Posted by Chris:
Glyn Nightingale and I spent an interesting afternoon in the company of Nick Clegg and a number of north east Lib Dems, including Newcastle Council leader John Shipley and Freddie Fletcher.
We travelled up to the Newcastle/Gateshead Hilton, where Nick was to address the North East Economic Forum. Nick was introduced by Michael White, Assistant Editor of The Guardian, who chaired the session. "You will be aware he is standing for the Leadership of the Liberal Democrats and he is going to win," Mr White told the audience of north east business people, quangocrats, academics and civic worthies.
Nick's speech was delivered with his usual self assurance and he handled the questions extremely well, though there was nothing hostile from the floor. He received a hearty round of applause at the end.
We then joined Nick for ham and pease pudding sandwiches plus freshly baked biscuits. It was a chance to see him in action close up. Glyn and I took the opportunity to brief him about the progress we have made in the Redcar Constituency and we outlined our plans for the future, one of which was to secure a visit from him.
I talked to Nick about the Lib Dem Blogsphere and who was supporting who. He seemed most interested and asked me a number of questions between discussions with others on a whole range of topics. He was certainly impressive in how he interacted with people. It has confirmed to me that he is the best choice for Liberal Democrats.
We then went on a long walk around the centre of Newcastle, led by John Shipley whom I have known for about 3o years, since our days in Whitby. Nick was photographed at the Earl Grey statue and we left him at the station for his journey to Buxton, via Sheffield, for his appearance on Question Time tonight.
The full list of supporters to date should be on his website over the weekend.
I hope to publish some pictures later, if Glyn Nightingale manages to download them from his mobile.