Chelsea and Fulham
Matt Uberoi, a Hammersmith and Fulham councillor, was selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate on July 9th. In response to the result, Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter tweeted describing him as: “One of the most hardworking, compassionate and able people I have met.” The incumbent Tory, Greg Hands, has a majority of 8,188.
As a corporate broker intern in 2009, Uberoi was once jailed for insider trading. He once wrote in a blogpost: “I witnessed some very dark things. And the entire experience had a profound and lasting effect on me.” He added: “I didn’t join Labour for redemption. I joined… because I want to change our world.”
Unite member David Stokes was selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Bournemouth West on June 22nd. Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, sent out a tweet of congratulations to Stokes, saying she looked forward to campaigning with him in “sunny Bournemouth West”. The party veteran, who has contested seats in Bournemouth five times since 2001, will need an 8.75% Labour swing to win the seat in this Conservative stronghold.
Although Labour has never won Bournemouth West, Stokes reduced the incumbent Conor Burns’ majority to 7,711 in the 2017 general election, landing the constituency on the party’s target seat list. Burns, a longtime ally of Boris Johnson, was the subject of an internal party investigation over alleged racist remarks he made about travellers in a letter to a local paper last October.
Clare Pavitt, a trade unionist with nearly two decades of local government experience, was selected as Labour’s candidate for Kettering in April. Pavitt was congratulated on Twitter by local Corby councillor and teacher Matt Reay. “You will be an asset to the people of Kettering and I can’t wait to support you however I can,” Reay tweeted.
Pavitt, who was endorsed by the GMB, will face incumbent Philip Hollobone. The Tory MP has represented Kettering since 2005, when he edged out former Labour MP Phil Sawford in a closely contested race. In 2017, Labour candidate Mick Scrimshaw lost by a significant margin, gaining 18,054 votes to Hollobone’s 28,616 on a 2.6% swing to Labour.
Kerena Marchant, a journalist, TV producer and disability rights activist, was selected as Labour’s candidate for Basingstoke on March 31st. She was featured in a Labour Voices video produced by the late Simon Baker, which focused on how the price of austerity has been paid by the most vulnerable members of society. “Austerity has ripped everything from us. We have suffered in silence, but no longer,” Marchant said.
The incumbent Maria Miller, who was forced to resign as Culture Secretary in 2014 after an expenses scandal, holds a majority of 9,466 in this traditionally Conservative safe seat. Marchant, who is deaf and a parent of a child with special educational needs, has campaigned against cuts to public services, arguing that “politicians have blood on their hands”. Her opponent Miller served as minister for disabled people from 2010-2012 during the height of the coalition government’s austerity programme.
Marchant has endorsed Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s economic programmes, but stopped short of using the language of systemic change. In a recent Facebook post Merchant said that she supports “sustainable capitalism”, but acknowledged “the need for some de-growth so that growth meets need and the needs of the people and the planet can be met without detriment to either”.
Penny Richards was announced as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Chelmsford on April 1st. Chris Vince, a maths teacher who stood as Labour’s candidate for the seat in 2015 and 2017, offered his congratulations to Richards. “I know she will build on the work that Chelmsford Labour Party has done to increase Labour vote and take the fight to the Tories,” Vince tweeted. “She will be an excellent MP.”
As Chelmford’s PPC, Vince helped Labour nearly triple its vote share locally, but Richards will face an uphill battle in this Tory heartland seat. Richards, who unsuccessfully stood for Chelmsford City Council in May 2019, will have to overcome incumbent Vicky Ford’s majority of 13,572. But the Brexit Party could change the dynamics of the seat if it chooses to stand a candidate, as it won over 40% of votes cast in the European elections.
Penny Grennan, an educator, artist and musician, was selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hexham on March 28th. In a Facebook post following the result, Grennan’s victory was celebrated by Momentum Tyne and Wear, which said: “Congratulations to our excellent comrade in Northumberland.” Grennan’s campaign was endorsed by the FBU and shadow minister for Labour, Laura Pidcock. Guy Opperman, the incumbent Tory MP, has a majority of 9,236.
The longtime community activist and secretary of the Hexham Labour branch has advocated for numerous causes including food poverty, fair trade, a real living wage and climate change. Championing a grassroots approach, Grennan has called for “local solutions to global issues” and recently held a public meeting in Hexham on the climate crisis alongside Labour for a Green New Deal.
Grennan is one of the 3.8 million women affected by the increase to the state pension age and has railed against inequalities in the pension system. Her opponent Opperman, who serves as pensions minister, has suggested that women over the age of 60 should return to work or take up apprenticeships in order to avoid financial hardship.