Updated: Leigh runners and riders: Former PPCs battle ex-Burnham aide

A councillor and former aide to Andy Burnham, as well as a prominent equality campaigner, are among the activists battling it out to succeed the ex-health secretary in the Labour stronghold of Leigh.

Jo Platt, Burnham’s agent at the last general election, is the early favourite for the seat, where Labour won a 14,096 majority at the general election.

Interviews are taking place this week for the much prized north-west constituency, where the Tories came a poor second two years ago.

Burnham is standing down to contest the Manchester mayoralty, for which he is the overwhelming favourite.

Among the activists thought to be competing to win the Labour nomination are:

Emily Brothers

The former Sutton and Cheam PPC grew up in Merseyside before going on to hold senior positions at the Disability Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She was the first blind woman to stand for parliament and Labour’s first transgender parliamentary candidate.

Katy Clark

The former North Ayrshire and Arran MP lost her seat to the SNP in 2015 but went on to take up a role as political secretary to Jeremy Corbyn. She is thought to have the backing of Unite.

James Frith

The former Bury North PPC serves on Labour’s national policy forum and runs a social enterprise. He is a member of the Communication Workers Union and the GMB.

Jo Platt

The Wigan councillor is secretary of Leigh constituency Labour Party (CLP) and is seen as the strong favourite. Earlier this week Burnham wrote to Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, to make the case for Platt as a local candidate with a “track record of delivering improvements to services in our borough”.

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