Yesterday my most important job as Parliamentary Agent was satisfactorily completed. Three sets of nomination papers, together with the necessary consent form and party approval, were delivered and accepted as valid by the returning officer. At 1100 Denise Burke became the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for North Norfolk. Two of the three sets of nomination papers were security back-up only, needed in case our first set was declared invalid for any reason. Each form required ten signatures. The thirty signatures were secured without difficulty.
What is more difficult is obtaining ten signatures for the forms required in the District Council elections. This must be completed before the closing date of April 9th. There are 48 separate District Council seats in North Norfolk and the Labour Party intends to field a candidate in all of them. Some, like my home seat of Glaven Valley are pretty hopeless for Labour and we are putting up candidates solely to give Labour voters the opportunity to express their preference. Some of these candidates have little time even to gather nominations and the rest of us are helping them out.
Accordingly early this week I spent a day trying to secure signatures for our candidate in the very rural ward of Chaucer. I have no idea why it carries this name since the Canterbury Tale Pilgrims would have been completely lost if they passed this way. We had the names of a number of people who had contacted Denise electronically at one time or another and, to my delight, several of them were prepared to sign. What they had in common was not that they were avowedly Labour – they weren’t – but they shared a dislike at the self-satisfied and hedonistic campaign that the Conservatives are waging. The form was completed.
This was hard work. It will be interesting to see how the other parties get on with the task of putting candidates in the field. If an elector signs more than one candidate’s nomination paper only the first set of papers received is valid. Already we in the Labour Party have had one set returned for that reason. A LibDem in a neighbouring seat naively asked the Labour candidate to sign his nomination papers. However, the prize so far must go to the individual in our nearest town who asked someone to sign his papers by saying: ‘I’m not at all political but I’m standing for UKip’. The request was declined.