North East councillor wins selection battle for heartland Labour seat

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Labour officials have chosen a Gateshead councillor as the parliamentary candidate in one of the party’s safest seats in the country.

Liz Twist beat a packed field in Blaydon including Mark Ferguson, a Unison official, and Mary Foy, a member of Labour’s national policy forum.

Twist is a councillor for the Ryton Crookhill and Stella area of Gateshead and had not been regarded as the favourite in the run-up to today’s decision,under Labour’s “exceptional selections procedure”, which has been brought in for the snap general election.

Ferguson, the former editor of LabourList, who later served as campaign manager on Liz Kendall’s leadership campaign, had been tipped by some as the likely choice because of his roots in Blaydon.

The ex-journalist was magnanimous in defeat today, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations to Liz Twist on her selection. She’ll be a strong candidate and MP for Blaydon”.

Dave Anderson, the shadow Scottish secretary, is retiring at the general election. He notched up a majority of 14,227 in 2015, pushing UKIP into a distant second place.

The announcement of the selection came as Unite activist and Labour councillor Laura Pidcock was chosen for North West Durham, where Pat Glass is standing down.

 

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