I’m delighted Kate Green has asked me to be her agent for the forthcoming election. It’ll be my fourth time. At least I’ll know what I’m letting myself in for. It’s a generally thankless role. You’re really there to make sure everything’s legal and accounted for and to step back into the shadows.
My first time as agent was 2010. Kate was stepping in to fill the shoes of Bev Hughes. Labour were facing a difficult election nationally and the Tories were targeting the seat as winnable. Kate was (and still is) an absolute force of nature. We had a great team with Antony McCaul directing the campaign. Together we smashed that election.
It was a fantastic team effort. I took the role incredibly seriously. I still do. You’re always a missed signature away from a disaster that lets down so many people. At the same time you’re trying to be a grounding force, keeping the campaign focused and together. There’s so many external provocations not to mention those from within the campaign.
The two subsequent elections in 2015 and 2017 were somewhat different. We didn’t see any serious campaign from the Conservatives really, or anyone else for that matter. They rather abandoned their candidates to get on with it on their own. It meant we had to generate our own energy. Given we took Kate’s percentage of vote to 66%, the other parties probably took the correct decision.
So we’re back again. We have the same team, we’ve had for the last two with Tom Ross in the Anthony McCaul role. It’s a winter election. I genuinely don’t have a problem with that. We do what we do and it’s the same for all parties. The political dynamics are different, but they always are. From the agent’s point of view it’s a logistical challenge as much as anything. I aim to come through it in one piece and so far, I have always managed to end the election with more friends than when I started including from the teams of other parties.