Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson was greeted by Labour’s by-election team in Corby when he paid a visit to open their campaign headquarters in the town.
He cut the ribbon at Edinburgh House, in Corporation Street, in the town centre, on Thursday (August 30) as dozens of party supporters cheered.
And he gave a ringing endorsement to Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate Andy Sawford, describing him as an excellent candidate for the November 15 by-election, called after the resignation of former Conservative MP for Corby and East Northants, Louise Mensch.
He said: “He is a truly worthy candidate. The people of Corby and East Northants have someone who is prepared to work hard for the constituency on the issues that matter to them. He is dedicated to the constituency.
“This is such an important by-election and he can be a real catalyst for change. People are worried about jobs, especially the young, and they need help. This is a chance for Corby and East Northants to speak to the country.”
The MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and a former Shadow Chancellor was joined at the opening by Mr Sawford and Labour MP for Chesterfield Toby Perkins.
Mr Johnson said: “Andy will fight this campaign with rational, meaningful argument.”
Mr Sawford said he has been campaigning in every area of the constituency since the announcement of Mrs Mensch’s resignation and, as well as the Corby campaign centre, has opened an office in Thrapston.
He said: “People are concerned about the economy and particularly youth unemployment. I am campaigning for more apprenticeships, for job creation and for helping schools and colleges match skills with the needs of businesses in the area.
“I plan to organise a jobs summit to crack some of these issues.
“I have already been in talks with Corby town centre owners Helical Bar to lobby for further investment in the shopping centre and I will be fighting for better health care for people in the constituency. These are the things that matter to people.”
The Conservatives’ selection evening takes place at the Holiday Inn in Corby tonight but details of the candidates have not been released, although the list does include local contenders.
UKIP has also opened a campaign office in the town centre for its candidate Margot Parker.
The Liberal Democrat candidate is former Northampton borough councillor Jill Hope.