During the Stoke Central by-election, "the lazy journalism of the national press did at least ensure a huge backlash of positivity about the many finer points of the city"
"In 2007 ... I remember talking to Stephen O’Brien, then MP for Eddisbury and given the role of unofficial shadow minister for Stoke-on-Trent, about a ten year plan for the Conservatives in the city. I don’t think either of us envisaged that it would be executed quite so perfectly. No big mystery to our success, beyond hard work and perseverance."