Martin Salter MP to stand down


News reaches Paintbrush HQ that Martin Salter, Labour MP for Reading West, is to step down at the next election.

A good egg

"A good egg"

We will be sad to see him go. Martin Salter is a good egg: broadly loyal to the government, but never afraid to speak out against it when he feels it has made the wrong decisions, and he’s a proper character to boot. One of my favourite Martin Salter anecdotes recalls him out electioneering in Reading and coming across a friendly tramp/hobo/neighbourhood alcoholic. After said tramp made his pro-Labour voting intentions clear Martin shook him by the hand, grabbed the tramp’s can of Special Brew, and proceeded to take a hearty swig, as if to seal the deal.

In all seriousness though, Martin made a vital contribution to Labour’s success in winning both of Reading’s parliamentary seats in 1997 and to the party maintaining control of the council for so many years. It is testament to his skill and experience that he has been asked to join Labour’s National General Election strategy team.

The Paintbrush gang all went along to help campaign in Reading for the 2005 general election where we met numerous eccentric characters and had plenty of wacky adventures. Reading Labour Party was not a happy bunch of comrades; the Labour MP for Reading East, Jane Griffiths, was deselected for all sorts of possible reasons. Jane was convinced that Martin Salter orchestrated her downfall and to this day maintains a vitriolic and perhaps a teeny-weeny bit frighteningly obsessive blog.

Jane Griffiths was replaced as Labour’s parliamentary candidate by a local councillor who is a lovely man but his campaign was somewhat hampered by an exuberant legal history. In the end the Tories took Reading East. Let’s just say no summary of the situation in Reading Labour Party would be complete without including the words messy deselection, enduring divisions, accusations of sexual assault, bankruptcy, a police warrant being issued,  dangerous liaisons in Reading station toilets, and rumours of nasty Tories telling voters lies about the Labour candidate being a nonce.

My own personal memories focus on the lighter stuff. The curry-flavoured cake being provided to volunteers at a Labour phone bank. The drunken rendition of the Red Flag being sung from a stage to a distinctly unamused audience of Reading Labour Party members. The 11 year old kid who approached a group of us and then, after asking us whether we would buy him some cigarettes from a shop, took out from his pocket what looked to be around £200 in cash.

Anyway, here’s wishing Martin Salter all the best for the rest of his time in Parliament and I hope all his future plans work out well!

Captain Jako


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3 Responses to “Martin Salter MP to stand down”

  1. RP Says:

    Brilliant picture of MS, exactly as I remember him during those heady 2005 Reading days.

  2. Reading wanderer Says:

    In these tough economic times I believe the hoodies in Reading are only able to afford carrying around £100 in their back pockets

  3. Corporate chemists and private equity companies pay Patricia Hewitt a lot of money for her advice so that we in the Labour Party don’t need to listen to it. « Frank Owen’s Paintbrush Says:

    […] I liked Martin Salter’s response to the email invitation to rebellion (as I’ve said before: he’s a good egg!): […]

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