Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Party Lines

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Party Lines

Article excerpt

Byline: By Zoe Hughes

It was always going to be an uphill struggle for the Tories, but no-one could have realised how bad things had really got until the party revealed their latest batch of victims ready to fight seats in Newcastle and Gateshead.

With leader Michael Howard's words still ringing in their ears ("We can win a general election without the North"), six candidates made their faces known to the North-East last week, eager to prove they could take on the previously rock solid seats.

Only two could claim to have established links to the area though, coming from Chester-le-Street and Alnwick, while the remaining four were parachuted in from London, Edinburgh, North Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire.

However, voters can rest assured that despite their lack of geographical knowledge, the group are still boasting some Northern claim to fame from business connections all the way through to having lived in the area for a short period in the past.

But it was the claim by one that his link was "supporting Newcastle United" that shocked most ( not the best way of telling voters you know all about the issues affecting the North-East.

HE may have had his hands full fighting a presidential election, but George W Bush could still find time for his special friend Tony Blair ( with a weekly conference call to London.

It has been revealed this week, that the Prime Minister and the American President were in regular contact across the Atlantic, despite the US elections being in full swing.

A North MP has told The Journal video-conference calls were made each week to talk about issues of the moment ( Iraq, the Middle East, the North-East regional assembly referendum. Well, perhaps not the latter, but Britain can feel safe in the knowledge that Mr Bush considers us his friend. It may though be interesting for Mr Bush to discover that up until he secured his second term, the Prime Minister was telling friends and Downing Street staff he would prefer John Kerry in the White House, as it would make his life easier. …

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