Marie Rimmer secures Labour candidacy for St Helens South and Whiston

St Helens Star: Marie Rimmer Marie Rimmer

VETERAN politician Marie Rimmer has today been selected as the Labour candidate to contest the next general election in St Helens South and Whiston.

It follows a vote by nearly 200 party members this afternoon in Thatto Heath.

Shaun Woodward, the constituency's MP since 2001, announced last year he would not be standing in 2015.

Labour's national executive decided earlier this year that the candidate would be selected from an all woman shortlist.

Following meetings held by local Labour Party members, former council leader Marie Rimmer, London-based councillor Catherine McDonald and June Hitchen, a councillor in Manchester, were selected for a final ballot, which took place today.

Rimmer, 67, was ousted as council leader last year in a move that looked to have signalled the beginning of the end of her long political career in St Helens.

But the selection means she would become the first woman MP in the town's history if elected by St Helens voters.

In a statement she said: "I am incredibly proud to have been selected to succeed Shaun Woodward, I want to thank all the members who have put their faith and trust in me. I will not let them down.

"I have lived and worked in St Helens all my life and cannot wait to get to Westminster to take on these Tories who are causing so much misery for residents across this constituency.

"I make this promise to the people of St Helens, Whiston and Prescot, I will be a highly visible candidate who will campaign and fight for every vote."

Shaun Woodward, who was controversially parachuted in St Helens South in 2001, added: "This is a great result for St Helens South and Whiston.

"I am certain that this is the best outcome for the town, in what was a hugely sought after seat and in a hard fought selection contest.

"The outcome of today's final selection round is absolutely brilliant for St Helens.

"Marie is a true fighter, with strong values and a great sense of compassion. We can be certain that with Marie, the town will have a great and serious champion.

"This is also a wonderful personal result for Marie; I couldn't be more pleased for her.  All round, it's a very good day for St Helens."

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