Derby South Labour parliamentary candidate selection – runners and riders

Katie Neame
© DrimaFilm/

Update, October 12th: Derby council Labour group leader Baggy Shanker has been selected as the next Labour candidate for Derby South.

Update, October 3rd: LabourList understands that East Midlands national policy forum representative Nicolle Ndiweni and Derby council Labour group leader Baggy Shanker have been shortlisted to be the next Labour candidate for Derby South.

Update, September 22nd: Shortlisting in Derby South has been rescheduled to October 3rd, with hustings due to take place on October 12th.

Update, September 12th: The selection process in Derby South has been put on hold following the death of the Queen. Shortlisting had been due to take place today but has been postponed.

Update, September 6th: A longlist for Derby South has been confirmed. The candidates included are: NHS consultant and clinical director Rais Ahmed, Telford and Wrekin councillor Eileen Callear, East Midlands national policy forum representative Nicolle Ndiweni, Derby council Labour group leader Baggy Shanker and Derby councillor Joanna West.

The process to select the next Labour candidate for Derby South is expected to get underway on August 26th. Long-standing Labour MP Margaret Beckett announced in March that she would be standing down at the next election, having represented the constituency since 1983.

A relatively safe seat for Labour – Beckett has received majorities of at least 6,000 votes at every election since 2010 – there will be considerable pressure on the new candidate to replicate her electoral success. Here is our rundown of the candidates thought to be considering standing:

LabourList understands that Polly Billington is expected to stand. Billington is currently chief executive of UK100, a network of local leaders that develops and implements plans for the net-zero transition. She is also a councillor for De Beauvoir ward in Hackney, having first been elected in 2018. She was director of communications on Sadiq Khan’s selection campaign to be a London mayoral candidate in 2015. She also worked as a special adviser to Ed Miliband at the Cabinet Office and the Department of Energy and Climate Change between 2007 and 2010. Outside of politics, she was a BBC journalist for 15 years.

Hardyal Dhindsa told LabourList that he is “seriously considering” standing for selection, describing it as a “long-time ambition” to represent the constituency in which he lives and grew up. Dhindsa has been a councillor on Derby council for more than two decades and currently represents Normanton ward. He served as Derbyshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) between 2016 and 2021, having previously held the role of deputy PCC.

LabourList understands Alison Martin is expected to put herself forward. Martin has served on Derby council since 2012 and currently represents Darley ward. She stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Mid Derbyshire in 2017, coming second to the Tory candidate by 11,616 votes. Outside of politics, she was previously a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.

Nicolle Ndiweni is considering standing. She works as a business expansion specialist for Invest in Nottingham, a service for businesses interested in relocating to or expanding within Nottinghamshire. She was previously a councillor on Ashfield District Council from 2015 to 2019, representing Hucknall Central ward and serving as a cabinet member for safer and stronger communities. Ndiweni currently represents the East Midlands on Labour’s national policy forum and has represented women on Labour’s East Midlands regional executive board since 2018. She lives in Derby and is a former East Midlands European parliamentary candidate.

LabourList understands Baggy Shanker is expected to stand and that he has received the endorsement of incumbent MP Beckett. Shanker has served as Labour group leader on Derby council since 2020. He was first elected to represent Sinfin ward on the council in 2008 and served on the council cabinet from 2012 to 2018 covering several portfolios. Outside of politics, Shanker works as a project manager at Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace Division.

Joanna West confirmed to LabourList that she was considering putting herself forward for selection. West is a ward colleague of Shanker, having been elected to represent Sinfin ward on Derby council in 2015. She is women’s officer for Derby South Constituency Labour Party (CLP). West also serves as a trustee for Derby Museums, an independent charitable trust operating three museums in the city.

Cecile Wright told LabourList that she is planning to stand in Derby South. Wright is the Derby North CLP BAME officer and has stood for election to Derby City Council on several occasions. She has served as a CLP representative on Labour’s national constitutional committee for three years and is currently standing for re-election. She also currently serves on the Co-operative Party’s BAME Co-operators Council. Wright previously held the role of Momentum vice-chair. Outside of politics, she is a professor at the University of Nottingham’s School of Sociology and Social Policy.

This list will be updated as the situation develops. Email or DM me with tips.

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