Political big guns head for South Tyneside

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BIG political guns are heading to South Shields as by-election campaigning hots up.

The town has already seen an appearance by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, in support of his party’s candidate, Coun Emma Lewell-Buck.

And his brother David, former MP for the town, returned to his old stomping ground at the weekend to offer Coun Lewell-Buck his backing.

Now three senior Labour shadow cabinet ministers are expected to be following suit over the coming days.

No names have yet been revealed, but visits are expected on Thursday of this week and Monday and Tuesday of next week.

UKIP is to welcome its leader Nigel Farrage for a visit next week.

He is expected to call in at the party’s election office in the heart of King Street.

UKIP candidate Richard Elvin was to attend a St George’s Day event at West Harton Action Station in Boldon Lane, South Shields, today.

Mr Elvin will use the event to support calls for a national holiday on the day.

The campaign will also receive a splash of colour tomorrow when Alan ‘Howling Laud’ Hope, leader of the Raving Loony Party, arrives in town.

He is setting up office in the Dougie Vaults Hotel in Barrington Street.

Liberal Democrat Hugh Annand said he was “awaiting confirmation” of a visit to the town from a senior Parliamentary figure from his party.

Meanwhile, all the prospective MPs have been invited to a victims of crime gathering at the town’s Little Haven Hotel today.

They will meet with families impacted by crime and be asked to give their views on a new Victims’ Code.

The code aims to give victims of crime the chance to hold the criminal justice system to account by detailing what they can expect from the moment they report a crime.