April 2010 Archives
The Labour Party could be heading for its worst General Election defeat in Birmingham in decades.
Not my claim, but that of a Labour stalwart who says he can't remember when the party has been so unpopular on the doorsteps.
The well-known Birmingham figure, who naturally does not wish to be identified, says canvassing returns during the past couple of weeks have been disastrous.
And with the party struggling in most national opinion polls to climb above 30 per cent, Labour organisers must be eyeing nervously the likes of Hall Green, Ladywood and Hodge Hill, where the Liberal Democrats are making a big push.
While Parliament winds down in preparation for dissolution for Monday, a few measures are still being debated and decisions made in what is known as the "wash up".
This is a period when the Government tries to get uncontroversial measures approved. But because there is no time for the usual full debate, it is easy for the opposition to block proposals they disapprove of.
Tories are taking the credit for blocking (or perhaps just delaying, if Labour wins the election) proposals for a 50p monthly phone tax to pay for new broadband networks, and a 10 per cent rise in cider duty.
David Cameron's visit to Birmingham today won't be the last we see of him. A Tory colleague tells me he'll be back often during the campaign.
It's a sign of the importance the Tories attach to winning Edgbaston from Labour as well potentially as other Birmingham seats such as Northfield.
Then there's Stourbridge in the Black Country, Solihull. Redditch, Stafford and Wolverhampton South West, all key marginals in the West Midlands.
But they might have a hard time dislodging sitting Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart if their campaign focuses on getting rid of Gordon Brown - which seems to be the plan.
I've just sent the following to my editors on the Post and Mail via e-mail. Please do let me know what questions you think we should be asking.
We have been invited to submit some Qs to David Cameron. I don't have formal agreements with Labour and the Lib Dems to do the same yet, but we should be able to get answers from Brown and Clegg too.