Jeremy Corbyn has handed the job of defending Labour’s seat in the Manchester by-election to former shadow cabinet minister Lisa Nandy.
The Labour leader named the Wigan MP, who stepped down as shadow energy secretary last year, as campaign manager for Manchester Gorton.
The window for applications to be Labour’s candidate closed last night with a local MEP and several Manchester councillors confirming they had entered the race.
The by-election, which was triggered by the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman, Father of the House, last month, is expected to return a Labour MP in what is seen as one of the safest seats in the country.
Kaufman posted majority of 24,079 at the general election.
Corbyn’s decision to appoint Nandy was reported by the Manchester Evening News and confirmed today by Labour sources. It appears to represent an olive branch after she resigned in the wake of the EU referendum in June last year. The former charity policy advisor rose to the shadow cabinet under the veteran socialist.
Nandy set out her stance today in an article published before her role in Manchester emerged.
“The views and values in those community-minded towns which prize stability and continuity, is increasingly divergent from that in the liberal, fast-paced, diverse cities,” she wrote in Prospect.
“This gulf was illustrated most starkly by the Brexit vote, but growing differences over immigration, climate change and LGBT rights are also apparent…
“It is why, from the avowed moderniser Liz Kendall to Clive Lewis on the left, there is now a shared passion for a new approach to the state—not the clunking fist, nor simply a safety net, but a smart state that intervenes early and often, walking alongside people as partners to enable them to change their own lives.”
The Copeland by-election, in which Labour relinquished a seat which it had held for more than 80 years, was run by shadow cabinet minister Andrew Gwynne, although the result was seen as a verdict on the party’s disputes at Westminster and the leadership’s previous criticism of nuclear power, which is a huge employer in west Cumbria, rather than the efforts of the Denton and Reddish MP.