Downing Street has stepped into the controversial process of selecting Labour candidates for the general election to overturn a shortlist which excluded a favoured hopeful.
The move was initiated by retiring MP James Purnell, who was outraged that his friend and ally Jonathan “Johnny” Reynolds had been left off the shortlist for selection in his Stalybridge and Hyde seat.
The special panel set by the party’s National Executive Committee to draw up shortlists for vacancies decided on local GP Kailash Chand, Unite official Peter Wheeler, former MP Barbara Roche and Floyd Millan, from London.
But Mr Reynolds, a local councillor who has worked closely with Mr Purnell and who is enmeshed in a bitter civil war among fellow councillors, was added after Number 10’s intervention forced a reconvening of the panel.
Among those not considered for the shortlist was former MEP Glyn Ford. With the number of retiring Labour MPs now touching 90, Laura Moffat has announced that she is to stand down from her Crawley seat, where she had a majority of just 37, while former Tribune editor Mark Seddon is to throw his hat in the ring in Stoke-on-Trent Central, where there is a majority of 9,774. No by-election is to be held in Middlesbrough South following the death of Ashok Kumar.