Daughter of Labour peer ruffles feathers in safe London seat

Georgia Gould could become youngest ever Labour MP after she is shortlisted for 2010 election
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Indy Politics

Georgia Gould, the 22-year-old daughter of one of the founders of New Labour, has been shortlisted for a safe seat in the Commons, the Labour Party confirmed yesterday.

She is one of eight contenders who on 18 April will go before party members in the Erith and Thamesmead constituency, on the eastern outskirts of London, as they meet to choose a candidate for next year's general election. The candidate there will be defending a Labour majority of 9,878.

If elected, Ms Gould will become the youngest Labour MP ever, and the youngest woman MP since the 21-year-old Bernadette Devlin won Mid-Ulster as an independent Unity candidate in 1969. Her emergence has provoked allegations of nepotism, as her father, Philip, now Lord Gould of Brookwood, was central to the creation of what is now known as New Labour, before she was born. Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Patricia Hewitt and others were regular visitors to the family home.

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spokesman, rang two members of the Erith and Thamesmead Labour Party to try to persuade them to take Ms Gould's campaign seriously.

In his blog, he hinted that an "evangelical supporter of Gordon Brown" was behind a campaign, waged through the press, to deny her the seat.

He added: "It will surprise nobody to know that I think [Georgia Gould], who I have known all her life, is a wonderful young woman of deep values and convictions, and whose dedication to Labour and progressive causes matches that of anyone I know." Another leading contender to be Labour candidate for the seat is Rachel Maskell, an official of the trade union, Unite. Unite's political director, Charlie Whelan, was Gordon Brown's press secretary for most of the 1990s.

Colin Bloom, who will fight the seat for the Tories, said: "I am delighted that Labour is continuing to make such a hash of their selection."