Wednesday, 24 June 2009

By-Election Moves Centre Stage

Party leaders head back to Norwich

The race to seize Norwich North from the Labour Party stepped up a gear last night as the leaders of the two main opposition parties announced plans for return visits to the city.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg showed his determination for the party to strongly challenge for the vacant seat as he announced he would be at City College Norwich tomorrow. The full programme has yet to be confirmed.
Mr Clegg was in Norwich last Thursday for a “town hall meeting”, and also spent time at Prospect House, the home of the EDP and Evening News, to answer questions from the public during a web chat.
On the same day, Tory leader David Cameron's team said he would be in Norwich this Friday - 11 days after he hit the city for a “town hall meeting”.
It is understood that Mr Cameron will be on the campaign trail with Tory Norwich North candidate Chloe Smith, although the full programme has not been announced.
The two visits come in the wake of the resignation of Labour's Dr Ian Gibson, who stood down earlier this month after becoming embroiled in the MPs' expenses scandal.
All eyes are now on Norwich North as the nation waits for prime minister Gordon Brown to announce the date of the by-election - which could be as late as the autumn.
Despite the date being a mystery, the city has seen a succession of high-profile visitors, including deputy prime minister Harriet Harman and shadow skills minister David Willetts who, like Mr Clegg, visited the college.
The Lib Dems have chosen Norwich businesswoman and well-known political activist April Pond as their candidate.
North Norfolk Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb said: “Nick Clegg's visit is a demonstration of just how seriously the party is taking the by-election for Norwich North.
“I believe the race is wide open and it's a great opportunity for us. We've got a feisty, un-spun candidate who is potentially an attractive successor to Ian Gibson and an independent voice for Norwich.”

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