Gordon Brown backs Wrexham city bid

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

PRIME Minister Gordon Brown has given his backing to Wrexham’s bid to win city status.

Making his second visit of the campaign to Wales, he called in to meet party supporters in the Catrin Finch Centre at Glyndwr University.

In an exclusive interview with  the Leader, he voiced his support for any bid Wrexham might make to officially become a city in the latest round of bidding to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

He said: “We thought that for the jubilee it would be great if we created a number of cities.

“I would like Wales to have one of those cities and I very much support any bid Wrexham might make.”

Mr Brown, accompanied by his wife Sarah, arrived outside the centre to be greeted by cheers from students and university staff.

Also waiting outside was Wrexham campaigner Ken Mack, who waved his own placard demanding a new law to ensure elderly residents cannot be evicted from care homes.

As the Prime Minister passed by, Mr Mack shouted: “How many more must die, Mr Brown?”

But he received no response as the Prime Minister headed inside.

After being greeted by Glyndwr’s chancellor Lord Barry Jones, he made his way into one of the lecture theatres where he was given a standing ovation by around 50 supporters.

Mr Brown said the university was vital to the future of young people in Wales and its creation had been one of the main achievements of the Labour government.

His campaign message was that while “Labour means jobs, the Conservatives mean high unemployment”.

He warned that if the Tories win tomorrow they would introduce an emergency budget and cut £6 billion out of the economy, which would mean the loss of thousands of jobs, including those in vital sectors such as education and health.

Later, the Leader asked Mr Brown if his presence in Wrexham meant Labour now saw the seat as having becoming a marginal.

He replied: “Not at all. I am going everywhere I can to support good candidates, such as Ian Lucas (Wrexham) and Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South).

“We are doing everything we can to secure a Labour victory.”

Asked if he was in favour of the kind of tactical voting which had been suggested that morning - with traditional Labour voters backing the Liberal Democrats to stop of the Conservatives winning certain seats - he said: “The only vote I am recommending is a Labour vote.”

While he was inside the centre, a bottle of whiskey was sent through for him to sign.

It came from Ray Prescott, brother of former Labour Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who lives in Wrexham.

He explained that the bottle had been specially bought to mark the 40th wedding anniversary of himself and his wife and signed by a number of party big names, such as Tony Blair.

Mr Prescott had wanted Mr Brown’s signature to ‘complete the set’.

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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