Thursday 29 April 2010

The plight of De Piero's surrogate...

Before I nip off I want to tip my hat to a brave man.

As I reported in detail yesterday there were all sorts of shenanigans going on after Gloria De Piero refused to go to an Ashfield hustings.

Labour eventually allowed Andrew Clayworth, the Labour PPC standing against Ken Clarke in Rushcliffe, to fill in.

He initially had to deal with a man dressed as a chicken outside the event – an attempt to taunt De Piero for not turning up.

It was never a hustings he was going to “win”, but once inside he had a particularly torrid time.

Clayworth initially began by suggesting De Piero was constantly learning more about Ashfield. In fact, he said, she had been discussing things “with Geoff…”

It was as though he suddenly realised that if he finished the name of the former Ashfield MP, which seems to be unspeakable in the constituency, things would get worse.

As it was the word “Geoff” hung in the air like a bad whiff for a few seconds before the crowd began heckling.

Clayworth was faced with the unenviable task of trying to promote De Piero while explaining why she was absent – a question to which some people would not see any answer as acceptable.

In attempting to explain what De Piero would do as MP he started his answers with “Gloria intends/says/thinks…” – this soon become a recurring theme.

When the chair called him to answer one question, before he could get a word in, a man in the audience shouted “Gloria says…” drawing a fair bit of laughter.

What made things worse was that there were a lot of BNP supporters in the relatively small crowd. Because De Piero had not attended, Labour had not brought any support – so there was a fair bit of hostility about.

Clayworth had no reason to come. Perhaps he hopes it will help persuade his party to give him a more winnable seat than Rushcliffe next time round.

Either way, he took one for the team.

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