DEPUTY Labour leader Harriet Harman helped the party’s push for local and European elections today - and she knows who the leader of Stroud District Council is.
After gaffes by Labour leader Ed Miliband in Swindon yesterday and by Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson in Cheltenham last week, the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister was not going to make the same mistake.
Before she headed out to doorsteps in Stonehouse she answered questions on free schools, business, and the housing crisis - and she would not be drawn on how the UK Independence Party may fare.
With developers lining up to try and build on green fields around Stroud but a national shortage of homes to buy, she said brownfield sites must be looked at first.
“There have not been enough homes built on brownfield sites under the Coalition Government,” she said.
On Chancellor George Osborne’s claim that Labour was anti-business, she said: “He could not be more wrong - at the start of 2010 we started to get economic growth going. When they pulled the plug on the economy they stopped growth for three years.”
She said people Labour meets on the doorstep are not feeling the benefit of the reported upturn in the economy.
Mr Miliband was caught on the hop by BBC Radio Wiltshire when he couldn’t name the Swindon Borough Council’s Labour group leader, and didn’t know it is run by the Tories. Mr Johnson had some trouble naming Tory prospective Parliamentary candidate for Cheltenham, Alex Chalk.
Mrs Harman, who visited Stroud and Stonehouse with Labour prospective Parliamentary candidate David Drew, didn’t fall in to the same trap.
“Geoff (Wheeler) is a great leader of the council and we want him to have an overall majority,” she said.
Mr Chalk wasn’t concerned about Mr Johnson’s gaffe.
“I think it was a good reminder of where I stand in the political food chain,” he said today. “You must not take yourself too seriously in politics and think everybody will know who you are.”
In Stroud, the Conservatives, Labour and the Greens have fielded a full slate of candidates for the 18 seats up for election today. The Liberal Democrats have three candidates, the UK Independence Party has 10 and Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts have eight.
In the European elections, voters can choose from six candidates each, from the Conservatives, Labour, Green, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the British National Party and An Independence from Europe.
Molly Cato from Stroud is standing for the Greens and the other Gloucestershire candidates are Glyn Ford from Newnham (Labour) and Julie Girling from Chipping Campden (Conservative).
Polls are also taking place for Arlingham Parish Council and Berkeley Town Council.
Polls open at 7am and close at 10pm.