Back to drawing board for election selection

Banbury CLP Chairman Henry Goodman
Banbury CLP Chairman Henry Goodman

Banbury’s Constituency Labour Party has been forced to delay the appointment of a parliamentary candidate for the next general election after two contenders dropped out of the selection process.

Hustings due to run on March 7-8 which would have seen the party select its candidate for Westminster at the 2015 general election had to be cancelled with just one candidate available for selection.

Three applicants were initially nominated by party branches and affiliates, but one had to withdraw due to work commitments before a shortlist of the remaining two candidates was drawn up.

However, Wolverhampton- based nominee Savita Sehdev also pulled out of the contest for personal reasons.

CLP chairman Henry Goodman said while it would have been possible to go ahead with the remaining candidate – Sean Woodcock of Banbury – it was felt party members should be offered a choice.

He said: “It’s a series of unfortunate events.

“We had a number of different applicants and for various different personal reasons they have had to drop out one by one. We felt that it would be unfair to members just to go ahead with the single remaining nominee as it’s for people to decide on the candidate they want.”

Mr Goodman added: “It would, in theory, have been possible to run with one and if time had been tight then we may well have decided to do that.”

Despite the setback Mr Goodman said the party is hopeful of building on its success of winning four Banbury seats at the 2013 Oxfordshire County Council elections.

He said: “We did seriously well in last year’s elections.

“Clearly Sir Tony Baldry is a very popular MP but we’re hoping to give him a run for his money in the General Election.”

Mr Goodman said the party also has high hopes for the Cherwell District Council elections in May, where a third of the Conservative-dominated council is up for re-election.

He added the Banbury Constituency Labour Party now hopes to have a parliamentary candidate in place by June and said the party will be looking to nominate a candidate the electorate “feels they can trust and someone people feel is going to represent them honestly”.

Applicants for the parliamentary candidature first fill in an application form which is then considered by party members before the selection committee draws up a shortlist.

Candidates then deliver presentations to CLP members and a vote is held by secret ballot before a parliamentary candidate is chosen.