Wednesday 26 April 2017

Local Say

This letter of mine appears in today’s Northern Echo:

There is to be no local say at all in the choice of Labour’s parliamentary candidate here in North West Durham, where Pat Glass is retiring and will be missed. 

That choice is to be made entirely by a committee in London, from an all-women shortlist. 

Therefore, funds permitting, I intend to contest, not only the forthcoming elections to the Lanchester Ward of Durham County Council and to Lanchester Parish Council as I was already doing, but also the North West Durham seat at the forthcoming General Election.

I have no party affiliation. I do not even use the word “Independent”.

I am delighted that my Campaign Patrons are Councillor Alex Watson OBE of Consett North, who served for 18 years as the Executive Leader of the former Derwentside District Council, and former MP George Galloway.

You do not have to agree with George about everything. Or with Alex, come to that, although I cannot remember when I last disagreed with him.

You just need to recognise whatever it is that they honour me by recognising in me. And you just need to be less than happy about the choice of the Labour candidate from an all-women shortlist by a committee in London.

Meanwhile, the gossip today is that the Labour nomination will go to Laura Pidcock.

Laura is a friend of mine, and she is a highly impressive politician whom I very much hope to see in Parliament one day.

But this nomination would be a consolation prize because her own MP, the great man Ronnie Campbell, was not retiring after all. Laura had been expected to succeed him.

Moreover, at the recent rally in support of the Teaching Assistants, a rally addressed very powerfully by her partner, my friend Daniel Kebede (another potential future MP), Laura ended up walking out when a leading TA activist whom I have known for decades, and who lives in this constituency, called for all Labour members of Durham County Council to lose their seats at the forthcoming local elections.

I, of course, have expressed that view many times. Including, again, on the letters page of the Northern Echo.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

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