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Ex-St Helens Councillor's daughter joins race to be Labour candidate
THE daughter of a former St Helens councillor is the latest to add her name to the growing list of women keen on replacing outgoing Labour MP Shaun Woodward.
Eleanor Blackburn, 34, who is originally from Garswood, is a council officer in Warrington where she is partnership project manager.
She follows St Helens-born Catherine McDonald, a Labour councillor in Southwark in London, in announcing her intention to put her name forward to seek the party’s nomination for the St Helens South and Whiston ward.
Labour’s national executive has agreed that the contest will be from an all-woman shortlist.
She was introduced to politics at an early age, with her mother being Janet Richardson, who was elected in Haydock 2003.
Mrs Blackburn told the Star: “I used to be in Church Square as a child handing out balloons and leaflets. I then became involved in politics when I was a student and am a Unison activist.
“I am very much engaged with the local branch of the party and like to get out there and get involved.
“In terms of what I have to offer for me politics is changing and I think people’s expectations are changing.
“I am very keen on engaging future generations and changing that dialogue. It is important to have a two-way communication between people.
“There is a real desire for people to have a say in what MPs’ priorities are and this is very much what I’m about. It’s important to let people know what’s going on.”
A mother of two, Eleanor, who now lives in Lowton, is married to a police officer and has worked in local government for 12 years, beginning her career in Wigan.
Other contenders include former St Helens Council leader Marie Rimmer, 67, being tipped as the front-runner by some Labour insiders, and Denise Allen, a Prescot councillor.
A 10-strong selection committee – including union members and councillors – has been assembled.
It will meet from the first time next Monday (February 18) with the shortlisting process expected to take between a fortnight and three weeks.
The Star has spoken to various Labour sources, who are adamant they don’t want a ‘parachute’ candidate from the national party.
However, opinions vary on the choice of an all-woman shortlist. One Labour source suggested the majority wanted an open selection, and another said this week that it was a 50/50 split among party members.