LETTERS Labour tactics
Sir: I was interested to read the article by Francis Beckett — 'Labour cuts its own Throat' (7 March) and to note that Mr Beckett failed to mention that in the first week of the campaign I refused to work with him on the grounds that he knew nothing about the area, his writing of leaflets was slow, and lacked judgment, and would be incomprehensible to the people of Newcastle. His article confirms my earlier judgment of him. The constituency is a very different one from what it was in 1910. As for the postal vote, we have come to rely on it, since John won the seat in 1969 by only 1,042 votes. The postal vote has always been a credit to our party. Mr Beckett is quite incorrect in thinking that I referred to the hard Left when I spoke of 'certain elements' costing votes, as he says there is no hard Left in Newcastle. This is also to the credit of our party.
As for the Liberal dirty tricks, not only did the local newspaper, the Sentinel take legal advice about the Liberals' dirty tricks against me but I did also, and was told that I had a very strong case to sue and would most certainly have done so had I lost the election. Incidentally, the Liberals referred not only to the money that John and I would earn, they told lies that I stood by and allowed eggs to be thrown at the Tory and they also spread lies that we were going to leave our home in Newcastle.
I did not attack the Labour Council as such, although I do disagree with the policy for the town centre development as do the constituency party. As for distancing my- self from Neil Kinnock, I put that remark down to Mr Beckett's ability to justify taking a three-hour lunch break during an election campaign. At no time did I do so and I regarded the presence of Neil and his wife as an asset. Slickness I found Mr Beckett lacked professionalism he lacks without question.
House of Commons, London SW1