Cameron's Colchester love-in

TORY leader David Cameron will be in Colchester next Monday, giving voters the opportunity to quiz him face to face and unrehearsed as part of the nationwide Cameron Direct tour.

Graham Dines

TORY leader David Cameron will be in Colchester next Monday, giving voters the opportunity to quiz him face to face and unrehearsed as part of the nationwide Cameron Direct tour.

It is, of course, a huge risk for two reasons. The event in the Moot Hall is not restricted to Conservative Party members, which sets up the opportunity for opposing malcontents to gain admission and make mischief.

And the other possibility is that local residents might not turn up, making the evening something of a fiasco. Nevertheless, Will Quince, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Colchester, said: “It's a great opportunity for everyone - of any political persuasion - to come along and raise their issues, questions and concerns with him.

“It is the members of the public who set the agenda for the evening - whatever the question, issue or concern, it will be answered.”

Anyone who is interested must have a ticket, which has to obtained in advance by e-mailing camerondirect@colchesterconservatives.com

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Colchester is a seat which became a three way-marginal in the 1997 when the Liberal Democrats scraped home, became a safer seat for the Lib Dems in 2001, and with the ignominious collapse of the Labour vote in 2005, turned into a relatively strong Lib Dem constituency in 2005.

With the Conservatives 19% in the lead over Labour nationally, the Tory candidate has an evens chance, assuming Labour's vote in Colchester hits the floor - which seems probable - and that supporters jump direct to the Tories.

The polls suggest that in constituencies which are a two-way Labour-Tory fight, that will happen. Throw in a Liberal Democrat incumbent, who at the last election was 13.98% ahead of the Conservatives, and all bets are off.

CYCLE LANES NONSENSE IN FELIXSTOWE

PERHAPS it's just my simplistic mind, but when a council invests a lot of paint and painters' time in marking out a cycle lane, it should surely be illegal for cars to park in it.

Not so, well certainly not in Felixstowe, where Suffolk county council has marked out two sets of lanes for cyclists on both sides of High Road East but only at the town centre end is parking banned in them.

“The lanes have been installed to highlight to drivers that they should leave a safe space for cyclists,” says a council spokesman. “The section of solid line is where it is illegal to park.”

I'm not convinced. Perhaps the county council would like to answer this: what evidence will they present to the coroner at the inquest into the death of the first cyclist killed by another vehicle when he or she leaves a cycle lane to overtake a parked car?

TERRY'S COMMENT MAKES THE NATIONALS

MAKING THE NATIONAL NEWS: “Paris has its Eiffel Tower, London has Tower Bridge and in Frinton we have the gates”' - Terry Allen, Mayor of Frinton-on-Sea, which has just lost its battle to preserve its Victorian level-crossing railway gates.