Local Labour activists in Heywood and Middleton are unhappy about the selection process to find a replacement for the late Jim Dobbin. Just a few days ago the Manchester Evening News named Richard Scorer, a local lawyer who has represented Rochdale child abuse victims, as the front runner. Voters seemed set to forgive Scorer’s employers Slater & Gordon for having the most annoying advert ever, and were ready to make him their next MP.
Yet for some reason Scorer’s name didn’t make the shortlist for tonight’s hustings. LabourList reports that “party members have apparently raised concerns about the lack of “local” candidates on the list, despite several local councillors putting their names forward”. Instead members will have to choose between a trade union crony from Essex, two councillors from elsewhere in the North West and Miriam O’Reilly, who according to the Mail is “poised to ride to Ed Miliband’s rescue”. O’Reilly was the Countryfile presenter who sued the BBC for age discrimination and now serves on Harriet Harman’s commission investigating discrimination against older women. Amusingly, when O’Reilly tried to get selected in Nuneaton last year she lost, to a 22-year old. At the time Miriam promised “I’m moving to the area, whether I’m selected or not”. Born in Ireland and raised in Birmingham, she instead decided to move to Wales.
Will the people of Heywood and Middleton spot the second choice carpetbagger at the selection tonight?