IN the final days of the 2010 election, there was speculation as to why Nick Clegg had been the only party leader to visit the three-way battleground of Hampstead and Kilburn. Gordon Brown eventually turned up to stand by stand with Glenda Jackson in the North London Tavern up the Kilburn High Road. David Cameron stayed away. His candidate lost by just 42 votes and yet Cameron hadn’t come to help out once. What’s in a visit from a leader? Who knows, in electoral terms. But it surely provides some form of bounce, a buzz, and if Brown coming and Cameron not coming was the difference last time, the Tories are keen not to make the same blunder this time. There is much talk that Cameron will grace the constituency at some stage over the next few weeks and local Conservatives have been thinking where to parade him. Apparently, the Sheriff Centre in West Hampstead, which some Tories see as a perfect emblem for Cameron’s ‘big society’ message, with its post office within a church, was high on the shortlist. That is it was, until Labour candidate Tulip Siddiq’s latest post-out included St James’ Reverend Andrew Cain, the church’s priest, endorsing her campaign.
Tulip’s letter doesn’t only have the Rev on board, to cast a spell of all-encompassing support, it also includes a nurse, a businessman and a student. But the bookies are no longer quite as convinced as they were that her campaign is coasting to an inevitable victory. On March 16, William Hill and others were offering miserly odds of 1/6 on a Labour success in Hampstead and Kilburn. That price has now drifted out to 1/4. At Ladbrokes, the price is as plump as 1/3. Of course, these changes do not alter what the number-rollers think is likely to happen, They do not reflect the 50/50 chance which Conservative Simon Marcus says he now reckons he has here. But his own odds have thinned to 7/2, a shorter price than Glenda Jackson went off with on election day in 2010.
TOM’S BIG TRIP
TOM Smith, the deputy chairman of the Holborn and St Pancras Conservatives, has had to wish local candidate Will Blair well, pack a Trunki, and head off to an uphill challenge of his own. He is standing in the Labour fortress of Gateshead on May 7 (Lab majority 12k). Never mind the Tory beano with Sol Campbell to Thanet yesterday, Tom could be found 330 miles away helping out in Berwick where the Conservatives are trying to snatch a seat from the Lib Dems.
— Thomas Smith (@Tom_Smith26) April 4, 2015
TWO weeks ago, UKIP candidate Maxine Spencer launched her online appeal for donations to aid her campaign against Sir Keir Starmer and Co in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency. She started off her quest to raise £2,000 with a £50 bid. In a fortnight, this pot has swelled to… £70.