DAVID Baines says he is "honoured" to have been chosen to be the Labour candidate for St Helens North at the General Election.

The council leader secured the vote of local Labour party members at St Helens Town Hall on Saturday.

An earlier hustings event for party members had given the candidates the chance to state their cases.

Cllr Baines, who grew up in Haydock and now represents the Windle ward, won the race ahead of Parr Councillor Bisi Osundeko and Luke Joseph, a senior parliamentary assistant to Marie Rimmer MP.

Cllr Baines, who has been council leader since 2019, had been the clear favourite since making a decision to run over the summer.

St Helens Star: David Baines

As previously reported, Conor McGinn, who has left the Labour party and is currently sitting as an independent MP, will be stepping down at the next general election – expected to take place in 2024.

Cllr Baines will be expected to hold the reins at the town hall well into next year, but when he does stand aside from his council role it will set up an intriguing battle for the leadership.

Speaking to the Star, Cllr Baines said: “I am honoured to have been chosen by local Labour Party members to be our candidate for St Helens North at the next general election.

“I thank all those who voted and put their trust in me, and also major trade unions Community, CWU, GMB, Unison, and USDAW for their backing. I am proud to stand with the millions of keyworkers they represent.

“I would also like to particularly thank the local Party officials for their work in running the selection contest, and commiserations to Bisi and Luke who both gave it their best shot and I'm sure will go far.

“As most people know, this is my home. I was brought up here and I’m now bringing up my own young family here.

“I love this place, and I will always have our communities and their best interests at heart.

“I'm looking forward to working hard in the weeks and months ahead as we prepare for the general election and the Labour victory our communities and the country so desperately needs.”