Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Jayanta Chaterjee’

Charles Kennedy’s Cheerful Descent on Sutton

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 11th July, 2009

Charles Kennedy 3Charles Kennedy flew down from sunny Glasgow today to be the guest speaker at Sutton LibDems’ annual garden party (held as usual in the spacious garden of Jayanta Chaterjee), accompanied by his wife Sarah and their young son Donald. The rain more or less held off and there was plenty to be cheerful about, in particular Gerry Jerome’s win in the recent Nonsuch ward by-election, which I blogged about the other day, and the swing from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats in the borough in last month’s Euro-elections. Charles has held his seat in Parliament for 26 years, which is only three years longer than the LibDems have been controlling Sutton Council. The borough is a prime Tory target in next year’s London local elections, as are Sutton’s two parliamentary seats, Sutton & Cheam and Carshalton & Wallington, currently held by Paul Burstow and Tom Brake. However, as Charles said, incumbency is a great asset, especially for hard-working LibDem MPs. Nonetheless, the Conservatives have reportedly been spending three times as much money as the LibDems campaigning in the borough in the hope of unseating both MPs. In this regard, it will be interesting to see how the parliamentary vote on the funding of political parties goes next week, which could lead to the barring of donations from non-domiciles, which may or may not include the Conservative party’s sugar daddy, Lord Ashcroft (up until now, he has refused to disclose his tax status, despite saying that he would move formally to England when he was granted his peerage). And then there is the Cameron factor, at first so dazzling, but now looking a bit lack-lustre. The verdict of the neighbourhood’s local peer, Graham Tope, on David Cameron: ‘a supercilious git.’


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Ming with Zing

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 19th July, 2008

Former party leader Menzies Campbell was in fine fettle at the Sutton Liberal Democrats’ annual garden party at Jayanta Chaterjee’s home this afternoon. Ming spilled few beans about the Henley away-day Nick Clegg convened yesterday, but instead urged us all to give loving support for the wives, partners and families of MPs — a point doubtless appreciated by his two local colleagues, Tom Brake and Paul Burstow, who were standing at his side. It is true that politics is a demanding business that puts terrible strains on relationships. Few voters have any idea how much domestic tranquility politicians often sacrifice for their benefit.

Former mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, also in the full flush of health, told a story whose point I didn’t quite grasp, about Puff the Magic Dragon. Something to do with Ken Livingstone, I think. Anyway, as Brian pulled my ticket out from the raffle, netting me a fine bottle of Rioja, who am I to complain?


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