Azara Blog: Anne Campbell speaks about the election

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Date published: 2005/05/07

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Defeated Labour MP Anne Campbell said Iraq had cost her her seat - even though she opposed the war.

The outgoing Cambridge MP admitted yesterday (Friday, 06 May) that she had realised a week ago she would be ousted in favour of Liberal Democrat David Howarth.

She said local opposition to the war in Iraq had cost her a significant number of votes, which she said was personally frustrating as she had resigned from a senior Government position in protest over the conflict.

Mr Howarth was gracious in victory yesterday (Friday, 06 May) and praised Mrs Campbell for her work as an MP but said that national Government policies had put her in an impossible situation.

Mrs Campbell said: "The big issue on the doorsteps has been Iraq. I have pointed out to the people that I did not vote for the war and it is difficult to see what else I could have done to better represent the views of people in Cambridge.

"The thing people have been saying to me is 'I want to vote for you, but I don't want to vote for Tony Blair'. It is frustrating for me.

"People were prepared to sacrifice me in order to show Tony Blair they are angry. This is how people feel."

She added that the defeat was not a surprise and she had not decided whether to carry on as Labour parliamentary candidate for Cambridge or step aside to make way for a younger challenger.

It was the war that cost her dear, the point being that Labour MPs did not take their chance to remove Blair from office last year, so it was up to the country to remove a few Labour MPs in order to try and force the issue. But student fees also would have cost her some votes in Cambridge. It's a thankless job representing any constituency and Cambridge is particularly bad because there are so many clever dicks in town (if only half of them were as clever as they believed). Howarth, being an opposition MP, will be able to speak and act without any broader responsibility, so will probably offend less people.

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