Names starting to emerge for Labour candidacy in St Helens South

Catherine McDonald believes she could offer fresh ideas

Catherine McDonald believes she could offer fresh ideas

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior Reporter

TWO Knowsley councillors and a London-based politician are among those believed to be vying to become Labour’s MP candidate for St Helens South and Whiston.

Former council leader Marie Rimmer’s declaration last week that she will be challenger effectively fired the starting gun in the race to be the party’s contender.

Labour’s national executive has decided the candidate to replace Shaun Woodward will be selected from an all woman shortlist.

The Constituency Labour Party (CLP) is due to meet this week to agree on a selection panel which will examine a “long list” before consulting members on who should make the shortlist.

Among those names linked with challenging Knowsley councillors Sandra Gaffney (Whiston North) and Denise Allen (Prescot East), and St Helens-born Catherine McDonald, a Southwark councillor in London.

Allen, aged 54, a vocal campaigner in the fight to save Whiston Hospital’s burns unit, confirmed to the Star she will be putting her name forward.

Warrington council officer Eleanor Blackburn, the daughter of a former Labour councillor, is another tipped to challenge.

As Rimmer’s candidacy was announced last week, Labour sources voiced concerns the national party “parachuting in” a candidate to mirror the situation with Woodward in 2001.

In a Star poll that asked should the Labour candidate have strong local ties, 76 per cent of people have so far voted yes, indicating a mood in favour of a home grown candidate.

McDonald would appear to present a different option. She is originally from Moss Bank but is currently a cabinet member on Southwark Council in South East London.

The 39-year-old said: “I have long been thinking that I would like to come home. I have lived in London and been a councillor here and would hope to bring some fresh ideas.

“We have been down her for around 15 years since my family moved down, but my dad and sure I followed Saints.

“I’m currently a cabinet member for health and social care and equality and used to hold the position for children’s Services.

“This is effectively my day job.”

She added: “St Helens never leaves you. When I heard that Shaun Woodward was stepping down I knew I had to go for that.

“We are doing some good work in the party at the moment such as social mobility and the living wage but you can only do so much as a councillor.

“I strongly feel that this government has launched an onslaught on those on low income and I want to direct this fight in parliament.”

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:56am Thu 6 Feb 14

StHelens#90 says...

This woman to me certainly seems like a parachute, the whole "returning home" thing, what a load of nonsense. This is a clear attempt at a National level for Labour's NEC to attempt to push their woman in. I hope that Labour Party members see sense here, I'm not a member but I will be encouraging members to vote for anyone other than this Mc Donald woman. This is a stitch up
This woman to me certainly seems like a parachute, the whole "returning home" thing, what a load of nonsense. This is a clear attempt at a National level for Labour's NEC to attempt to push their woman in. I hope that Labour Party members see sense here, I'm not a member but I will be encouraging members to vote for anyone other than this Mc Donald woman. This is a stitch up StHelens#90
  • Score: -10

12:08pm Thu 6 Feb 14

And Justice For All says...

McDonald seems to be a much better choice of those named to be honest. Really, anyone but RImmer will be better. It'll be good to have someone with ideas from outside the area. The last lot have been St Helens born and bred which is nice to have but if that;s all they know, its very limiting. Time to clear out the deadwood, eh Barry? I'd assume outsiders dont really like forgers........
McDonald seems to be a much better choice of those named to be honest. Really, anyone but RImmer will be better. It'll be good to have someone with ideas from outside the area. The last lot have been St Helens born and bred which is nice to have but if that;s all they know, its very limiting. Time to clear out the deadwood, eh Barry? I'd assume outsiders dont really like forgers........ And Justice For All
  • Score: 11

12:44pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Sankey says...

Anyone but rimmer the three seem a decent choice
Anyone but rimmer the three seem a decent choice Sankey
  • Score: 10

1:27pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Bigduke6 says...

I Am appalled by the sexist actions of the Labour Party for the selection of an all Woman Selection by decree of the party. This is Sexism at its worst; I would point out that if it demanded an all Male selection I would be just appalled.
This is Stalinism at its worst, It must be the best person for the job, or the whole thing is a joke,
I Am appalled by the sexist actions of the Labour Party for the selection of an all Woman Selection by decree of the party. This is Sexism at its worst; I would point out that if it demanded an all Male selection I would be just appalled. This is Stalinism at its worst, It must be the best person for the job, or the whole thing is a joke, Bigduke6
  • Score: 7

2:17pm Thu 6 Feb 14

And Justice For All says...

Sexism it sure is. But it's what we're being given so lets take a good look at the candidates.
PS - Well done St Helens Star for burying this story somewhere else on the home page. Great journalism replacing an important story with How to make the best chips!? I guess thats just because Rimmer didnt factor in it very much?
Sexism it sure is. But it's what we're being given so lets take a good look at the candidates. PS - Well done St Helens Star for burying this story somewhere else on the home page. Great journalism replacing an important story with How to make the best chips!? I guess thats just because Rimmer didnt factor in it very much? And Justice For All
  • Score: 6

2:30pm Thu 6 Feb 14

And Justice For All says...

I guess accusing the paper of burying this staory so it can run a story on how to cook chips, doesnt go down well eh?
I guess accusing the paper of burying this staory so it can run a story on how to cook chips, doesnt go down well eh? And Justice For All
  • Score: 2

12:17am Fri 7 Feb 14

anthonywilson says...

I don't agree with the idea of all female shortlists nor do I agree with the idea of people being parachuted in to constituencies. However I would rather have Catherine McDonald who has a connection to St Helens than a person parachuted in who has never been here in their lives and wouldn't even have a clue where St Helens is on a map of the UK.
I don't agree with the idea of all female shortlists nor do I agree with the idea of people being parachuted in to constituencies. However I would rather have Catherine McDonald who has a connection to St Helens than a person parachuted in who has never been here in their lives and wouldn't even have a clue where St Helens is on a map of the UK. anthonywilson
  • Score: 10

9:19am Fri 7 Feb 14

barrie timpson says...

I'd rather have Des O connor than Marie Rommer.
I'd rather have Des O connor than Marie Rommer. barrie timpson
  • Score: 6

9:55am Fri 7 Feb 14

jumperr says...

Residents too Councillors,Councill
ors too MPs,MPs, to articulate what is needed too parliament . better than I know more than them or don't agree,so we won't say anything .that seems to be the problem with our representatives, at any level.
Residents too Councillors,Councill ors too MPs,MPs, to articulate what is needed too parliament . better than I know more than them or don't agree,so we won't say anything .that seems to be the problem with our representatives, at any level. jumperr
  • Score: 0

8:43pm Mon 10 Feb 14

old-codger says...

Local party members should pick the person they want to represent them.
Local party members should pick the person they want to represent them. old-codger
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree