Labour leader Ed Miliband delivered a message of hope when he joined Andy Sawford, the party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate in the Corby and East Northants by-election.
Their campaign went into full swing last Thursday, just four days after MP Louise Mensch announced she is resigning. It was launched in Thrapston where Mr Miliband met a group of young people from Corby at the Tasty Bites Cafe and Tea Shop in the High Street.
Accompanied by prominent Labour MP for West Bromwich East, Tom Watson, the Leader of the Opposition said it would be no easy fight winning the seat back from the Conservatives.
He told Labour supporters “You and I know it’s going to be a very tough fight if our brilliant candidate, Andy Sawford, is to earn the right to represent the people of Corby. Two years ago, the Conservatives won this seat from Labour. We must persuade those who did not vote Labour last time to put their trust in us again.
“Our task is win them back. And we must show we stand for them in this by-election.
“We stand for the young people I met just three weeks ago in Corby who cannot find work. We have seen the number of young people looking for work almost double in the past year. We stand for them, for their parents, their grandparents, all of those who think our young people need hope.
“We can change things. We can put our young people back to work by taxing bankers’ bonuses. We can take action to force the energy companies to give people a fairer deal. We can reform our banks so they better serve small business. And we can deliver an NHS focused on the needs of the patients even in tough times.
“So that’s who we are fighting for. And the only way we can win that fight is by reaching out to people across Corby.
“If there is one argument I want you to make above all, it is that Labour will make a difference to people’s lives.
“I want Andy Sawford elected so he can speak up in Parliament for all the people of Corby, not just a few.
“And if we’re going to speak up for all the people - we need to speak to as many people as possible.
“In the weeks to come, Labour will be reaching out to everybody in Corby. We should try to visit every home. Labour voters. Tory voters. Liberal Democrat voters. And people who don’t usually vote at all.”
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.
On the way to a rally for supporters and activists in Thrapston Mr Miliband and Mr Sawford took time to chat to people in the street.
Mr Sawford said: “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.”