Nick Palmer On The General Election 

20th April 2017 staplefordcommunitygroup Nick Palmer Tags: 9 Comments

​Hi all,

I’ve been asked by Labour whether I’d like to be considered as our candidate for Broxtowe. I need to decide by this weekend, so I thought I’d consult you. 10% of the homes in Broxtowe get my emails, so it’s a good sample.

As most of you know, I was Broxtowe’s MP from 1997 to 2010, when Anna Soubry won by a tiny majority. We had a consistently better result for Labour than nationally – in 1992 and 2010, the national result was very similar, but in Broxtowe the Conservatives
won by 16% in 1992 and just 0.7% in 2010. In 2015, I stood again, and this time the Tory majority was bigger:

Anna Soubry (Con) 45.2%

Nick Palmer (Lab) 37.2%

Frank Dunne (UKIP) 10.6%

Stan Heptinstall (LibDem) 4.0%

David Kirwan (Green) 2.9%

It’s common that MPs do best when they first stand for re-election (the so-called “incumbency bonus“, which wears off over time). Whoever is Labour’s candidate will need to avoid the slippage in national polls, gain floating voters and win over as many as
possible of those who voted for LibDems and Greens last time: if there ever was a seat where it was clear that Labour is the only credible challenger to the Conservatives, it’s Broxtowe.

I’ve spent the last few years working for an animal welfare organisation in London. It’s been a lot of fun and rewarding for the animals (I visited 25 countries to lobby Governments and MPs in three years, effecting policy change from the EU, China and Korea
to Brazil), but since November I’ve been back in Nottingham, working as a freelance translator, lecturer and political consultant. I’m currently living just outside Broxtowe, a few minutes from Nuthall Island.

There are two aspects to consider: the national scene and the local campaign.

  1. The national scene

If the polls are correct, the Tories are heading for a gargantuan victory, which would enable them to put through anything they wanted – ostensibly for Brexit, but in reality in every other policy area too. That’s unhealthy for democracy, for Britain and
even for the Conservatives. They would get a blank cheque for whatever Brexit deal May chooses to recommend, plus any number of other policies that are getting minimal attention because of the media focus on Brexit:

The NHS and social care: waiting lists are soaring, social care options are shrinking, and the Government seems unwilling to tackle either

Education: the obsession with grammar schools is obscuring neglect of other schools across the country. The problem isn’t the 15% of pupils who get into a great school. It’s the 85% who don’t, and find government cuts piling up.

Environment: the haze of fine words has dissolved into a willingness to let developers roll over local opinion. (Remember the promise to stop Field Farm?)

Specifically on Brexit, it is clearly right that any Government should attempt to reach a good deal based on the referendum result. But equally we should not enter negotiations on the basis of “We don’t care how bad the deal is, we’ll take it anyway” – quite
apart from anything else, it’s a rubbish negotiating strategy. We need to give Parliament a genuine say in two years’ time of whether to accept the deal or not. A huge Tory majority will not offer genuine challenge.

  1. The local scene

To be fair to Anna Soubry, she is often critical of the Government, and I think she is genuinely liberal on social issues such as gay marriage. But she is making the same mistake that I made in my early years in Parliament: when push comes to shove, loyalty
kicks in and she virtually always votes with the Government or abstains.

I came to see that it’s an approach which ultimately does nobody any favours: not Britain, not the party, and certainly not Broxtowe. What Parliament needs is strong, independent-minded MPs on both sides of the House who consult constituents and then are
willing to vote for what they believe is best for Britain.

The question is whether I should put my name forward (clearly there will be other strong candidates too). Let’s identify some downsides. I’m 67. I’ve lost twice. I’ve been largely out of Broxtowe politics for the last two years.

And some upsides. We need a credible candidate who can appeal across traditional party lines: it’s something I’ve always done. We need someone who’s hard-working, experienced, not unreasonably partisan but willing to be frank when Government policy goes
wrong. I think I tick most of those boxes.

Would you like me to stand? And would you support me if I did?

Best wishes,

Nick Palmer


  1. Gill Turton 1 month Reply

    YES! You would definitely have my vote and that of my husband.

  2. Sue Shuttleworth 1 month Reply

    Yes. You have a reputation already and you’re trusted. I love your honesty here – it’s what I’m looking for in an MP.

  3. Derek Martin 1 month Reply

    Broxtowe needs you. You did a great job before and you will do a great job again serving Broxtowe.

  4. Sharon Bosworth 1 month Reply

    Definitely YES

  5. Kirsty Gavin 1 month Reply

    Most definitely!! ✅

  6. Grenville Green 1 month Reply

    Hello Nick.
    You are right when you say “We need a credible candidate who can appeal across traditional party lines: it’s something I’ve always done. We need someone who’s hard-working, experienced, not unreasonably partisan but willing to be frank when Government policy goes wrong. I think I tick most of those boxes”
    I was a founder member of NAG (Nuthall Action Group) and the NRTA (Nuthall Residents and Tenants Association). Both these organisations were necessary because of the unreasonably partisan antics of certain long standing political activists in the local conservative party.
    You are 18 years young with 49 years life experience and I am 18 years young with 56 years life experience.
    In my opinion YOU ARE THE BEST LABOUR HAS IN BROXTOWE. Go for it
    Who would I vote for? That’s my business.
    Best wishes to all Parliamentary candidates

  7. Sue Griffiths 1 month Reply

    Hi Nick, I am really struggling at the moment. I am a lifelong Labour supporter, ex member & voted remain. I now feel disenfranchised. I feel that Corbyn has been a disaster for Labour. It’s not the radical policies but the lack of leadership credibility. I find him false (really ‘rigged’? Does he think Trump’s words make him more popular) stubborn & unconcerned about anything other than his own fanbase. He has been seduced by power. Worst than that I believe he is a closet Brexiteer whose heart is not in keeping us close to Europe. I don’t know what I will vote but that is not down to you Nick. I always voted for you & thought you were a good MP. I have admired Anna’s stance on Brexit but could never vote Tory. I think a familiar name like yours would help to secure what is a swing seat so you should stand but I have to struggle with my principles over the next few weeks to decide where to put my X!

  8. Very nearly voted for you in 2010 because you were a great MP for Broxtowe. But I couldn’t get past Gordon Brown and his economic policies. Now I have even less faith in the leadership of your party – but I’d still listen to and value your views if you were campaigning here in Broxtowe over the next 6 weeks.

  9. Grenville Green 1 month Reply

    Why has a snap General Election been called?
    Dennis Skinner, says “It’s quite clear: it’s because the Crown Prosecution Service are due to make a decision on Tory election expenses,” he says. Reports suggest that the CPS are investigating more than 30 people, including “a raft” of Conservative MPs and their agents, over election expenses from 2015. and “the country has a right to know”.
    He also says in the same article———
    “Any Labour government is better than a Tory government”, he booms, adding, “even Blair”.
    Read more at:

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