Harwich row over `local' Carswell

THE parochial nature of politics has spilled over from Colchester – where anyone born beyond the River Colne is branded an outsider – into Harwich, with Labour angry that Tory candidate Douglas Carswell is claiming to be local.

THE parochial nature of politics has spilled over from Colchester – where anyone born beyond the River Colne is branded an outsider – into Harwich, with Labour angry that Tory candidate Douglas Carswell is claiming to be local.

MP Ivan Henderson, UKIP's Jeffrey Titford, and Liberal Democrat Keith Tully were all born in the constituency. But although Mr Carswell has lived in the division only since he was chosen by the Tories three years' ago, he asserts in his leaflets that he is local.

Labour's campaign team hit out. "It's spurious – by any stretch of the imagination, Mr Carswell cannot describe himself as local. He lived in Suffolk before landing the Tory nomination – he is misleading the voters."

Mr Carswell will have none of it. "I live in Nelson Road, Clacton, so of course I am local. I am a school governor, have fought for the Lees School, and been involved in any number of campaigns. That's local to me.


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"It's an act of desperation by Labour – if all they can do is attack me instead of talking about what matters to people such as immigration and defending their policies on law and order, they must be running scared."

GROUP Captain Al Lockwood, whose face was beamed into millions of households during the Iraq conflict in his role as the official military spokesman, has been chosen by the Conservative Party to take on Tony Blair's 17,000 majority in Sedgefield.

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The former fighter pilot left the RAF earlier this year and has chosen to pursue a career in politics. He has replaced Danny Kruger who dropped out as Tory candidate after he was quoted in a newspaper as saying the party was planning a "period of creative destruction"' in the public services. The Conservative Party claimed his remarks were taken out of context.

LESS than 50 MPs bothered to turn up in the Commons last Thursday to hear the Prime Minister's report on the European summit. The other 600 were either eating hot cross buns in the numerous parliamentary eateries or have come to the conclusion – probably correct – that `Europe' is not an issue for more than 1% of the voters.

By staying away, they missed one of the best Commons exchanges on the EU for years. John Bercow, the radical Tory who sits for Buckingham, asked whether the Prime Minister had complained to President Chirac that Total Oil's 400 million US dollar investment in Burma was propping up the brutal military dictatorship there.

"Isn't it high time that the EU resolved that its common position towards oppressive regimes should be driven by respect for human rights and democratic values and not by the pursuit of filthy lucre and narrow short-term self-interest?"'

The Prime Minister said this was not something he had raised with President Chirac. "But the basic point you make is right."

BABERGH district council in Suffolk should hang its head in shame at the disgraceful state of the verge on the A1214 exit from Ipswich.

Any local authority with an ounce of civic pride would clear the amount of litter – in the main, scores of discarded plastic carrier bags blown from Tesco on the other side of the road – which is strewn along the hedgerows and in the gutter.

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