Labour gears up for a General Election

Photo Neil Cross
The South Ribble election count at the tennis centre
Photo Neil Cross The South Ribble election count at the tennis centre

Labour chiefs in South Ribble are preparing for a snap General Election.

The party is set to choose its candidate to fight the seat after drawing up a shortlist of four.

Constituency bosses have been put on an election footing nationally should Prime Minister Theresa May decide to go to the polls again.

After calling a snap election in May this year, the Conservatives lost their majority and she was left clinging on to power.

Labour Lancashire county councillor Matthew Tomlinson, who is also a South Ribble borough councillor for Leyland’s Broadfield ward, said: “I’m sure like other people in the Labour Party, I’m pleased we’ve got such a strong selection of people who have got a track record of standing up for Labour values, people with experience who know the area well.

“I’m sure it will be an interesting month for the Labour Party in South Ribble and people will be looking forward to us choosing our candidate.”

He said Labour was ensuring it was ready should an election be called.

He said: “With Brexit and the Tory cabinet seems to be split, you can’t discount the possibility of a General Election at any time over the coming months, so the Labour Party has decided quite rightly that its constituencies will be putting a challenge to the Conservative incumbents and we need to have a candidate in place.”

The four South Ribble candidates are:

*Chorley borough and Lancashire county councillor Kim Snape, who lives in Adlington and represents Chorley rural east on the county council.

*Lancashire county councillor Gillian Oliver. She lives in St Annes and represents Preston South West on the county council.

*Gail Hodson, a councillor for West Lancashire, who lives in Tarleton.

*Kate Lewis, a Salford City councillor, who lives in Swinton and represents Little Hulton ward on her authority.

In the North West, Labour has just chosen its candidate in Southport, re-selecting Liz Savage. The West Lancashire councillor, who lives just outside the constituency border in Tarleton, has stood twice before in Southport.

And Rossendale and Darwen Labour Party announced its candidate this week.

She is Alyson Barnes, leader of the Labour group on Rossendale Borough Council, who has represented the Goodshaw ward on the authority since 1999.

South Ribble expects to choose its candidate by the middle of January.

Every member of the Labour Party in South Ribble will get a vote.

There will be ‘meet the candidates’ evenings which the public can attend.

Conservatives kept control of South Ribble at the General Election in May.

Seema Kennedy won the seat with a majority of almost 7,500. She received 29,980 votes. Runner up was Labour’s Julie Gibson with 21,559.

Voter turnout was 72.51 per cent - up significantly from 68.69 per cent at the last General Election in 2015.

The count was held at South Ribble Tennis Centre in Bamber Bridge.

South Ribble had been represented by Conservatives since before 2010. Before that, Labour MP David Borrow held the seat for 13 years from 1997 to 2010.