When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Candidates queue up to replace Jack Straw in Blackburn
MORE than a dozen Labour politicians have expressed an interest in taking over from Jack Straw as the party’s candidate for Blackburn at the next election.
They include borough council leader Kate Hollern, Burnley-born former Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik, Hyndburn Council deputy leader Clare Pritchard, and Pendle’s Labour group leader Mohammed Iqbal.
A rush of applicants is expected after the party’s national executive decides on January 14 whether there will be a women-only shortlist for the seat.
It will fire the starting gun for the official contest and set the timetable for the selection to be completed by the end of March.
With a majority of 9,856 at the 2010 general election, Blackburn is considered to be a ‘safe seat’ – something that constituency Labour party secretary Phil Riley denies.
He said: “I would expect a lot of people to formally apply after the national executive meets in January. I have heard of at least 19 people who are interested in taking over from Jack in May 2015, locally and across the country.
“This is not a seat with a natural huge Labour majority like Wigan or Merthyr Tydfil.
“It was been won by Labour for more than 60 years because we have had two superb MPs and a local Labour party that works very hard.”
So far, the only person to say he is seeking nomination is Mr Straw’s constituency secretary and Mill Hill councillor Damian Talbot.
Coun Hollern is known to be interested and is one of the early favourites, especially if it is a women-only shortlist. Coun Pritchard is the only other woman known to be considering bidding.
Other Blackburn with Darwen councillors being touted include Shear Brow’s Solly Khonat and Bastwell’s Shaukat Hussain.
Former Labour Minister Mr Malik is so far the only former MP to demonstrate a clear interest but several others are expected in January.
Coun Iqbal is joined by Burnley Labour politician Wajid Khan among local Asian party figures interested in standing.
With the constituency’s large South Asian population, interest has come from community figures in Rotherham, London and Nottingham.
The candidates will be whittled down to a shortlist for a vote of all party members.
Comments are closed on this article.