Thurrock PPC selected

3rd December, 2011 1:30 pm

Ed Miliband aide Polly Billington has today been selected as Labour’s candidate, for the marginal seat of Thurrock. The selection was not without controversy, although Billington is believed to have won the final vote of local party members comfortably (98 votes to 26), thanks to a sustained member contact drive. Speaking to LabourList after the selection, Billington said:

“I’m honoured to have been selected by the members of Thurrock Labour today. Thurrock Labour are a very wise and committed group of people who put Thurrock first. And that’s what I will be doing every day- putting Thurrock first.”

“Every time the local Tory MP votes for the government she votes against the people of Thurrock. Thurrock is really suffering from this Tory-led government, and we’re the ones who see the impact of a flatlining economy day in day out. It’s no wonder people fear for the future with a risk of recession and people losing their jobs. Thurrock needs to be at the heart of a strong economy and our community should be reaping the rewards of our hard work.”

“As the Labour candidate, I will be taking the fight to the Tories every day, starting from now. Taking the fight to the Tories on the economy on jobs, on housing and fighting to protect the services that we value such as the NHS.”

“I can’t wait to get started.”

Commiserations to the other shortlisted candidate, Ann-Marie Waters.

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  • Anon

    Another career politician. When will Labour learn. More real people will make politics more political and less managerial.

  • Daniel Speight

    The selection was not without controversy…

    Just so we don’t forget what the controversy was let’s look at a couple of quotes.

    Peter Watt, former secretary general of the Labour Party, also strongly condemned Billington’s candidacy and campaign in Thurrock, writing: ‘stitch-ups are the stuff of activist legend and fantasy. They contain all of the elements that excite: corrupted internal democracy, re-interpretation of rules, officious officials, favours being done for favoured sons and daughters and the rights of the local party being impinged. Lovely. Still, good to see that in Thurrock, at least, the new generation and Ed’s new politics have all come to nothing.’

    And from leftfutures.org

    Labour’s parliamentary selection process comes under the spotlight again as criticisms are made of the process in Thurrock, Essex. Sarah Mackinlay, the daughter of Andrew Mackinlay who lost the seat last year retired at the general election, has been kept off the shortlist of two but Polly Billington, a close aide to Ed Miliband, has made it. Although there is no evidence of any improper interference by Ed’s office or regional staff, there is undoubtedly resentment around. Not surprising since, so far, the process has given no role to any party member (let alone local trade unionist) who isn’t on the small selection committee (which can have no more than ten members). There is no nomination process and the only chance party members will get to influence the choice is, on 3 December, to choose between just two candidates who have been shortlisted, neither of them with any local connection.

  • Daniel Speight

    Mark do PPC posts require a different level of comment moderation than other posts?

  • Rachelstalker

    I’m making this comment as someone who made the shortlist in Harlow.

    The removal of the nomination stage worked to my advantage because it enabled me to make the shortlist as an “outsider” purely on the basis of a strong CV and interview performance.

    The 2 months’ leave that Ed Miliband granted Polly Billington is, however, a different matter. I took 8 days’ annual leave during the course of the month-long campaign: that was all the my privare sector employer would grant. The successful candidate was also holding a job down.

    Two months’ leave would have enabled me to run my campaign on a completely different scale altogether. So, if these are the kind of perks that party “insiders” routinely get then it’s no wonder the selection playing field is so uneven.

  • Anonymous

    My understanding that the decision to have such a small shortlist and the decision to draw up that particular shortlist was made by the local CLP. There were no national party people involved in the selection as far as I can tell.

    I’ve campaigned long and hard for transparency in selections – and will continue to – but there’s no conspiracy here I’m afraid.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with Mark that there was no conspiracy in Thurrock, but I don’t think it’s healthy not to have had a proper nomination stage nor for small selection committees to shortlist only two. And we’ll never have a fair selection process when it’s the insiders who get two months leave. It is the outsiders we should be helping!

  • Another parachuted in PPC.

    What she really meant to say was ‘I am very honoured to be selected as PPC due to my hard work under Ed M, now where is Thurrock?’

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