After Falkirk, another selection wrangle looms for Labour - with ageism campaigner versus recent politics graduate

Will Nuneaton candidate be 56-year-old Harman-backed Miriam O'Reilly or 22-year-old local Victoria Fowler?

It might not be another Falkirk selection row in the making, but trouble may be in the air for Labour again tonight if Miriam O’Reilly is not selected as the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Nuneaton in the Midlands.

The former Countryfile presenter has become the standard-bearer for older women in the workplace, having stood up to the BBC and emerged victorious in her age-discrimination tribunal. Now she is one step away from succeeding in her quest to take her campaigns to the heart of Britain’s democracy.

The only person standing in her way of a run at the Warwickshire seat is the fresh-faced, 22-year-old local female councillor Victoria Fowler. Party insiders hope this outcome is not contested in the courts as the former TV star dumped by BBC bosses from the rural affairs show finds out today whether she has won her latest struggle.

Ms O’Reilly has had to defend herself against allegations of being “parachuted” in as a result of her close links with Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader.

Although the big name on the ballot, local sources say the fight is too close to call as Ms Fowler, born and raised in the constituency, has a groundswell of support through an assortment of community work.

Nuneaton is a top target for Labour at the next election and whoever wins will be looking to topple the Conservative incumbent Marcus Jones and his majority of 2,069 in 2015. Ms O’Reilly, 56, said recently during a visit to Nuneaton: “A couple of people have said to me, ‘Are you being parachuted in?’ But I’m not; I love the county and I love the people. You know where you stand with the people of Nuneaton. You can engage people and talk about their lives. They are very warm people. I want to be on their side. I’m moving back to the area, whether I’m selected or not.”

Ms Fowler, a recent University of Warwick politics graduate, has an impressive CV for someone who has only had a short career. A former pupil of King Edward VI College in Nuneaton, the same school Marcus Jones attended as did the director Ken Loach, she is a governor for Croft Junior School in Stockingford and was a columnist for the local newspaper.

But Ms O’Reilly, a former BBC Midlands journalist, also knows a thing or two about campaigns. She was the first person to win an age discrimination case against the BBC after her 2011 victory, claiming that dozens of older female presenters at the broadcaster had their careers saved as a result.

Miriam O'Reilly

Age: 56

Born: Ireland, raised in Ealing, London    

Occupation: Broadcaster and presenter

Campaigning experience: Landmark age discrimination victory against the BBC, co-founder Women's Equality Network, deputy chair of Labour's Commission of Older Women.

Slogan: "Nuneaton needs an MP who will stand up and fight for investment."                        

Victoria 'Vicky' Fowler

Age: 22

Born and raised: Nuneaton

Occupation: Councillor

Campaigning experience: Several local projects, including Save Our Youth Service, Protect Services at the George Eliot Hospital, DUMP IT - a joint campaign with the Nuneaton Tribune to prevent a hazardous waste plant from being built.

Slogan: "Your only local candidate. Nuneaton has always been my home."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas