No show Miliband promises later visit

PUBLISHED: 16:42 08 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 08 September 2010



David Miliband fails to turn up to leadership contest event

Labour supporters were left feeling short changed when leadership contest favourite David Miliband cancelled his scheduled visit at the last minute.

Mr Miliband failed to appear at the Northfleet Veterans Club on Sunday September 5, leaving former Olympics Minister and close supporter Tessa Jowell to take his place.

Leslie Christie, leader of Kent County Council Labour party and Gravesham Representative questioned the decision.

He said: “I thought she was a very able substitute but that is what she was, a substitute, and that is very disappointing. It is a shame that Gravesham clearly isn’t one of his priorities.”

The meeting attracted local Labour councillors, but also a selection of young party members hoping to grill the former foreign minister.

Kerrie Marsh, 18, of Milton Road, said: “It makes all the difference that Andy Burnham actually turned up (a fellow leadership candidate who visited the borough in August). I found seeing him face to face made all the difference. A lot of politics is image and how someone comes across and obviously we haven’t been able to see that,” she said.

Ms Jowell admitted she had been put on alert the previous night and said Mr Miliband’s hectic schedule in the run up to the September 25 was the reason for the no-show.

“It is a case of overscheduling, he is terribly upset not to be able to come. David and I are very close friends and he asked me to step in,” she said.

She also promised that whether the MP for South Shields should be announced new leader of the Labour Party in September he would visit Gravesham to support the party before the local election next May.

“He is a person of his word,” she said. “He has given a absolute commitment to come to Gravesham. He isn’t able to give a date yet but since he couldn’t make it today he is determined to visit to provide support before the May elections.”

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