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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman in Carlisle

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman will sport a pair of ice skates when she visits Carlisle today to see how culture is helping the economic recovery of the city.

Harriet Harman photo
Harriet Harman

The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture will arrive by train from London late this morning.

Her schedule includes a visit to the old fire station in Warwick Street in Rickergate, which it is hoped will become a permanent arts centre.

She will also visit the new skating rink in Bitts Park and do some door-to-door canvassing with Labour candidate Christine Bowditch in the Cumbria County Council by-election in Belle Vue.

Ms Harman will be shown around Carlisle by city councillor Lee Sherriff, who is Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate in the next General Election.

Ms Sherriff, who is city councillor for Harraby, said:“I’m really looking forward to the visit.

“From the arts centre we will move to the skating rink in Bitts Park where some children will be skating. Later, we will carry out some canvassing.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to show off Carlisle and all the improvements that are being made here.”

Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “Yesterday, it was exactly 400 days until the General Election. Ms Harman is very much here to support Lee in her quest to become Labour MP for Carlisle.”

Ahead of the visit, Ms Harman said the council in Carlisle was doing what it could to help build an economic recovery.

“Before taking control of the council in 2012, Labour pledged they would develop a new arts venue for the city and I’m pleased they are delivering on that promise,” she said.

“I think arts are very important in times of austerity – look at what they’ve done for places like Liverpool and Gateshead. They’ve helped bring more tourists to those areas.

“I’m looking forward to going to the skating rink. I’ve been watching Dancing on Ice but it’s many years since I put a pair of skates on. I wonder if I’ll stay upright? I’m going to give it a whirl and see.”

Ms Harman gave her backing to Ms Sherriff describing her as “a breath of fresh air” and “someone we need in the House of Commons.”

Plans have been lodged for the £1 million transformation of Carlisle’s old fire station into an arts centre. If approved, work would start in June with the centre opening next spring.

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