Jonah Brown puts curse on East region

GORDON Brown is nicknamed cruelly Jonah on the less polite internet chat forums because of his unerring knack of turning triumph into defeat.

So it must have been with mixed feelings that Angela Smith in Basildon, Chris Mole in Ipswich, Bob Blizzard in Waveney, and Tony Wright in Great Yarmouth received campaign visits from the Labour leader on May Day.

Brown spent much of the time talking to activists and, yes you’ve guessed, failing miserably to do anything positive for the campaigns of the four Labour unfortunates.

All lost their seats to the Conservatives

SULLEN CLARKE: News reaches me from that far flung outpost of the Empire - Norwich - that all was not sweetness and light at the count in the city’s South division.

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Charles Clarke, who sounds as well as looks grumpy, did not take defeat graciously in the early hours of Friday morning.

Clarke, one of two Labour former Home Secretaries to lose their seats, had been expected to hold on. But it seems his continuous disloyalty towards Gordon Brown didn’t go down a storm with either city Labour activists and voters or the party’s high command.

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How much outside help Clarke received I’m not sure, but it was obviously not enough because the Liberal Democrat Simon Wright gained the seat with not too much to spare.

Clarke showed his displeasure by declining an offer of a friendly handshake from Wright, who merely got a curt nod of the head.

OLD TIMERS: Should this turn out to be a five year parliament, it could well be that two senior Conservative MPs may have fought their last election.

Sir Alan Haselhurst, who has been MP for Saffron Walden for an impressive 33 years, will be 73 on June 23 and Tim Yeo and will be nudging 70 when the country next goes to the polls.

Although there is no retirement age for MPs, it would not surprise me if Sir Alan retired to spend more time in his beloved garden in his mid Essex home and Tim Yeo could share his retirement between the golf course and his penthouse flat on the banks of the River Thames overlooking MI6 headquarters and Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

JUST MADE IT: The prize for the MP with the smallest majority goes to Michelle Gildernew, who held on to Fermanagh & West Tyrone for Sinn Fein by the princely majority of four.

However, she’ll be able to spend the next five years campaigning daily in the constituency because, in common with all other Sinn Fein MPs, Gildernew will not be taking up her seat in the Commons, but will be paid.

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