Doncaster Central’s next Labour candidate – runners and riders

Katie Neame

Update, July 2nd: Doncaster Central Constituency Labour Party (CLP) secretary Sally Jameson has been selected as the Labour candidate for Doncaster Central.

Update, June 19th: The shortlist has now been released. The candidates included are: university lecturer Steven Clapcote, North Herts Council leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, local councillor Gemma Cobby, Doncaster Central CLP secretary Sally Jameson and local councillor Majid Khan.

Doncaster Central will be an interesting contest at the next general election. The seat has been held by Labour’s Rosie Winterton since 1997, but the deputy speaker of the House of Commons announced in February that she will not be standing for re-election. Having held the seat by more than 10,000 votes in both 2015 and 2017, Winterton’s majority narrowed to 2,278 in 2019, suggesting her successor may face a closer race than has historically been expected in the constituency.

Doncaster Central is one of a first tranche of seats in which the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) has been allowed by the central party to get started with its selection process early. The longlist of candidates has now been released, and shortlisting is scheduled to take place on June 18th.

The candidates who have made it on to the longlist include Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, the current leader of North Herts Council. She announced she was standing to be Labour’s candidate in Doncaster Central in a social media post last week and has shared a link to her campaign website. Though a councillor in North Hertfordshire, Dennis-Harburg grew up in Doncaster and said in her announcement tweet: “Doncaster is my home, I’ve moved but never left.”

Steven Clapcote is also on the longlist. He is a lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Leeds who stood unsuccessfully in the Leeds City Council election in May 2022. He twice unsuccessfully stood as Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Shipley, in 2015 and 2017.

Clapcote is joined on the list by Gemma Cobby, a councillor on Doncaster Council representing Doncaster Town ward. Cobby announced she had made the longlist in a tweet, in which she said she was “incredibly proud” to have made Doncaster her home for the past eight years. She is currently a trade union organiser for the National Education Union.

Fellow Doncaster councillor Majid Khan made the longlist. He announced his candidacy with a video on social media and shared a link to his campaign website. He has served as a councillor for eight years, representing the ward of Bessacarr. Khan is the founder of a local foodbank and is involved in various charities, in sectors including international healthcare and alcohol and substance abuse. He previously stood unsuccessfully as the Labour parliamentary candidate in Brigg and Goole in 2019.

Doncaster Central CLP secretary Sally Jameson launched her campaign with a video posted on Twitter and shared a link to her website. Jameson is a prison officer at a local prison and a shop steward and branch chair of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) union. She was born and raised in Doncaster and has served as an agent in both parliamentary and local elections.

Greenwich and Woolwich CLP women’s officer Juemin Xu is also standing. She is currently running for election to Labour’s national policy forum and is the founder of Think and Decide, a startup company specialised in decision-making sciences. Musawwar Alam, also on the shortlist, is a councillor representing East Ham South ward on Newham Council who recently completed Labour’s future candidates programme.

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