AS planners debated the Royal Free’s designs for a new medical research centre in Hampstead last night, ward councillor Stephen Stark was a little unsure about the community getting five grand in compensation for the loss of green space. He said this was the amount of money you’d pay for a week away in Benidorm.
As the clue to where Cllr Stark likes to holiday when the sun comes out was revealed, the holler-back from his commitee colleagues was: ‘That’s an expensive week in Benidorm’.
As deadpan and unpredictable as Cllr Stark can be, the best ‘Benidorm’ story from Camden’s local politics scrapbook will always belong to Glenda Jackson. In 1996, Labour sent her out to the resort for a ‘beach offensive’, to chat to voters while they were on holiday.
Glenda later explained that she thought the press who followed her out there had come to see her “pursued from a Spanish beach by irate British tourists’, but insisted it wasn’t like that at all. She has a picture standing next to two tattoed beer bellies to prove it. And in Chris Bryant’s biography of the Hampstead and Kilburn MP, she recalls: “‘I’ve seen her with her kit off’, one said, which was wonderful. ‘You and all of several million other people around the world,’ I thought.”