Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Ed Balls shows support for Watford Labour candidate Matt Turmaine
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was in Watford yesterday to throw his support behind the town’s newly-selected Labour candidate.
Matt Turmaine, who was elected to represent Holywell on Watford Borough Council last year, was chosen by the local party on Sunday to be its parliamentary candidate at the next election.
Mr Balls attended a fund-raising dinner at the Park Inn Hotel, in St Albans Road, hosted by the local Labour Party.
Since Mr Turmaine’s selection last week the 43-year-old from Queens Avenue, named Watford health campus, The Parade and youth unemployment as his top priorities.
“I think there are three really big issues,” he said. “The health campus and what’s going on with the funding and development on that.
“I think the local economy and the state of the High Street is a big issue and unemployment, especially youth unemployment.”
Mr Turmaine said: “With the health campus, the Government was originally going to fund a new hospital. I really want to see the MP do more to fund the hospital again.”
Labour is the first party to select its parliamentary candidate for Watford ahead of the next General Election, which is due to take place in 2015.
In 2010, the party lost the constituency when Labour MP Claire Ward was defeated by Mr Harrington, who currently has a majority of 1,425 votes. Labour had held Watford since 1997 but was relegated to third place, behind the Lib Dems, at the last election.
Mr Turmaine said he put himself to be parliamentary candidate as he wanted to “make things better”.
He said: “I am very passionate about trying to make things better and you can do that work as a councillor but this is an opportunity to take it to the next step and represent Watford at a national level.”
A long-standing member of the Labour Party, Mr Turmaine said he was moved to become active in politics while living in the Kilburn area of London in 2003 when the party lost the Brent East seat in a by-election shortly after the Iraq invasion.
The former St Clement Danes student then stood in council elections of Hammersmith and Fulham before moving to Watford in 2011 with his wife, Jeanette.
Last May Mr Turmaine, who works for BBC Worldwide, was elected to represent the Holywell area of Watford on the borough council with majority of 710 votes.
Mr Turmaine added: “I am looking forward to contributing to the return of a Labour government and a Labour MP for Watford.
“I think Watford is a critical three-way marginal and indicative of what’s going on at a national level.”