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Russell Eagling



I joined the Liberal Democrats when I first went to university.  I had been very impressed by the leader, Paddy Ashdown and found I agreed with them in the main areas of policy that mattered to me most - a better protected environment, a more internationalist approach to foreign affairs and the right for everyone to be individuals.

I was involved in several local election campaigns with the local team in Stoke on Trent.  When I first got there there were no opposition councilors.  The first campaign I fought was as part of the election team for the Shelton by-election in 1998.  My good friend, Ian Openshaw, was the candidate and the campaign was organised by Ed Fordham.  We achieved a massive swing and had a great result.  We followed through in the local elections that year and won two more seats becoming the official opposition.

After I left university, to my great surprise, I got a job in Paddy Ashdown's Westminster office.  I was working for the person who had inspired me to get involved in the first place.  I worked there for several months as a volunteer helping deal with the massive number of letters that came into our office everyday.  I worked in the Houses of Parliament, the building of which the famous London landmark, Big Ben is a part.

Nick Clegg was an excellent man to work for.  Here I went with him on a trip to a school in Stamford in LincolnshireLondon was proving to be very expensive, but I got offered another job working for a man called Nick Clegg in the East Midlands.   He had just been selected by party members to fight the European elections in 1999.  I worked for 8 months developing the party in what was one of our weakest areas in the country.  We won one seat in that election, the first Liberal parliamentarian to be elected in that part of the country for over 60 years.

I then became Nick's Head of Office in the East Midlands.  I ran the office based in Ruddington for two years.  The highlights of the party at that time included visiting the many interesting companies and organizations in the area, organizing the publicity for the defection of another MEP, Bill Newton-Dunn, and winning our first Westminster seat in Chesterfield.  In that 2001 General Election I also volunteered some of my time in Romsey where Sandra Gidley held onto the seat she won in a by-election just a year before.

In the same General Election I also stood for election myself in the seat of South Derbyshire.   You can read about the result here or here.  This wasn't the first time I'd stood in an election.  Indeed, I have been a candidate in Stoke-on-Trent (Blurton Ward) Nottingham City (Strelly Ward) and Newark & Sherwood (Muskham Ward).

I am currently taking a break from politics, but enjoy keeping in touch with everything that is going on in the UK political scene and am an avid reader of the Electronic Telegraph, Guardian Unlimited and the Independent.  I also still regularly listen to programmes like Broadcasting House or the Today programme on the internet.


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