The process to select the next Labour candidate in Birmingham Northfield is underway (again). Northfield was one of a second tranche of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) that the central party allowed to get started on its selection processes early. But the process in Northfield was postponed over the summer in part due to regional office capacity, a local Labour source told LabourList.
The constituency is currently represented by Tory Gary Sambrook, who was elected for the first time in 2019 with a slim majority of 1,640. He took the seat from long-standing Labour MP Richard Burden, who had represented Northfield since 1992.
Though Burden held the seat for 27 years, his later majorities were not overwhelming: he won by 4,667 votes in 2017 and fewer than 3,000 votes in 2010 and 2015. His immediate predecessor was also a Tory, Roger King, who was twice elected to represent the seat. Given this mixed recent electoral history, Northfield will certainly be one to watch at the next election. Here’s our rundown of the candidates who have put themselves forward to contest the seat:
Alex Aitken confirmed that he was standing back in June. Aitken is a councillor on Birmingham City Council, having first been elected to represent King’s Norton North ward in 2018. He was born and raised in Northfield and co-founded the Northfield Food Service during the pandemic, a local free hot food delivery service. Aitken has so far received the backing of UNISON and former MP Richard Burden.
Lucy Caldicott announced she was putting herself forward last week. Caldicott was previously a councillor on Lambeth council, representing Stockwell ward and holding the position of cabinet lead on health and adult social care. She ran as the Labour candidate for Dudley South in 2019, coming in second behind the Tory candidate. She currently serves as co-vice-chair of the Fabian Women’s Network. Outside of politics, she is the founder and director of social justice consultancy ChangeOut. Caldicott has received support from Shadow International Development Secretary Preet Gill and the Labour Campaign for International Development.
Deputy leader of Birmingham City Council Brigid Jones has also thrown her hat in the ring. Jones has been a councillor in Birmingham since 2011, representing Bournbrook and Selly Park ward, and previously served as cabinet member for children’s services. She holds the role of portfolio lead for ‘levelling up’ on the West Midlands Combined Authority. Jones previously worked for the University of Birmingham.
Tom McNeil confirmed in late May that he was standing. McNeil is the assistant police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands. He was previously involved in the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, first as director of the Human Rights Act campaign and more recently as a non-executive director. McNeil has twice stood as the Labour candidate in Meriden, in 2015 and 2017, coming second to the Tory candidate on both occasions. Outside of politics, he previously worked as a charity lawyer. He has also received support from Shadow International Development Secretary Preet Gill, as well as from shadow policing minister Sarah Jones.