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Labour will pick St Helens MP candidate from all woman shortlist
2:16pm Wednesday 15th January 2014 in News
THE Labour candidate for the next general election will be selected from an all woman shortlist following a ruling by the party’s national executive.
It is understood the decision went against the wishes of the local Constituency Labour Party which had said they would have preferred the candidate for St Helens South and Whiston to have been chosen from an open selection process.
With the town traditionally being such a strong Labour seat, it is likely that St Helens will get its first woman MP, who will take the seat currently occupied by Shaun Woodward in 2015.
A Labour Party spokeswoman explained: "Labour is working to increase the diversity within Parliament and has a proud record of increasing the number of women and ethnic minority MPs. In working to achieve this we believe that members should play a major role in selecting their candidates.
“The National Executive Committee resolved that St Helens South and Whiston would be an all women shortlist. This decision followed a period of consultation with local Labour Party members in St Helens South and Whiston.
"If people want a Parliament that is more open, plural and democratic then we need to make big changes. Labour has the most successful record of women’s representation in comparison to all other political parties and will always have equality as a core value."
The ruling is set to spark the race to become the Labour candidate, with insiders tipping veteran politician Marie Rimmer to push for local party members’ votes.
Rimmer, who was ousted as council leader after a power struggle last year, missed out on the chance to become an MP when Woodward was parachuted into the safe seat in 2001.
It is unclear whether any other contenders from the St Helens political scene will emerge, however, party insiders believe some London-based women with family ties to the town could throw their hat into the ring.
It is understood the grassroots party would favour a candidate who was born and bred in St Helens.
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