Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2001
Source: Eastern Daily Press (UK)
Copyright: 2001 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd
Author: Rachel Buller and Steve Downs


Norwich South is shaping up to be one of the most colourful campaigns in 
Norfolk, with six candidates lining up.

But it would take a staggering 14 per cent swing for Labour's Charles 
Clarke, who has been tipped for a post in a future Blair Cabinet, to be 
ousted from the seat he secured with a 14,000-plus majority in 1997.

The high-flying Home Office minister's profile is greater than ever and it 
looks like a battle for second spot  - though there could be some political 
punches landed along the way.

Mr Clarke won Norwich South in 1997 with 26,267 votes against the 
Conservative challenger, Bashir Khanbhai, who polled 12,028 votes and went 
on to become a Euro--MP for the eastern region. Third place went to the 
Liberal-Democrat Andrew Aalders--Dunthorne who won 9457 votes.

While no candidate will admit publicly that first place is a distant dream, 
the real battle is expected to be for second place as the liberal Democrats 
attempt to make up a 2500 deficit on the Conservatives.

Mr Aalders-Dunthorne will be hoping for better luck second time round to 
overturn the Conservative's small lead by polling more votes than Andrew 
French and making ground on Charles Clarke.

Adrian Holmes, from the Green Party, will also be hoping to gain some 
ground on his fellow candidates by concentrating on issues such as traffic 
congestion - a subject which is certain to attract a lot of support from 
those living and working in the city centre.

Mr Clarke will certainly face some vociferous opposition from Dave 
Manningham, one of 170 Socialist Alliance candidates who are standing 
"against right-wing New Labour MPs".

And the contrast between Mr Clarke, a law-and-order champion, and Alun 
Buffry from the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, could be intriguing.

Especially as Mr Buffry admits he has spent time in prison for smuggling 

The constituency covers a wide area of the city from the centre out into 
the leafy suburbs of Eaton.

There are likely to be a number of issues which come into play before 
polling day, ranging from public transport to health and education.
- ---
MAP posted-by: GD