Local councillor Rachel Hopkins selected in Luton South

Elliot Chappell

Rachel Hopkins, considered to be on the left of the Labour Party, has been selected to replace Gavin Shuker as the parliamentary candidate in Luton South.

Hopkins was not selected not by a vote of the local membership, but was instead picked directly by a selection panel.

The panel was made up of two Labour national executive committee (NEC) members, the chair of the regional board and the local party secretary.

Born and raised in Luton, Hopkins has been a councillor in the area since 2011, and currently holds the cabinet post of executive member for public health.

The successful applicant has been described by the local party chair as both “Left” and “Leave“. An estimated 54.6% of voters in the constituency voted Leave in 2016.

The new candidate for Luton South is the daughter of suspended neighbouring MP Kelvin Hopkins, who has confirmed this week that he will be retiring. Applications opened in that seat on Thursday.

Hopkins will run as Labour’s candidate against Gavin Shuker, currently representing the seat as an Independent MP, the Brexit Party’s Gary Warren. The Lib Dems have reportedly decided not to put up a challenger.

Labour won the seat comfortably in 2017 with a majority of 13,925 – up from 5,711 in 2015. Shuker has represented Luton South since 2010, before quitting the Labour Party earlier this year to form The Independent Group.

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