The Conservatives’ campaign to hold the Corby and East Northants seat finally swung into action today (September 1) after Christine Emmett was selected to fight the by-election caused by the resignation of Louise Mensch.
Mrs Emmett, who lives in Morcott, Leicestershire, with her husband David, was out on the streets of Corby meeting residents and delivering some of the thousands of campaign leaflets which were printed overnight.
Party campaigners gathered early at the Corby and East Northants Conservative Association’s office, at the Conservative Club, Cottingham Road, Corby, ready to hit the streets.
Mrs Emmett, who runs a holiday homes business and is a Government consultant, said: “Everyone wants a decent house, a good education for their children and a job, and those are the issues I’ll be campaigning on.”
Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband launched Labour’s by-election campaign with the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate Andy Sawford on Thursday, August 9, but Mrs Emmett said she didn’t feel disadvantaged by their three-week headstart.
She said: “We have hit the ground running and my supporters are doing a magnificent job.”
Leader of Corby Council’s Conservative group David Sims, who had intended to put himself forward for selection but changed his mind, pledged his support for Mrs Emmett.
He said: “I will give her my full support but it’s going to be difficult.
“We can expect a protest against Louise, as we have to admit that she wasn’t seen as a great MP. There will also be a protest against the Government and, while the other parties have been campaigning, we have been twiddling our thumbs.
“We are on the back foot but it’s not impossible and I will do everything I can to help.”
The Conservatives’ campaign started badly when the initial announcements described the seat up for grabs as Corby and North East Hants.
Leader of Corby Council, Tom Beattie, said: “It is extraordinary that the Tories have selected another candidate who doesn’t seem to know where Corby and East Northamptonshire is.
“It’s further proof that the Tories know little and care less about the concerns of people in places like Corby and East Northamptonshire.”
Mrs Emmett was born and educated in Liverpool and studied economics and social sciences at Manchester University. She was a buyer at Marks & Spencers, had responsibility for £450m procurement for the Channel Tunnel Project and advised on the £10bn West Coast Mainline upgrade.
She has been involved in a number of charities and voluntary organisations, raising money for the Princes’ Trust and working with Age Concern and has been a non-executive director of Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and University NHS Hospitals, Leicester.
Mrs Emmett, who has lived in the area for 20 years and been a member of the local Conservative Association for the past 10, said: “My style will be to work for the people of the constituency and represent them in Westminster.
“I was educated at a comprehensive school and went on to university. I come from Liverpool and I’ve seen the terrible consequences of unemployment.
“I plan to visit schools in the constituency and I will be campaigning on the need to create jobs and attract investment to the area.”