It was only yesterday that Bradford West MP Masha Singh announced that he was stepping down due to ill health, but the party has wasted no time in beginning the selection process for the seat. The timetable is truncated with nominations closing on Monday and the selection meeting taking place next weekend.
The by-election date is likely to be announced soon, but the two most likely dates being mooted at present are March 29th and April 5th.
As for candidates who might enter the selection race for Labour, there are already some candidates being hotly tipped – and others who might be expected to enter the race in the coming days. As always, this isn’t an exhaustive list, so if you know anyone else who is standing, please email us (email@example.com). The candidates we’re hearing most widely discussed at present are (in alphabetical order):
Update: We’re now hearing that Manchester Councillor Afzal Khan is a potential candidate for the seat. We’ve added a profile of him below.
Update: College lecturer Duncan Hall has also thrown his hat into the ring. We’ve added a profile of him below.
Update: Two more names in the mix – Rupa Huq and Fadel Takrouri – profiles added below.
Ralph Berry- A long-serving local councillor in the neighbouring Bradford South constituency, Berry has considerable experience in local government. He went to university in Bradford, and is currently the lead member for Education on the council. He lived for 6 years in Manningham, and was election agent, Ward secretary and Bradford West Treasurer. He has close family links to the area, and his wife Cllr Gill Thornton was born in Manningham.
Duncan Hall – A college lecturer, freelance writer and semi-professional musician, Hall is the author of A Pleasant Change from Politics: Music and the British Labour Movement Between the Wars, and Vice Chair of Skipton and Ripon Labour Party
Andy Hull – Islington Councillor Andy Hull is another potential candidate for the seat. Hull has won national plaudits for his role as co-chair of the Islington Fairness Commission, a ground-breaking initiative which sought to identify ways that a local authority could lessen inequality. This model has now been adopted by other major cities and recently earned Hull the LGiU ‘Scrutineer of the Year’ award. Hull has local links too (always important in any selection like this), having gone to school in the constituency.
Rupa Huq- Former Ealing Deputy Mayoress Dr Rupa Huq is so far the first female candidate we’ve heard associated with the selection. Huq is a lecturer at Kingston University and has plenty of electoral experience, having been a candidate in the 2004 European Parliamentary elections and the PPC for Chesham and Amersham in 2005.
Imran Hussain – Cllr Imran Hussain represents Toller Ward in Bradford West and is Deputy Leader of Bradford Council. Imran was born, raised and has lived in Bradford West all his life. For the last 10 years he has been Chair of Bradford West Constituency Party and joined the Labour Party at 17. He qualified as a barrister at the Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn, London and, from 2003, worked mainly as a criminal defence lawyer. Imran also played a key role in ensuring that the English Defence League demonstration in Bradford in August 2010 was contained and ran a high visibility public campaign against the EDL. Imran is supported by all 12 of his Cllr colleagues in Bradford West.
Afzal Khan – Born in poverty in Pakistan, Khan was brought to the UK aged 12, leaving school without qualifications and working in a cotton mill, then later as a police constable, before returning to education and qualifying as a solicitor. Afzal entered party politics in 2000, becoming Manchester’s youngest, and first Asian, Lord Mayor in 2005. Khan is an active member of GMB and Unite; has also run campaigns with Unison and Usdaw, particularly on anti-racism work, and was awarded a CBE in 2008 for services to community and interfaith relations and to local government. He was mooted as a potential by-election candidate in Oldham 15 months ago.
Fadel Takrouri – Of Palestinian origin, Takrouri’s career started in Nuclear Physics. In the mid 1990s he moved from Physics to Business; delivering health services to more than 60,000 people. He’s worked extensively with social enterprises that have a focus on community cohesion and economic regeneration – currently he serves as a director of a housing association and is the Chairman of the British Arab Federation of the West Midlands.
We’ll be adding more potential candidates as we hear about them