John O’Farrell selected as Labour’s candidate for Eastleigh

12th February, 2013 8:43 pm

Author and Broadcaster John O’Farrell was selected tonight as Labour’s candidate for the Eastleigh by-election by local members. Here’s a brief biography of John – who we’ll hopefully be catching up with properly on the campaign trail:

UnknownJohn O’Farrell is an author and broadcaster – best known in Labour circles for his book “Things can only get better”. He grew up in Maidenhead, where he stood as Labour’s candidate in the 2001 General Election (which was the subject of the BBC documentary Losing My Maidenhead). O’Farrell has also published four novels, and was a writer on both Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You, as well as being a former columnist for both The Independent and The Guardian. 

Congratulations to John, and commiserations to the other shortlisted candidates. The by-election is on February 28th.

Update: And here’s the obligatory photo of the new candidate with local activists:

John o'Farrell

  • Sheila

    Best possible candidate. Well done, Eastleigh CLP. Go for it, John!

  • Sheila

    Wonderful news! Eastleigh can only get better.

  • Gabrielle

    Well done and good luck John!

  • NT86

    His name was on everyone’s lips since the weekend. It’s good that Labour can go into this by election with someone that’s certainly not your average candidate.

    John’s challenge is to unite the broad left wing vote as much as possible here. Assuming that most of it is with the Lib Dems, that’s his main priority as well as appealing to the non-voters/politically apathetic in Eastleigh.

  • Judy Dickinson

    If only he talks his own talk and abandons awful Labour-speak

    • Hilaryanne

      Judging by the e-mail I’ve just had asking for help and money,
      supposedly from him, he is sadly already writing in Labour-speak……..Mistake.

  • JC

    Does he know where Eastleigh is yet? What about the locals who, so far, have not been “professional politicians”. Who does he plan to represent, the Labour Party or the people of Eastleigh?

    Judge a man not by his words, but his actions.

  • Pingback: Eastleigh: enter John O’Farrell « Liberal Sell Out()

  • Terry Crow

    OUR LABOUR CANDIDATE FOR THE EASTLEIGH BY ELECTION, 28TH FEBRUARY 2013 – JOHN O’FARRELL by Terry Crow, Eastleigh LP member at the hustings.

    There were 47 members of Eastleigh Labour Party in attendance at the hustings last night (12/2) to select our candidate from 3 contenders, namely John O’Farrell, Darren Paffey, and Sarah Rabbitts.

    5 questions were asked of the candidates after each gave a 5 minute introductory blurb, and ending with 5 minute closing addresses.

    The ballot paper allowed for 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences. John won on the first ballot.

    Since John was selected, worth mentioning a bit more about him that’s notable: he opposed the war in Iraq, he said he may not always be ‘on message’ (which gets a big ‘like’ from me), and albeit he could well have afforded his children going private when those around him were taking flight from a new academy school in London, his children stayed on (and did well).

    In his own words as to ‘why he should be the candidate’ I felt he was moving into comedy sketch territory writing “….I would also like to speak out in defence of all politicians – it is an honorable trade pursued by mostly hard-working honest people…”. I must admit I nearly choked when I read this. I thought it must be satire, and he was testing our sense of humour. However, in conversation with John afterwards it turns out he is serious – I suggested the public perception against this idea approximates to 100%.

    John is offering the voters of Eastleigh a two year trial (special offer, not to be missed!). Because of media attention (minor celeb status – my words) he hopes to attract extra support from around the country and I’m sure this will be the case.

    He wants to show that the Labour Party “…is a force for good”.

    John writes “We need to keep repeating the point that voting LibDem and voting Conservative are the same thing. Eastleigh voted LibDem tactically to keep the Conservatives out. Instead the Liberals put Cameron in power.”

    Absolutely write – vote Lib Dem, get a Tory.

    Vote Labour and get John O’Farrell, who I am sure will do the right thing by the people of Eastleigh.

  • treborc

    Interesting lets hope he does as he said in his book and not waste another five years

  • David Lindsay

    It is very high time for an erstwhile contributor to Grumpy Old Men to become a Member of the House of Commons. That is exactly what this country needs at the moment.

    Good luck, then, to John O’Farrell at Eastleigh. Which of the Grumpy Old Men ought to join him on the green benches, for where, and why?

  • Brumanuensis

    Nothing against John O’Farrell, but a slightly strange choice. I presume this is because Eastleigh CLP is so desperately weak that they had to get someone from the outside – but in that case, why not Southampton?

    On a semi-related note, I received a newsletter from Ladywood Labour announcing a re-launch next week; might go along to the event. I was a bit surprised they illustrated it with a graphic of a space shuttle, which considering its track record and the fact it’s now been cancelled seems a rather risky analogy to draw.

  • AndyJS


    According to a Labour member on the VoteUK discussion forum, Richard Butler has been selected as Labour candidate for the Hertsmere constituency:


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