Tories and Liberals ready for fight
Candidates open Battle of the Hustings
The News of a General Election on June 18th found the Conservative and Liberal Parties in Finchley ready and geared up for their campaign—but the Labour Party have been caught without a candidate and an agent.
Standing once again for the Conservatives is Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, who has been Finchley's M.P. for 11 years, while the Liberals are putting up a local man, Mr. Graham Mitchell, who was adopted as prospective candidate two years ago.
On Tuesday at Friern Barnet Town Hall, the Labour Party will be choosing their candidate from a short list of six people, one of whom is a 21-year-old Cambridge graduate, Miss Helen Middleweek. The other five candidates are Mr. Donald Hoodless, Mr. Michael Freeman, Mr. Bryn Jones, Mr. P. S. Gourgey and Mr. Roger Robinson.
Mrs. Thatcher will be formally adopted as Tory candidate at a meeting in the Conservative Hall next Thursday, and during June she will be speaking at about six public meetings in the constituency.
In a message to the Finchley Press, she emphasised the importance of these public meetings: ‘Some people will be voting for the first time. To them I make a special appeal: please come to the meetings of the candidates. Don't take it all from television—party policies and the issues cannot usually be explained thoroughly in a short television programme.”
A positive campaign
In addition to the local meetings, Mrs. Thatcher, as Shadow Minister for Education, will be undertaking engagements outside the district and will probably appear on television.
“I am glad the election date has been fixed,” she said. “We have been in a period of election fever for months, and further uncertainty would have been bad for the nation.” She promised a positive election campaign in Finchley.
The Tory agent, Mr. Roy Langstone, foresaw some difficulty through people being away on holiday, but was confident about the new over-18 voters.
“I think there may be 6,000 people in Finchley between 18–25 who have probably never voted in a General Election before. Quite a substantial number of them will vote Conservative, and we hope to see a number of young people at our meetings.”
The Finchley Liberals, too, are pleased at the fixing of an election date: “It has come at just the right time, for only two weeks ago we reorganised our executive committee to give office to people who have the necessary time to run the election campaign,” said the Liberal agent, Mr. David Harris, who will be leading the action committee campaign.
“Our organisation is now in fighting trim. We have in Graham Mitchell an excellent candidate who during the past two years has acquired a considerable knowledge of the interests and worries of people in Finchley and Friern Barnet.”
Mr. Mitchell will be adopted at the Liberals' first big meeting on Monday, June 1st, at Christ's College, Church End Finchley, and it is expected that Liberal headquarters will send one of their prominent members to speak in this area later on.
Mr. Harris, too, was confident about catching the over-18's vote, pointing out that it was Liberal M.P. Mr. Eric Lubbock who brought it up in Parliament.
The Labour Party have fixed an eve-of-poll meeting at Christ Church Hall, North Finchley, but is suffering problems because of the resignation of their former candidate, Mr. Albert Tomlinson.
Mr. Tomlinson, whose name has been associated with the local Labour Party for many years, said he resigned for “personal reasons,” following his appointment as full-time secretary to the National Peace Council several months ago. He did not feel that Finchley Labour Party would have any difficulty in finding a candidate.
The party secretary, Mrs. Vera Adair, told the Finchley Press she hoped the local party would also find itself an agent soon, as the absence of an agent was causing difficulties.
Muswell Hill and Hornsey M.P. Mr. Hugh Rossi, took the first plane back to London on Tuesday as soon as he heard news of the General Election. He had been visiting Italy as part of a Parliamentary delegation, as guest of the Italian Government.
Mr. Rossi, who lives at Beech Drive, East Finchley, will be standing again as Conservative candidate for the Hornsey constituency. His Labour opponent will be Mr. Philip Pestell, of Queens Avenue, Muswell Hill, while the Liberals will be represented by Mr. Laurence Brass, of Corringham Road, Hampstead Garden Suburb.
The party headquarters are:—Conservatives: 267, Ballards Lane, North Finchley; Liberals: 331a, Ballards Lane, North Finchley; Labour: 166, Regent's Park Road, Church End Finchley.
The 1966 election in Finchley resulted in a majority of 9,464 for Mrs. Thatcher. The results were: Conservative, 23,968; Labour, 14,504; Liberal, 13,070. [end p1]
(2) Finchley Times, 29 May 1970
A fourth term in Parliament is what the confident Conservatives expect for their calm candidate, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, MP, who has been readopted as the official Conservative candidate at a meeting in Finchley.
The favourite daughter of the Finchley Conservatives, she has kept the election machine smoothly purring away.
Now she has given it more throttle and every possible angle in the battle for votes is explored. Take the important postal vote …
Roy Langstone, the Tory election agent, said: “We've put a lot of work into this and now the postal votes are coming in at a hell of a rate. Fifteen hundred people applied for postal votes in the 1966 election and 1,200 of them were used, of which 1,100 were cast for us. We are aiming to get those figures again.”
Mrs. Thatcher, spreading her energies over Finchley and other constituencies where she has been asked to appear—she is the only woman in Mr Heath 's Shadow Cabinet—has completed her first election leaflet.
In it she recalls that she has represented Finchley since 1959 and hopes that the electors will again give her a vote of confidence.
She advises people not to be influenced by television electioneering, but to attend meetings and ask questions. She is speaking at six public meetings in the constituency.
Mrs. Thatcher has specially invited young people who have never voted in a general election before to attend her meetings.
She wants to maintain the democratic tradition of public meetings with lots of questions being fired.