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Labour seat furore

PUBLISHED: 10:44 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:36 25 August 2010

Nick Edwards/Kent News & Pictures Limited/ Picture Desk / 01622 755887 

22 year old Georgia Gould, daughter of Lord Gould, one of Tony Blair's closest advisers, leaving home this morning. Georgia is set to be selected for the safe Labour seat of Erith and Thamesmead, by party chiefs, without going through the local selection process. Labour activists are opposing her selection claiming in is an example of cronyism.

Nick Edwards/Kent News & Pictures Limited/ Picture Desk / 01622 755887 22 year old Georgia Gould, daughter of Lord Gould, one of Tony Blair's closest advisers, leaving home this morning. Georgia is set to be selected for the safe Labour seat of Erith and Thamesmead, by party chiefs, without going through the local selection process. Labour activists are opposing her selection claiming in is an example of cronyism.

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A Times survey has revealed how political infighting has led voters to believe the Labour Party has 'turned its back on them'.

VOTE: Paul Richardson said a candidate needs life experience.

A Times survey has revealed how political infighting has led voters to believe the Labour Party has 'turned its back on them'.

Residents believe British industry has died, the party's reputation had been rocked by sleaze allegations and the working class were no longer represented by Labour.

Their furious reaction came as the vote for a Labour parliamentary candidate in Erith and Thamesmead, scheduled for last Saturday was axed after a broken ballot box seal was discovered. On Tuesday the Met police said they would not launch an investigation into the incident despite a request by current MP, John Austin.

Gardener Richard Smith, 64, from Welling, said: "I voted Labour last time but now we don't have a Labour party. I was looking forward to seeing them take the railways back into public ownership and stop the monopoly of the big bus companies. I would like someone to listen to the working man. New Labour are just a different kind of Tory."

The controversy over the seat began last month - seven months after current MP John Austin announced his retirement, when proposed candidate Georgia Gould, 22, was accused of being 'parachuted' into the seat that has been Labour for 12 years.

The London School of Economics postgraduate student is daughter of one of New Labour's key architects Lord Philip Gould. Her mother is millionaire publisher Gail Rebuck.

Van driver Clifford Fenn, 56, from Erith said: "Costs keep going up and up and the wages stay the same. There is no consideration for the working class. MPs are in it for themselves."

Mother-of-two Amanda Morris, 43, from Thamesmead, added: "I used to vote Labour but the last two years I haven't voted because it is a waste of time."

A health worker who works in Erith, who did not want to be identified, said: "Labour's ratings are rock bottom. With the sleaze allegations, they have to make the right decision, otherwise it could alienate the constituents."

But a spokesperson from the central Labour party said: "David Cameron would take Britain out of the Social Chapter which would mean cuts in employment rights. As individuals, families and businesses feel the pressures of the global downturn, Labour will not sit back and do nothing."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WHILE Labour fight amongst themselves over their new candidate in the General Election, we asked Erith and Thamesmead residents and workers to find out what they think of Georgia Gould and the Labour list...

LIFE-LONG Labour voter and retired civil servant Robert Bellard, 88, of Saltford Close, Erith said: "I should think they want someone who is from the area.

"I am sure they are very nice but she doesn't know the area. But then again, these days young women are very well educated. However, we do need a bit of

experience."

FATHER-of-two Daniel Ogunleye, 44, from Thamesmead, a self-employed business promotion manager, said: "If they are not local, it is not democratic with the selection of candidates.

"It is not ideal. They exploit the fact it is safe Labour seat. It is a bit like taking advantage.

"I am still undecided who I will vote for at the next General Election. Labour don't always deliver but they do keep some of its promises."

SALES rep Jayne Stephens, 47, from Erith, is a mum-of-two and looks after her disabled mother. She said: "You don't know what to believe. Whether they are going to do what they say they are or whether they are what they are going to do all the time."

FORMER bus driver John Sparks, 50, from Thamesmead, said: "We need younger people. Good luck to her. If she has put herself in the race. She can't do any worse than what anyone else has done.

"The working class haven't done much good being in power, so give her a chance.

"A person who has been a trade union member all their life doesn't make them any better than a millionaire's daughter.

"What is lacking is referendums."

DAD Paul Richardson, 29, from Erith, said: "The only time I voted was when I was in the army and they brought the ballot boxes to our base in Surrey. I voted Labour then. We need a candidate from the area. A millionaire's daughter would have not had much life

experience.

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