After the success of the Crewe and Nantwich by-election I thought that Conservative party workers and activists would need a break. Not so. The team has headed off to Henley and from what I saw today they are loving it.
At 8.55pm yesterday evening the Henley association chose Boris Johnson's successor, Cllr Dr John Howell, as their next Conservative Candidate. Overnight the printing presses rolled. By 9.45 am this morning when I arrived in Thame with a car load of helpers from the East of England we were warmly greeted by the high spirited if sleep deprived by-election team. By 10 am we were fully armed with leaflets to deliver across the constituency introducing John Howell.... and the ink was dry!
During the day I stopped to talk to residents. Lots had seen John on the local news last night, others who had missed the TV wanted to know about him. Many voters took the leaflets and immediately stuck it in their windows to display the Conservative logo, others asked for posters. Everyone I spoke to knew the by-election is coming, even though the date is not yet set. Praise for Boris amongst his old constituents was unanimous.
Each time we drove back to the office to pick up leaflets for our second and then third delivery round we kept spotting busy Conservative deliverers. And the stacks of leaflets in the back room were rapidly diminishing.
The atmosphere was, as ever, efficient but this time it was also stress free and relaxed. I had time to catch up with friends from the West Country, the West and East Midlands, other MEP candidates from across the country and old friends.
I know that Henley is supposedly a "safe" Conservative seat but anything can happen in by-elections and even here there is a huge amount to do. Volunteers are needed. If you spend a day helping in this by-election I guarantee you will enjoy it!
p.s. yes I'm still working as a local councillor and running round the East of England meeting people too... I will blog with news but do readers want to be inundated with the aftermath of important rainy drains issues that hit every councillor's inbox after downpours like last weeks?