Sunday, 14 November 2010


I have formally opened the Liberal Democrat campaign HQ for the Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election, but my principal offer of assistance has been spurned.

The first-ever task I was given when I joined the Liberal Party at the beginning of the October 1974 election campaign was to clean out the toilets in the disused shop that had been leased for the duration.

Some 21 years later, when I had the glory spot as the candidate in the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election, with the support of hundreds of helpers who flooded in from across the country, I made it my task each Sunday morning to appear early, armed with mop, bucket and bleach, to clean the HQ toilets. A nice demonstration that combined humility with team building I thought - anyway, somebody had to do it. I was very proud of my efforts. The quality of MY toilet cleaning was unrivalled.

So I thought, as the HQ is within the constituency I represented as an MP, I shall offer the same weekly service. But I've been told that, under the terms of the lease, cleaning the toilets is the landlord's responsibility.

I checked them out. They're ok, but not up to my standards.

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