Labour hit the campaign trail in Thrapston yesterday (Thursday, August 9) when Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband launched the party’s campaign for the Corby and East Northants seat with prospective Parliamentary candidate Andy Sawford.
He arrived at the Tasty Bites Cafe and Tea Shop in the High Street where he met a group of young people from Corby who spoke to Mr Sawford and the party leader about their hopes for the future.
Labour’s by-election campaign went into full swing just four days after MP Louise Mensch announced she is resigning. She is stepping down after deciding she was no longer able to juggle her family life and a career in politics.
Mr Miliband, who was accompanied by prominent Labour MP for West Bromwich East, Tom Watson, said it would be no easy fight winning the seat back from the Conservatives.
He said: “We have a good candidate in Andy Sawford and we will be working hard during this campaign, meeting people on the doorsteps, to convince them that we can make a difference. We are going to work hard for every vote.
“We will be focusing on the need for jobs, not just for our young people but for every generation.”
At the cafe the group of teenagers told the Labour leader about their fears over finding a job and their hopes for the future.
He asked them: “What does it feel like to be a young person in Corby today?”
Kayleigh Savage, 18, of Oakley Vale, the only one in the group old enough to vote said: “I wasn’t able to do my GCSEs because my parents split up. I’m at college now, but why do employers make me feel bad because of my lack of qualifications?”
Lewis Peddie, 16, of Studfall Avenue, Corby, who is joining the Army next March, told Mr Miliband he was worried he would be unable to find a job in the town until then.
He told them: “Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. I want you to know that we want you to feel positive about Corby and about your future and we will work hard to make things better. We want to bring a message of hope.”
After he left the cafe to meet party campaigners and activists, Kayleigh said: “It was good to talk to him and he listened to what we had to say. I was glad to meet Andy Sawford and I think he will be someone local who will work hard for us.”
On the way to the rally Mr Miliband and Mr Sawford took time to chat to people in the street.
Mr Sawford told the crowd of Labour supporters: “It’s really important that we are launching this campaign today in one of East Northamptonshire’s four towns.
“Corby and East Northamptonshire needs to have a Labour MP again. There needs to be a strong local representative here.
“I am pleased that Ed Miliband has joined us here today to set out a better future for people in Corby.”
Jan Willis, 38, and husband Steve, 47, recently moved to Thrapston and are expecting their first child in three weeks. They were passing through town when Mr Miliband arrived. Jan said: “The main issues for me are making sure the high street is thriving and that there are jobs available for local people.
“I suppose I would usually be a Conservative voter but I do listen to what politicians from all parties are saying, and if they say something that makes me sit up and listen I may vote for them.”