Newbury member Bert Clough recently organised a memorial meeting in the House of Lords for the late Geoff Bish, the party’s popular policy director in the 70s and 80s. Bert worked under Geoff as a policy officer between 1976-89.
Many senior figures attended including Margaret Beckett, Neil Kinnock, David Blunkett, Jon Cruddas and deputy leader, Tom Watson.
Thirty years ago, Bert bumped into a library assistant in the loo at the party headquarters. He was a tousled haired seventeen year old who wore a black and red jumper, looking a little like Dennis the Menace.
He suggested to Tom Watson (for it was he) that he might apply to university and then possibly reach the party’s dizzy heights as a party policy officer. Tom took the advice and went to Hull University where he became president of the students union. But he never did become a policy officer. The rest as they say is history.
Tom and Bert shared this memory at the House of Lords event.