Labour selects former retail worker and City Councillor as candidate for Carlisle

23rd September, 2012 7:19 pm

Lee Sherriff has today been selected as Labour’s candidate for Carlisle. Local party members chose the former retail worker, City Councillor for Harraby ward and mum of three as their candidate this afternoon at a hustings meeting in the city centre.

Speaking after the announcement, Sherriff said:

“I’m honoured to have been chosen by Labour Party members to be their candidate at the next General Election. I’ve lived in Carlisle since childhood. It’s my home and I would never have considered standing anywhere else. Across Carlisle thousands of families are struggling because of the decisions made by this Tory-led government. Their economic policies have been disaster for this city. They have shown that they have the wrong priorities.”

“An average family in Carlisle will be over £500 worse off this year because of their tax changes and long term youth unemployment has soared. At the same time, this government has prioritised a tax cut for millionaires. Between now and the next general election I will be campaigning hard to hold our Tory MP to account for the wrong decisions his party are making.”

Congratulations to Lee, and commiserations to the other shortlisted candidates.



  • Brumanuensis

    The very best of luck to her. Carlisle is a must win and a tricky one even with the planned boundary changes having been stopped.

    • Renie Anjeh

      It isn’t a tricky one. The Tories have a majority of 853 and the boundary changes have been stopped. If we don’t take then we’re (as Andrew Mitchell would say) “fucked”.

      • Brumanuensis

        Yes, but part of the reason that the Tories won at all was that the proportion of the seat represented by Carlisle proper is diminishing and its rural ‘hinterland’ is increasing in importance. So it’s by no means a simple task, although as I said it’s a must win.

  • Michael Merrick

    Lee is a great candidate. She could probably have won without the gender discrimination that polluted the selection process. 

  • Robbie Scott

    ‘local mum’ not at all patronising. I’m sure that didn’t form the substance of her campaign.

  • dave stone

    Congratulations to Lee. Great to see a fellow athlete and person with life experience winning the candidacy.

  • NT86

    Congrats and all the very best in 2015! Carlisle holds a very special place in my heart, as I was born there :) Wonderful city and would be great to see a Labour MP representing it once more. It’s quite the epitome of a marginal with much of Labour’s support in the city and Tory voters in the more suburban and rural parts.  

  • Jim Crowder

    Good to have someone who not only knows where Carlisle is on the map, but actually has lived there for sufficient time to be able to represent the people.

  • James Jacobs

    Home affairs select committee with a name like that :)

  • ColinAdkins

    She seems like a great candidate.

    Whilst I am not a supporter of the leadership parachuting individuals into seats and manipulating processes in doing so, I am also against this belief that being local should be the determining consideration.

    Luckily I do not aspire to be a MP. But if I did because my Dad was in the forces I was born in Germany, then moved to Canterbury, Wembley (in 1966!), Edgeware, Germany, Northern Ireland, Tidworth, Merton and Morden in succession. I then went to university in Colchester/Wivenhoe. Returning to Balham, Harlesden, Willesden and Streatham. Through romance I now live in Wrexham. Where could I be a local candidate?

    Or put another way in my work I represent teachers but have never taught. Or campaigned against apartheid South Africa but I had never been to the country. I used to say to people who made this point against me that I also haven’t been to the North pole but I know it is cold!

    Whilst being local is an obvious consideration a more important one is would they be a ‘good’ MP which I would like to believe is why Lee got the nod. 

  • Brumanuensis

    I’m glad to see you’ve got rid of the patronising ‘Labour selects local mum as candidate’ headline, even if it’s still in the URL.

    • Hugh

      Why is it patronising? It’s a genuine question: I can’t see there’s anything less demanding about raising children than working in retailing and (despite what @Robbie Scott says) it seems just as likely to form part of the basis of her appeal and campaign.

      • Brumanuensis

        First, because it plays into the gloopy stereotype that ‘being a mum is the hardest job in the world’ – last seen in the nauseating P&G Olympic advert – as if there was some sort of higher wisdom or moral superiority with being a ‘mum’. Indeed, an implication hangs around the phrase, which insinuates that non-mothers are somewhat lacking for not having squeezed a child or two out of their birth-canal at some point in their lives. Frankly, if someone came and made a pitch that included words to the effect ‘I’m worth voting for because I happen to take care of my children’, I’d close the door firmly in their face. 

        It would be marginally less grating if this was applied more equally but despite, so far as I can tell, both having children, neither Janos Toth’s selection for Cannock Chase, nor Andy Sawford’s for Corby, were greeted with the headline ‘local dad selected as candidate for Cannock Chase/Carlisle’. I know, in fairness to Mark Ferguson, that he’s going on how Carlisle CLP described Ms Sheriff, in which case shame on Carlisle CLP for using this crypto-sexist language. 

        To answer any question along those lines: yes, I’m very fond of my mother. This isn’t a personal thing.

        • Renie Anjeh

          Local mum is not patronising. She is a full-time mum and I am sure that most local full-time mums are proud of it and do not see it as sexist at all. It is PC to a ridiculous height to suggest that it is at all sexist.

          • Brumanuensis

            ‘PC? Don’t tell Andrew Mitchell, for god’s sake.

            Renie, if she’s a councillor then by definition she’s not a ‘full-time mum’. And what is sexist is sticking it up as a headline when the equivalent would never be done for a male politician.

          • Renie Anjeh

            She is. You can have a full-time job but in addition to it be a councillor. The idea that saying she is a mum, which she is, is somehow sexist is wrong. As I said, many women are proud of being full-time mums and it should be praised not disregarded. The reason why a male politician would not recieve that headline is because it is very uncommon for men to take time out work to be full-time dads and that is not sexist but an undeniable fact.

          • Brumanuensis

            Well, no Renie you can’t. The fact she isn’t a full-time mother isn’t a reflection on her parenting abilities, but as someone with a full-time job – i.e. a city councillor – she by definition isn’t a full-time parent. 

            You’ve missed the point of my post. I wasn’t saying referring to her being a mother was sexist. It was using it as her lead attribute, in a way which would never be the case for a man. And your point about the lack of men taking time out of work to that effect just illustrates the sexism yet pervasive in modern society.

          • Daniel Filson

            When did being a city councillor become a full-time job? It is not and should not be. I don’t want a whole class of professional politicians at local level as well as MPs. Sure, the Leader of the Council won’t have time for another job, but that should not apply for other roles on the city council.

          • Brumanuensis

            Well I would expect a councillor to devote most of their time to their job. In any case, regardless of whether they do so, being a councillor precludes being a full-time mother, as Renie was arguing.

        • Brumanuensis

          As a follow-up, it’s not the fact that they’ve mentioned her motherhood that annoys me. If it had been mentioned as part of her biography – i.e. ‘Ms Sheriff is also a mother to three children’ – then fair does. It’s putting it right at the top as if the single most important aspect of her life is that she has children, something that I doubt we’d do for a male candidate, that annoys me. And the word ‘mum’ is just puerile, especially its proliferation in political rhetoric in the phrase ‘mums and dads’, with their ‘kids’. Try ‘mothers and fathers’ and ‘children’, which sounds less infantile.

        • Hugh

          ” crypto-sexist language”? Er, she is a mum. Since being made redundant I assume it’s what occupies much of her time, and while being a mother isn’t morally superior, it’s not inferior either.

          Frankly if someone made a pitch that they’re worth voting for because they once worked in retail I’m not sure I’d be won over either. However, we seem to think “real world” experience is important, and I’m not sure why experience of raising kids is less useful or worth highlighting than any other. There are, I suspect, a fair few parents in target seats.

          Finally, I’m not entirely sure that if a single, unemployed father had been selected the headline wouldn’t be “local dad…”

          • Brumanuensis

            “Since being made redundant I assume it’s what occupies much of her time, and while being a mother isn’t morally superior, it’s not inferior either”.

            She has a job; she’s a councillor. I think that’s of more salience to her future role as an MP and certainly a better thing to stick on the headline than the fact she’s a mother. I’ll start believing this isn’t an example of everday sexism, when announcements of the selection of similarly-qualified male candidates are greeted with the headline ‘local dad…’.

          • Hugh

             “She has a job; she’s a councillor”

            Well I understand why they didn’t want to lead with that.

          • Brumanuensis

            How extraordinarily droll.

          • Hugh

             Apologies I couldn’t live up to the high standards set by your PC pun.

          • Brumanuensis

            Well, I am a humourless feminist I suppose.

  • Dave Postles

    Congratulations and good luck on both a personal and political level.

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