Labour party deputy leader Harriet Harman flexed her political muscle on a tour of a Great Yarmouth gym and leisure centre today.

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The MP was supporting local election candidates as they took to the campaign trail to persuade voters to give them their backing in next week’s borough council contest.

Arriving under blue skies she hailed the Marina Centre’s “stunning” facilities following a £3.5m revamp.

Centre manager Wayne Nixon told her about a range of improvements both inside and out with upgraded parking, new flooring in the sports hall and a new “changing village.”

During the visit Ms Harman, whose role as shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport includes tourism, proved herself a good sport, shooting baskets under the guidance of coach James Borg.

In the gym she was also invited to try out state-of-the-art training equipment alongside prospective parliamentary candidate Lara Norris.

She said: “I am here to back our council candidates. I think that in terms of jobs, apprenticeships, and regeneration it is all too easy to overlook the role a really determined council can play. What they have done here is a great example of that. It has been given so much more than a face-lift.

People in the area are rightly proud of it. It a first class facility.

“It is very important that we shout about our seaside towns. Part of the beauty of them is that they are more remote at the end of transport lines but they need support to remain traditional but also keep up to date.”

She said other core concerns were cuts to the standard of living, rising fuel prices and stagnating wages.

Tourism, she added, was still a big part of the economy, although seaside towns faced special problems with deprivation.

She went on to visit Scribbles day nursery in Gorleston to address another of her concerns, the cost of childcare, with Labour promising more free hours for working parents.

Have you got a Great Yarmouth story? Email liz.coates@archant.co.uk.

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