The names that have made the Labour Party longlist for the vacancy for the candidacy of Stoke-on-Trent Central have started to emerge.
The two favourites Tristram Hunt and Byron Taylor have made the list as expected.
Local candidates Jane Heggie and Sarah Hill’s inclusion means that there will at least be a local presence at the interviews in London on Monday.
The rest of the longlist will be made up of names not known in the City but is thought to include a Doctor from Coventry and an Asian guy from the West Midlands.
The 10 or 11 names that have made the shortlist will be interviewed in London on Monday and from that there will be a shortlist chosen will will comprise of 4 or 5 names who will go forward to the hustings on 1st April In Stoke.
Sources have indicated that there will not be a postal ballot as previously thought. It appears that there will be a vote on the night.
At this stage the focus is on those who for what ever reason did not make the longlist.
Gary Elsby will now be considering whether to step outside of the party and become the 11th candidate who will contest the Election. He will be bitterly disappointed that he has not made the longlist especially as he was on the Parliamentary list a short while ago.
Cllr Adrian Knapper is another well known Labour Party name excluded fro the list. This will come as a huge disappointment to Adrian who has only ever served the Stoke Central Constituency since he joined the Party. He is a serving City Councillor for the Berryhill and Hanley East ward.
Adrian has released the following Statement:
With regards my attempt to gain the selection of the vacant nomination for the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Labour.
I wish to thank the many ordinary people of the potteries who have come up to me in the Street and wished me well. The warmth of local people has been second to none and has given me faith that I have the respect of the electorate.
On this occasion the National Selection Panel that sits outside the City, have decided not to include my name within the shortlist of candidates.
Within Stoke-on-Trent many members of the local Labour Party have expressed concerns about the heavy hand of the regional office and the NEC, especially with the dealing around the Central 3, who have been dedicated long serving members of the local Labour Party.
All sides that have been involved within this dispute must now unite and realize that we all belong to the Labour Party with solid values and principles of the aim to serve the people to make lives and futures better for all.
Every Labour member in Stoke-on-Trent must now stand in support of the name of the individual who is selected by the local Membership to be the Labour Party PPC and campaign to make that individual the next Member of Parliament for Stoke Central.
I will now be seeking re-election to be a Councillor in the Local Elections and hope that the people in Berryhill & Hanley East Ward will put their faith in me, by voting Labour and re-electing me to be their City Councillor.
Former Labour Elected Mayor Mark Meredith has also been rejected at this early stage.
Cllr Tom Reynolds has also failed to get onto the longlist. This, quite frankly, I find amazing and it certainly fuels speculation that the chosen two are to be given a clear run.
Tom has released this statement:
I have been informed by the compliance unit that I won’t be invited to interview for the Stoke-Central parliamentary selection.
I’m really disappointed, as I believe I would have done a good job for Labour and the people of Stoke-Central. However I know there is a very good list of quality people still in the frame, and I know that we will have an excellent candidate for the seat in the next election. I’ll offer whoever wins the selection my full support.
I’m now turning my attention to ensuring the Labour stands up for Stoke in the council chamber, and I’ll be running for office within the Labour Group at our annual general meeting.
Informed sources are suggesting that the eventual shortlist will consist of Tristram Hunt, Byron Taylor, Jane Heggie and Sarah Hill [possibly one more].
If that is the case there will be a suspicion of a bit of Labour Party ‘social engineering’ given the fact that Stoke-on-Trent Central CLP have had issues with both Jane and Sarah which will probably pave the way for either the party favourite Tristram Hunt or union favourite Byron Taylor.
We will keep you updated as the situation unfurls.