In December 2003, Simon Ellis interviewed Sarah for myBrent.co.uk.
You can read the full interview here. What interested me was Sarah’s answer to this final question: How will you convince Brent voters to give you another term as MP?
“I am going to have to work extremely hard over the next two years because many people voted for me partly on a protest. Some people voted for me because our policies but some people also voted against Tony Blair and I am going to need to persuade those people that there are positive reasons for voting for me. I intend to work extremely hard to pick up local issues and champion individual cases and local campaigns to prove to them that I will be an extremely hard-working MP. But I think the reaction that I’ve had so far, I’m not too complacent, but the warmth and the sense from local people has been that they want to see me have the chance to succeed.”
Are the electorate of Brent pleased with Sarah Teather? Are they going to give her another term as MP? My feeling, from walking around Brent East, is that this area will return Sarah to parliament as their elected representative. The 5:1 ratio of Liberal Democrat posters to Labour posters is a clear indication of the support for Sarah.
I bumped into Sarah last Sunday while she was out and about in the Mora/Temple Road area canvassing for support. We talked about how she and other candidates at the 2003 by-election shattered the 13,000 majority that Labour had won in the 2001 General Election. Sarah’s majority in 2003 was 1,118, on a turnout of 36.2%.
I have two hopes. Firstly, I hope that Sarah is returned to parliament with an increased majority. She works hard on local issues, questioning the council and government about services in Brent East and holding them to account. She has championed individual cases and worked hard to see them through to completion in spite of poor communication and late responses from Labour ministers. She’s even learning Gujarati!
Second, that who ever wins this seat is sent to parliament following a strong turnout from voters. The by-election turnout was low, but by-elections usually are. At the General Election in 2001, turnout was 51.9%. Nationally, turnout is in decline. I would like to see Brent East buck that national trend and return whoever is elected from a 60%-plus turnout.
Well, that’s my colours nailed to the mast.