Bob Blackman MP's frontline report from the Feltham and Heston by-election
Bob Blackman is the MP for Harrow East
Campaigning in Feltham and Heston is now well underway, with the by-election being held in less than two weeks. Conservative MPs including Robert Halfon, Paul Uppal, Alok Sharma, Sir George Young, and neighbouring MP Mary Macleod, have been working hard campaigning in the seat over the last few days, and below, Bob Blackman, the MP for Harrow East, writes an exclusive frontline report for ConservativeHome:
"Campaigning in the Feltham and Heston by-election is off to a strong start with a large number of MPs and activists flowing through the campaign offices.
We have an excellent local candidate in Mark Bowen. He's the only candidate from the main parties to live in the constituency, with all three of his children born in the borough. Mark works for British Airways, a major local employer in a seat which neighbours Heathrow airport. Having been a local councillor for nine years, he is a true champion for the area, who understands the challenges and pressures local people and businesses face.
Mark has represented his constituents in the Feltham North ward for almost a decade and has a great track record of action. That much is clear on the doorsteps, where even traditional Labour voters know Mark and know how hard he works on behalf of the people he represents.
Feltham and Heston is a seat that Mark has contested in both 2005 and 2010 and he has whittled down Labour's majority. This by-election is a clear two horse race - it's Labour or Conservative. There are no Lib Dem councillors in the constituency, and no other parties are on the borough council. It is a clear choice.
The message coming back from the doorsteps loud and clear is that the issues of controlling immigration, getting a grip on Labour's debt and tackling Labour's something-for-nothing culture are at the forefront of people's minds in Feltham and Heston. These are all areas where Conservatives are taking action in government. We have a strong, positive message that people are listening to.
As we enter the weekend, the campaign enters a new phase, with a new swathe of leaflets turning the fire onto Labour. So I hope that all Conservatives reading this will be moved to volunteer to help Mark, preferably by paying a visit to the seat, or alternatively by volunteering to do telephone canvassing from the comfort of wherever you are."