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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

HUDDERSFIELD HOPEFUL’S: Who will become Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Huddersfield?

By Tony Earnshaw & Fatima Patel

One of the country’s longest serving MP’s Barry Sheerman announced he was stepping down after serving 40 years as Huddersfield’s Labour MP last year.

His seat is one of 14 key constituencies where Labour candidates are to be announced early, according to party insiders.

The grassroots news website LabourList says candidates are to be selected “imminently” in the “specified” constituencies. As well as Huddersfield there are two other Yorkshire seats: Doncaster Central and York Outer, both held by Labour.

The others on the list are Stretford and Urmston, and Southampton Test, which are also Labour, and the following Conservative seats:  Bury North, Gedling, Warrington South, Burnley, Leigh, Stroud, Truro and Falmouth, Milton Keynes South, Carlisle.

Local parties have apparently been given the go-ahead by Labour’s National Executive Committee to begin selecting candidates for the general election that many believe is looming.

LabourList says the party intends to complete trigger ballots for sitting MPs by June. Mr Sheerman joins parliamentary colleagues Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston), Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test) and Dame Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central) in standing down.

Among those who have announced their intentions to join the list of candidates in Huddersfield are councillors Naheed Mather and Mus Khan, both members of the decision-making Cabinet on Kirklees Council and who both represent Dalton ward.

While Cllr Mather has made her intention to stand public on social media, Mus Khan is yet to make any official announcement.

Cllr Mather wrote on her Facebook page: “Excited to announce that I will be standing for selection as the Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Huddersfield!

“I’m proud to call Huddersfield my home. I have raised my family in this town and have served the community as a Councillor, Cabinet Member, Justice of the Peace and University lecturer.

“I have the drive, experience and skills to be a powerful voice for Huddersfield in Parliament.”

Cllr Mather was previously on the Labour Party shortlist for Blackburn and was a candidate for Leicester South.

London-based commercial lawyer Hugh Goulbourne is also considering standing. He has been circling the seat for some time and also stood unsuccessfully to be Labour candidate in the West Yorkshire Mayor elections, which eventually went to Tracy Brabin. He previously said he was considering his position but stopped short of announcing his candidacy.

Other names in the frame are Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor, former councillor Harpreet Uppal, Tyler Hawkins, chair of Huddersfield Labour Party and a newly-elected councillor in Dalton, and secretary of Huddersfield Labour Party, Mark Morris.

Cllr Pandor was tipped as a potential runner to fight last year’s Batley and Spen by-election for Labour but threw his weight behind Kim Leadbeater when she was named as the party’s candidate and in the recent local elections, where his party after decades won a majority and helped maintain the much-needed red wall for Labour in West Yorkshire.

Cllr Pandor, who is the first Gujarati Muslim council leader, has put out his vision for Huddersfield on his website, where he says: “Winning in Huddersfield isn’t easy. It will take a trusted, respected, and strategic political campaigner who has the experience to organise a winning campaign and hit the ground running as a strong voice for Huddersfield in parliament.”

Ms Uppal stood down as a councillor for Ashbrow ward at this year’s local elections. She works as senior office manager and campaign lead for Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams. While Ms Uppal made history by becoming the first Sikh councillor in Kirklees, she equally surprised locals, when she decided to step down from council duties, which party insiders have said could be questioned and go against her during selection.

Councillor Hawkins, who has been in post for a month, has also shared his intentions to stand in the Huddersfield seat has said: “Huddersfield is my home. I’m running to be Labour’s candidate at the next Election because Huddersfield deserves an MP who will listen to and fight for us both at home and in Westminster. I have the work ethic and experience to win and when Labour wins, Huddersfield wins.”


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