8 longlisted candidates were interviewed by the party to establish who would be shortlisted for the upcoming Manchester central selection.
There have been suggestions that popular local councillor Afzal Khan was “missing” from the shortlist – but I’m told Khan didn’t put his name forward for the seat. I’ve also been reassured by some of those close to the process that every effort has been made to ensure that members have a genuine choice of strong local candidates (something which has not always been the case in past selections).
However the proof of whether or not the party is changing the way it goes about selections will only be seen when strong shortlists for all selections are seen as the norm. It will be a real test for General Secretary Iain McNicol to ensure that such a step change in selection procedures takes place.
The four candidates shortlisted are:
Mike Amesbury – born in Wythenshawe in South Manchester and a Labour Party member since the 80s. Active UNISON member. Has worked as a careers adviser and party staff member including North West Regional Organiser. Currently full-time Executive Member for Culture & Leisure on Manchester City Council. Lives with his wife and young son.
Rosa Battle – involved with politics from a young age, Battle is the daughter of Manchester City Council’s deputy leader Jim Battle (and niece of former Leeds MP John Battle). She is councillor for the Bradford ward and assistant executive for the Culture & Leisure portfolio, supporting fellow Manchester Central candidate Mike Amesbury, who is the executive member – the portfolio includes youth provision and Rosa tends to take the lead on youth issues. Rose lives with her wife and baby son.
Lucy Powell – born and raised in Manchester attending a local Comprehensive School, Powell joined the Labour Party at 15. Lucy went on to work as Director of Britain in Europe before working for NESTA to establish the Manchester Innovation Fund and was the Labour candidate for Manchester Withington in 2010 where Labour increased its vote by 3000. After the election Lucy was appointed Campaign Manager for Ed Miliband’s Leadership Campaign and after his victory became acting Chief of Staff and now Deputy Chief of Staff. Lucy is married to James and has 2 children. And she’s the frontrunner.
Patrick Vernon – lived in the Hulme area of Manchester during 1980s whilst studying for a law degree. After leaving Manchester Metropolitan University he volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureaux servicing before moving back to Wolverhampton where he was born. Chief Executive of the Afiya Trust (one of the leading race equality health charities in the country), Patrick has previously worked Manager for Citizens Advice Bureau; as a senior civil servant at the Department of Health and at the Local Government Association; Director of the Brent Health Action Zone (Brent Primary Care Trust),and Regional Director for MIND. Patrick is former Non Executive Director of Camidoc (GP out of hour’s service in North London) and a trustee for Social Action for Health in East London. Vernon is also a Councillor in Hackney where he has chaired Health Scrutiny and Public Health Peer Reviewer.
The selection takes place on April 16th