Do you fancy becoming a Labour MP? How the party cast its cyber-net wide in hunt for new blood

Our diarist notes the frenetic effort Labour is putting into discovering new talent, and why the words of one Bill Oddie are not all they may seem to be

Share
Related Topics

Dozens of Labour Party members have received a surprise offer by email, asking them if they would be interested in becoming an MP. The party is on the hunt for by-election candidates, and is trying to extend the range of people it can persuade to run.

There are two immediate vacancies, caused by the deaths of the sitting MPs Stuart Bell and Malcolm Wicks. Yesterday, another two long-serving MPs – Alun Michael and Tony Lloyd – resigned to seek election as police commissioners in Manchester and Cardiff, respectively, but their departures were expected and new candidates are already in place.

Remarkably, 10 of the first 12 by-elections of the current Parliament are to be for seats held by Labour held, against one in a Tory constituency and one in the Sinn Fein stronghold of West Belfast. That means other parties get 10 chances to take a seat from Labour, while Labour has only one pop at a rival’s seat – although that is a particularly juicy opportunity, created when Louise Mensch decided to abandon Corby to be with her husband in New York. Four Labour MPs have died in office, three have quit to take other jobs, and two have been forced out because of parliamentary scandals.

Ironically, the by-election that caused Labour the most grief came after Marsha Singh quit because he was terminally ill, and his Bradford West was unexpectedly seized by George Galloway. Casting far and wide for good candidates is one way to prevent that happening again.

Bill Oddie (no relation) wades in to Savile affair

While the BBC has agonised more publicly than anyone else about getting it so wrong over Jimmy Savile, legions of commentators out there do not find it comfortable to be reminded of what they once wrote about him. The eminent Catholic commentator Dr William Oddie, writing a few days after Savile’s death, gave the rest of the media a resounding ticking off for their “conspiracy of silence” about the DJ’s “deep dedication” to the Catholic faith.

Dr Oddie was particularly enchanted by Savile’s jokey question to a Broadmoor patient about why he went around “strangling crumpet” – an example, he wrote, of  “the invulnerability of the truly innocent man”. Dr Oddie has revisited the subject in a more recent blog on the Catholic Herald’s website, in which he grapples with the conundrum of whether Savile was conflicted, or evil through and through.

A democratic route to  an expenses increase

One of the novelties of devolution in Wales is that a measure passed last year requires each local authority to have a “democratic services” committee, chaired by a councillor who is not a member of the party that controls the council, to help rank and file councillors hold the administration to account.

Labour-controlled Bridgend set up its committee in May under the chairmanship of an independent, Jeff Tildesley. This had the immediate effect of increasing Cllr Tildesley’s annual allowances by nearly £10,000, to £23,576. Otherwise, its impact has been nil. Five months on, the committee has yet to meet. Mr Tildesley told the WalesOnLine website that he was “extremely embarrassed”.

MP reaches out to the indie kids of E17

The Labour Co-operative MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, pictured left, is advertising for someone to work in her office, specifying “knowledge of mid- and late-90s indie music beneficial”. This might seem to discriminate against those with the wrong tastes in music, were it not for the promise that those unfamiliar with this genre will get “full training on this subject”.

I do not want to get anyone into trouble, but when I rang Ms Creasy’s office yesterday I found myself talking to someone who knew less about 90s indie music than I do – a low hurdle indeed. Her excuse was that she has not been working there long, and was born in 1994. She added that her employer’s CD collection was “massive”. I understand that in Ms Creasy’s view, the greatest contribution to British music in the 90s came from a band called The Wedding Present.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
King Abdullah made Saudi Arabia prosperous but had absolute disregard for what liberal Westerners would view as basic human rights  

The media cannot ignore tricky questions when someone dies - but it must stick to the facts

Will Gore
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us