Friday, 22 September 2017

RIP Christine Butler



Back in the mid 1990s my oldest brother got elected as a Castle Point councillor. This was somewhat of a surprise to Achilles, he was a ‘paper’ candidate standing in the unwinnable ward of Victoria, and yet Labour contrived a landslide in Benfleet and Canvey under the early days of the Blair leadership.

Thus elected, he one day invited me (post 1997 general election) to the Mayor’s garden party in that borough. This was the one and only occasion that I met the new Labour MP for Castle Point, Christine Butler.

It is with sadness that I read of her passing this morning.

Those heady days of 1997 seem a million miles away, it will be some time before we witness the electoral successes of those days. In 1997, the then seventeen Essex constituencies returned six Labour members of Parliament.

This was a first Labour victory in Castle Point, and to date our sole success. Christine narrowly lost in 2001, Luke Akehurst was well beaten in 2005, and I came third in 2010. Labour comrades there still recall almost sweeping the board in local elections, and rue our wipe-out since.

Here is a reminder of that momentous victory in 1997

Christine Butler
Labour
20,605
42.4%
Bob Spink
Conservative
19,462
40.1%
Michael David Baker
Liberal Democrat
4,477
9.2%
Hugh Alexander Maulkin
Referendum
2,700
5.6%
Miss Linda Diana Margaret Kendall
Independent
1,301
2.7%
Majority
1,143

Turnout

72.1%

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