ED Miliband was crowing about Sally Gimson’s Highgate by-election win at the Labour conference with a special name-check for the councillor now representing his home ward in Dartmouth Park. Cynics say he waited to see the result before he made any mention of the campaign. (Remember the Greens were ‘very likely’ to win… according to the Greens). When it came to the count, however, Miliband was kind of there in spirit. One of his closest advisers, Polly Billington, was in the cheering throng.
This might have been thought of as very welcome for the local Labour team, help and experience from the top team and all that. But it didn’t stop the familiar what’s she after? gossip among members. I tell you… this seats scramble thing does bring out the spikiest of tongues – a few people assumed she must want a look at one of the Camden constituencies at the next general election in exchange for a bit of help. Polly was a misser-outer on the shortlist to become a Labour candidate in North Tyneside last year.
But fear not seat chasers! Stay calm! Well placed sources (or key gossip mill crankers at least) say Polly is more interested in other challenges. Where? Howsabout the early selection contest in super-marginal Thurrock, surrendered to the Tories last year. *collective red sigh of relief*