Labour picks new Halifax candidate

Published: Saturday 21st March 2015 by The News Editor

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A new Labour candidate has been chosen for Halifax after reports that more than 130 new party members were banned from voting.

Holly Walker-Lynch was selected to replace current MP Linda Riordan, who announced last month that she was retiring due to ill health.

A number of issues surrounding the selection of a candidate for the marginal seat have been highlighted in recent weeks.

The Guardian newspaper has reported that 134 new members of the Halifax Labour party were disqualified from the vote after a rule change meant they had not been members in the constituency for the required period of time.

The newspaper claimed a complaint had been made to the party alleging that most of the new members had been recruited by the same person and their subs had been paid on the same credit card.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a former Labour candidate who was caught up in a vote-rigging row had not been included on the shortlist.

Karie Murphy said she was not selected for the Halifax shortlist despite being contacted by a “significant” number of party members.

Ms Murphy decided not to stand as Labour’s candidate in Falkirk in 2013 over allegations that the Unite union tried to manipulate the selection process in her favour.

The union and Ms Murphy were both subsequently cleared of any wrong-doing but the episode led Labour leader Ed Miliband to announce reforms to the party’s links with unions.

Ms Riordan, who has represented Halifax for the past 10 years, wrote to Labour earlier this month warning the party was in “very real danger” of losing the seat unless a candidate was selected soon.

She stressed that someone should be chosen as a “matter of urgency” given the slim 1,472 majority Labour is defending.

Ms Walker-Lynch, a Labour activist from Halifax who works for Yorkshire and Humber MEP Linda McAvan, was chosen as the candidate from an all-women shortlist of five after hustings this afternoon.

She said: “I’m delighted and immensely proud to have been selected to represent my home town.

“Linda has been a strong MP for Halifax and hers will be big shoes to fill, but I have the experience and the values to be the champion for Halifax in parliament that we need.

“My number one priority will be to fight for the future of services at Calderdale Royal Hospital, particularly the A&E department and maternity services which so many local people rely upon.

“And I will stand up for the interests of working families and young people who have been so badly starved of opportunities under David Cameron’s government.

“I will work relentlessly between now and election day to meet as many residents as possible to win your trust and support.”

The Yorkshire and Humber Labour Party tweeted after the vote: “Many congratulations to @HollyLynch5 who has been selected as Labour’s candidate for #Halifax.”

Published: Saturday 21st March 2015 by The News Editor

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