Exclusive: Labour’s shortlist for Stoke

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Labour members will tonight choose from three councillors and a member of the party policy forum when they select their candidate for the Stoke by-election.

The shortlist features a doctor in accident and emergency and a former member of staff to Tristram Hunt, the outgoing MP, LabourList understands.

Officials from Labour’s ruling national executive committee whittled down the longlist of 11 yesterday. It is thought that 41 people applied initially for the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat.

A spokesman for the party declined to comment today.

The by-election – triggered by the resignation of Hunt to take up the director’s role at the Victoria and Albert Museum -will take place on February 23, the same day as the Copeland vote.

The party has gone for a quick selection in the Potteries in the hope of fending off a challenge from UKIP, whose leader, Paul Nuttall, will stand.

Allison Gardner, councillor in in Newcastle-under-Lyme and chair of the local constituency Labour Party.

Dr Stephen Hitchin, doctor and Chesterfield councillor.

Trudie McGuinness, Staffordshire activist and GMB and ATL member who sits on Labour’s national policy forum.

Gareth Snell, former leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme council who still serves on the council.

**10am update – Dr Hitchin has withdrawn his application in order to concentrate on medicine and his family. Full story to follow**

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