I was wondering the other day whether there was some kind of campaign etiquette which stated that shadow ministers did not campaign in the seats represented by their opposite numbers, restricting their political sparring to their common portfolio.
But if evidence were needed to prove that no such rule exists, it has just arrived in my inbox - the picture on the right of shadow housing minister, Grant Shapps. He is pictured earlier today with Michelle Donelan, the Conservative candidate standing against John Healey, the Housing minister, with whom Grant has regularly been sparring at the Despatch Box these last few years.
And during his visit to the South Yorkshire seat of Wentworth and Dearne, he pointed to Labour's failure to deliver its promised 1 million increase in home ownership during its third term:
“John Healey must be held to account for breaking Labour’s home ownership pledge from the last election. Labour’s Housing Minister now attacks the aspiration of getting on the housing ladder, proving how out of touch Gordon Brown’s party has become. Liberal Democrats want to put VAT on new homes, making it impossible for young people to save for a large enough deposit. Only Conservatives will stand up for the hard-working people who want to get on the housing ladder and own a home of their own.”
Michelle Donelan adds:
"John's commitment to his constituents has been called into question, not by me or by Grant - but by the figures that highlight how since 1997 Labour have failed to help residents here get onto the housing ladder... This Government has abandoned its 'heartland' supporters. It's time to take a long hard look at the past 13 years of New Labour and ask ourselves - have things changed for the better? The answer is, in most cases, no."
Healey is defending a majority of a little over 17,500. You can read more about Michelle and donate to her campaign here.