Update, August 6th: Deputy leader of Bassetlaw council Jo White has been selected as the Labour candidate for Bassetlaw.
There continues to be considerable debate over which specific constituencies make up the ‘Red Wall’ – but Bassetlaw seems a pretty clear-cut case. The seat voted strongly for Brexit in the 2016 referendum. It was held by Labour from 1935 until 2019, before being lost to Conservative Brendan Clarke-Smith in a swing of almost 19,000 votes. The constituency had been represented by Labour’s John Mann – now Lord Mann, a non-affiliated member of the House of Lords – for 18 years, but he chose not to contest the 2019 election, stepping down to take up a role as the government’s independent adviser on antisemitism.
Bassetlaw was announced as one of a second tranche of 21 seats in which the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) was allowed by the central party to get started on its selection process early. A shortlist for the constituency’s next parliamentary candidate has now been finalised and hustings are scheduled for August 6th – after which local members will vote for who they want to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate.
Neeraj Patil has made it on to the shortlist. Patil was mayor of Lambeth from 2010 to 2011 and served as a councillor in the borough for seven years. He contested Putney constituency at the 2017 election, coming second to the Tory candidate by 1,554 votes. He has served on the BAME Labour executive committee and is currently standing for election as a local party rep on Labour’s ruling national executive committee. Outside of politics, Patil has worked as a doctor in the NHS for 27 years.
The second name on the list is Jo White. White is deputy leader of Bassetlaw council. She has served on the council for ten years, nine of which she has spent as cabinet member for regeneration. During her time on the council, White has helped secure funding for a new education hub and led campaigns to save the local A&E, maternity ward, ambulance stations and fire service. She is the wife of former MP John Mann and worked as his office manager between 2003 and 2019.