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Chris Galley

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Thursday 29 April – Photo ops

IMG_4553compOne of the things that make elections so interesting is when something happens quickly. Believe or not, the picture shown left was almost a spontaneous demonstration! The back story is that we had planned for Theresa Villiers (Shadow Transport Secretary) to visit us possibly next Monday to talk about the A1. The Conservatives have promised to restore the A1 Newcastle to Edinburgh stretch to national Trunk road status, which is important in terms of the campaign for turning it into a dual carriageway throughout. As things stand there is a dual carriageway from Poland to Morpeth, when this main artery suddenly goes to single carriageway for most of the section until Scotland. For nearly 50 miles Juggernauts slow everyone down to 40 mph, or even 20 mph if a tractor has to use the road.

We heard that Labour’s blundering Prime Minister is heading to the North East on Sunday – incredibly he hasn’t visited yet, maybe he’s not wanted. But given his track record of self destruction anything we do on Monday won’t get airtime. So we moved Theresa’s visit to today at very, very short notice. The Alnwick office starting ringing round people at 8 am, checking venues etc, and by 11 am we had the above photo opportunity sorted out, and the BBC’s TV cameras rolling. We ended up leading the regional TV news that night, what a result. I only discovered my role, dealing with Theresa’s logistics, at 9 am. IMG_4598comp Here we are, 3 pm, back at Newcastle station by its iconic column arch. In between we went to Newcastle Airport, where the management gave us their view of the challenges involved in running a regional airport.  After that – something completely different. I headed over to Haltwhistle where the local old folks home invited us in for tea. And cake, lots of it. Luckily I arrived late. One lady did a monster spread of carbs for us, and the residents really did seem pleased to see Guy. He didn’t do too much politics, but made a charming speech about him and his background. I’ve no doubt it hit the spot as much as the malt loaf.