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Labour Party urged to name candidate for Brent Central ‘sooner rather than later’

17:10 05 September 2012

Sarah Teather says Brent residents are her first priority

Sarah Teather says Brent residents are her first priority

Archant

Call comes after current MP, Lib Dem Sarah Teather, announces plans to return to consituency work.

A top Labour blogger has urged his party to make Brent Central one of the first seats in the country to have a parliamentary candidate in place for the next General Election.

Mark Ferguson, editor of LabourList, the UK’s most prominent blog on Labour Party issues, told the Times that he hoped Brent Central would be one of the first in the country to have a parliamentary candidate so they could go toe-to-toe with the incumbent MP, Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather.

Mr Ferguson was speaking in the wake of Ms Teather losing her role as minister for children and families. She subsequently released a statement saying her ‘number one priority’ was her constituents.

It has been widely speculated that Ms Teather will now focus her attention on winning back voters following a damaging period for her as part of the coalition government.

According to a report by a Sunday newspaper, Lib Dem membership in Brent plummeted 42 per cent in the last 12 months up to June this year.

Mr Ferguson said: “For me it is always a good idea to select a candidate earlier rather than later and I would hope that it (Brent Central) would be one of the earliest selected seats.

“Having said that, considering the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote nationally and in Brent during the London Mayoral Elections, any strong Labour candidate stands a very good chance of winning.”

Ms Teather won the seat in 2010 with an 11 per cent swing from Labour in a tussle with Dawn Butler - former MP for the now defunct Brent South seat.

The Lib Dem won acclaim for her role in the local community and became renowned as one of the best MPs for constituency work.

However, since the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservatives, Ms Teather has been attacked for her record, which includes voting through a motion to raise the UK’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000-per-year - despite previously campaigning to abolish all tuition fees.

Back in 2004, while Labour was in power, Ms Teather voted against a motion to introduce top-up university fees of up to £3,000-per-year and also voted for a Liberal Democrat motion which called for the immediate abolition of all tuition fees.

Mr Ferguson said: “I am not in the habit of telling local Labour Party members what is right for them. What I do know is that a strong candidate who can identify with Brent people can do very well.

“What Brent needs is someone who is going to stand up for them and stick to their principles. My hope is that Sarah will be facing an identifiable Labour candidate sooner rather than later.

“Any seat in London that has previously been held (by Labour) and no longer is will take a huge amount of work (to win back). If the Labour Party cannot take this seat off Sarah Teather after the things she voted for, then we wont win the next election.”

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