It’s a wonderful thing when seventeen years separate two visits but the hospitality and generosity remain the same!
I must thank my agent George Stuart aka Sir Adrian Wall and his wife Dotty for a first class welcome and all the regulars outside ‘The Bowline’ on the Marina for a great pre-election victory celebration. The weather was cold but the hospitality was warm. It was a great start to what turned out to be a long but enjoyable Thursday night.
All parliamentary by-election counts are different but Hartlepool count was quite exceptionally strange. It was most notable for the length of time the count took and by the end of it the exhaustion of the counting tellers, elections staff and Denise McGuckin the Returning Officer. The ballot verification didn’t happen till after three in the morning, and at this time I decided that the best course of action was to slip away back to my room in the Douglas Hotel for a couple of hours sleep.
At seven in the morning a frazzled Denise McGuckin invited the candidates and election agents to the back of the stage where she showed us a pile of spoilt papers. She suggested to us that the Conservative landslide was so immense and that the hour was so late that there was surely no point in going through them and would we mind stepping up to the stage for the result. Feeling fresh as a daisy I skipped on claiming prize spot!
It was a shame to beat the ‘Freedom Party’ as they were a spirited and young posse. I’ve been told that I set a new record for the largest number of votes ever cast for any candidate in 14th place in a Parliamentary by-election in the United Kingdom!
Nick the Incredible Flying Brick