Rebel becomes a cause

February 25, 2005

Voting against the party line may not seem to be the best way to win friends and influence the Labour leadership, but it does not appear to have harmed top-up fees rebel Ian Gibson. Dr Gibson, chairman of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, may be safe in the general election, even though his 5,863 majority in 2001 makes his position rather more vulnerable to a political swing than his South Norwich neighbour, the former Education Secretary Charles Clarke, who sits on an 8,816 majority. It seems that a Gibson victory is not being taken for granted at Labour HQ, which has decided to treat Norwich North as a "key seat" and pump in extra resources - phone calls and canvassing - to ensure the bolshie Scot's return to Westminster.

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