Harrow East.”

What did Twitter think? One of the sad parts about the defeats of McNulty and Joyce is that Harrow now has even less political representation on twitter. But that didn’t stop the local Twitterati from having their say:

@bigpantywoman: “Wish lab had put up new people in  [sic] Smith and Tony McNulty’s seats, must have known wd lose” 

@MarcusDysch_JC: “The electorate knows what it is doing. Had given the likes of Tony McNulty and Jacqui Smith a kick in balls where they deserved one. Good.”

@alextingle “I agreed most with Christopher Noyce (Liberal Democrats) in Harrow West – how about you?”

@reporterboy “Tony McNulty was cheerful and polite throughout the night, and still so despite the clear dejection of defeat. Respect for that from me.”

@mattgodbolt “Yay! Tony McNulty is no longer my MP. Conservatives got in, not my choice but not a total disaster”

@ilyine “Tony McNulty is goneski.”

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Harrow East’s newly elected MP has spoken about his win.

Bob Blackman, victorious on his fourth attempt to gain a parliamentary seat, hailed it as a rejection of Labour locally and nationally.

Conservative Blackman, who resigned from Brent council to stand in Harrow, said he hoped this would be the dawn of ‘an even better age and a better time’.

 He said: “I look forward to serving the people of Harrow East.”

Paying tribute to ‘concientious former MP Tony McNulty , who he ousted with a majority of 3,403, he said “I do know what it is like to lose an election.

“He must be feeling pretty rough now.

“I would like to be as diligent as he was if not more so.”

McNulty commented that Harrow East had not heard the last of Labour.

“Anyone who thinks this is a good result for the Conservatives locally or nationally needs their head examined.”

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Britain may be facing a hung parliament but in Harrow East the result is clear – Conservative Bob Blackman is the new MP.

Labour’s Tony McNulty has lost his seat after 13 years, gaining 18,032 votes compared with Blackman’s 21,435.

However is was mixed news for Harrow as Labour’s Gareth Thomas held on to his Harrow West seat, beating off Dr. Rachel Joyce for first place with a majority of 3,143.

Full Results

Bob Blackman (Con)21435 (44.65%) 3403

Tony McNulty (Lb)18032 (37.56%)

Nahid Boethe (Lb Dem)6850 (14.27%) 
 
Abhijit Pandya (UKIP) 896 (1.87%)
 
Madeleine Atkins (Green) 93 (1.65%)
 
Harrow West

Gareth Thomas (Lab) 20,111

Dr Rachel Joyce (Con) 16,968 (36.79%)

Chris Noyce (Lib Dem) 7,458 (16.17%)

Herbert Crossman (UKIP) 954 (2.07%)

Rowan Langley (Green)  625 (1.36%)

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We’ve been talking about it for ages. In every newspaper, on every radio or TV programme, on Facebook and Twitter, the hot topic is the race to run the country.   

But away from deficits, bigots and Nick Clegg, Stanmore Politics is on hand with what Harrow needs to know for the 2010 election.  

When is the election?  

Next Thursday, May 6th. You will be voting in the general election for an MP for either Harrow East or West, as well as in the local election.  

Unless you have voted by post, you will need to cast your vote at a polling station between 7am and 10pm.  

Who can I vote for in the general election?  

In Harrow East:  

Madeleine Atkins - Green  

Bob Blackman -  Conservative  

Nahid Boethe - Liberal Democrat  

Tony McNulty - Labour (read an exclusive interview with the incumbent MP here)  

Abhijit Pandya - UK Independence Party  

In Harrow West:  

Herbert Crossman – Uk Independence Party  

Rachel Joyce - Conservative  

Rowan Langley – Green  

Chris Noyce - Liberal Democrat  

Gareth Thomas - Labour  

Who can I vote for in the council election?  

Stanmore Park. For other Harrow wards click here  

Conservative  

 Camilla Bath  

Christine Bednell  

Mark Versallion  

 Labour  

Ann Groves  

Trevor James  

Eileen McNulty  

Liberal Democrats  

Cliff Thomas  

Sylvia Warshaw  

 Green  

Linda Robinson  

Find out who the current Stanmore Park councillors are here.  

Will I be voting in the same place as last time?  

Not necessarily.  Boundary changes mean the Greenhill and Marlborough wards and one part of Harrow-on-the-Hill are now in Harrow West. Meanwhile former Harrow West wards of Hatch End, Pinner, and Pinner South are now under the new constituency of Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. Check with Harrow Council to be sure.  

Does my vote matter in Harrow?  

If you go by the 2005 results, no – both Tony McNulty and Gareth Thomas clinched a third term. Thomas has a nominal majority of  2,028 and McNulty of 4,730.  

But don’t let the numbers fool you. Both were safe Tory seats until 1997, and the last few years have not been easy, especially with the legacy of expenses hanging over Harrow East.  

Thomas faces a particularly powerful challenge from Joyce, a doctor who has been making her mark in the area for some time.

While Blackman is himself a controversial figure, on his fourth attempt to enter parliament, 2005 saw the constituency swing a significant 6.9 per cent towards the Conservatives.  

You can see just how powerful your vote is here, but essentially, the result is difficult to predict. Which means all the more reason to get out and vote on Thursday.  

Where is my nearest polling station?  

To find out, type your postcode into Harrow council’s helpful device or look at the map on the official polling Election Poll Card you should have received in the post.  

What if I haven’t got a polling card?  

It may still be delivered, but don’t panic. As long as you are on the electoral register you can still vote.  

When will the result be announced?  

Both Harrow seats are set to count their votes on the night, but as for the national result, the numbers may not give us much of an outcome. Pollsters are predicting a hung parliament (read a good guide to that here). But as soon as the results are in, Stanmore Politics will be on hand to tell you the score.  

Any other questions?  

Still confused? Don’t know who to vote for? Drop me a line at stanmorepolitics@gmail.com or on Twitter at @stanmorepol

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Is Tony McNulty ‘starting to be reintegrated into polite society?

Ross Lydall, reporting on London’s battleground seats for the Evening Standard, certainly thinks so.

In his report, which you can read in full here, he notes McNulty’s expenses record has not featured heavily on the doorstep (despite nationally voters making it a central campaign issue).

Lydall highlights visits to the constituency from Labour topdogs David Miliband and Alan Johnson and the eleventh hour decision to find the funding for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, which saved McNulty from a potentially life-threatening independent challenge.

Focusing on Bob Blackman, Lydall quotes the Tory candidate as saying: “I have done my apprenticeship” and places him as raring for the contest next week. But Lydall adds that the former Brent councillor and four times parliamentary candidate has many enemies.

For our reading pleasure, Lydall has even added to the online version a link to the comments on his blog by said enemies.

So is McNulty back and will voters focus on his local record rather than the national profile which was so elevated by last year’s expenses scandal? With eight days to go, it’s anyones guess.

One thing that will probably help McNulty pick up some support is his signature on the pledge to oppose a fee rise for students.

The NUS campaign has attracted support from more than 1,000 candidates of all parties, including fellow Labour bigwigs Phil Woolas and Roberta Blackman-woods, an aide to universities minister David Lammy.

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The candidates for Harrow East clashed over race relations and the expenses scandal at The HA1’s pre-election debate last night.

Outgoing Labour MP Tony McNulty, Conservative candidate Bob Blackman, Liberal Democrat candidate Nahid Boethe and UKIP candidate Abhijit Pandya were at The University of Westminster to discuss questions raised by voters and students.

The first question asked referred to the quality of race relations in local communities, with Black and Minority Ethnic groups now making up 55 per cent of Harrow’s population. UKIP member Mr Pandya, who is of Indian origin, caused controversy and was laughed at by the audience when he talked of creating “one Britishness” by encouraging the various ethnic communities to attend gatherings promoting British culture.

The other three candidates disagreed and were united in claiming that Harrow East’s ethnic communities were functioning well living side by side and bringing their own different cultures to the community.

Mr McNulty directly attacked Mr Pandya saying: “You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about.

“You are a BNP man in a suit.”

Conservative candidate Mr Blackman said: “There is great tolerance here of different races and religions. Mrs Boethe added: “We are all the same, we are all living together”. The debate soon moved on to the expenses scandal.

Last year, Mr McNulty was shamed by The Daily Telegraph who reported that he had claimed second home allowances on a house that his parents live in. One Stanmore resident in the audience, Graham Hall, told the panel: “I’m afraid MPs in Parliament just do not get it, at how annoyed the public are over the expenses scandal.”

Addressing Mr McNulty directly, he added: ”You were a minister at the Home Office. You really should know what it is to be upright and honest in your dealings over your expenses.”

Mr McNulty said that he had taken advice from the fees office on his expenses 10 years ago and that the advice turned out to be wrong. He has since apologised both to his constituents and to Parliament and paid back the amount.

Mr Blackman said: “All politicians should be apologising rather than saying ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’. What I hear when I go door to door is that the current Labour MP has let everyone down and I don’t know how he has got the cheek to stand. ”

Mr Pandya said he would push for criminal sanctions for MPs who abuse the system whilst Mrs Boethe promised transparency from the Liberal Democrats.

Other issues discussed included problems caused by the closure of the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines at weekends and the failure to get proper disabled access at Stanmore and Harrow on the Hill stations. Mr McNulty blamed London Mayor Boris Johnson and Mr Blackman blamed former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mrs Boethe said both parties were guilty of failing to get things done. The Labour and Conservative candidates clashed again over the future of Northwick Park Hospital.

Mr McNulty told Mr Blackman to “stop lying” over fears the Accident and Emergency department there could be closed. “There is no threat to the A&E department at Northwick Park Hospital,” he said.

“We want to grow and develop and get to a stage where Northwick Park Hospital is one of the finest hospitals in London.”

Mr Blackman disagreed, saying: “The position is that NHS London are consulting at the moment… and that says 5 out of 8 of the A&E services in north-west London will close. “It’s not fair to say that there‘s no threat to Northwick Park Hospital, because there is.”

The discussion finished on particularly sensitive issues when a member of the audience asked the candidates what they intended to do about the proposed job cuts at the University of Westminster.

All candidates offered to speak to the Vice Chancellor. Bob Blackman closed the discussion saying: “If constituents are being faced with job cuts, I would ask why this is being done. You need the expertise of teachers to be passed on to the students. You cut these people at your peril.”

Madeleine Atkins is also standing for election in Harrow East as a representative of the Green Party, but did not take up the opportunity to attend last night’s debate.

The report of yesterday’s debate was written by Victoria Maw. See photos from the event and more over at The HA1

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The election is turning ever nastier in Harrow East.

The Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall reports the battle of words taking place between the Labour and Tory candidates for the constituency.

Lydall describes Labour’s Tony McNulty as an ‘attack dog’ and notes Tory Bob Blackman is a ‘colourful figure who seems to have more enemies [...] than the average politician yet to make it to the national stage’.

Following these pleasantries, Lydall gives both a chance to explain themselves (Nahid Boethe, the Lib Dem’s candidate, is curiously absent).

Blackman tells Lydall: “You don’t do the sort of things I have done in Brent without breaking a few eggs,” then goes on to draw attention to McNulty’s expenses record.

“I don’t believe in taking from the public purse. The company I work for, if you claim expenses, you have got to have a receipt for everything you claim. Why should MPs be any different?”

McNulty hits back, indignantly claiming he didn’t fiddle his expenses.

He protests: “[There were] no duck houses, flipping, capital gains tax. I regard myself as a man of integrity.”

Lydall says this is only a taste of what is to come, so we can look forward to more friendly banter next week.

Update

For a taste of what Harrow people think of both McNulty and Blackman, scroll down to the comment section on Lydall’s post.

One Tim Vines writes: “How was he selected for this marginal seat when he had a leaky & smelly baggage”.

Meanwhile P’doff pensioner rages: “Why is this piece of trash McNulty being allowed to stand again after being found guilty of theft?” 

Go on guys, get it out of your system.

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