Thurrock has been represented in parliament by Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price since 2010. Doyle-Price was re-elected for a fourth time in 2019 with a majority of 11,482. The contest in the seat, however, has been far tighter in recent years than that one result would suggest. Doyle-Price’s majority in 2017 was 345, and when she first won the seat back in 2010, it was just 92.
Doyle-Price’s immediate predecessor was Labour’s Andrew Mackinlay, who represented Thurrock from 1992 to 2010. The constituency also returned a Labour MP for much of the latter half of the 20th century, making it unsurprising that both Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn identified the seat as a key target during their stints as Labour leader. A shortlist of four names has been drawn up in the process to decide who will contest Thurrock for Labour at the next election, and hustings are scheduled for October 29th. Here’s our round-up of the candidates in the running:
The first name on the list is Jen Craft. She was Margaret Hodge’s campaign manager in 2010, running the campaign to beat the British National Party (BNP) in Barking. She ran for election to Thurrock council in 2019, coming in second behind a candidate from a local party, the Thurrock Independents. Craft was born and grew up in the constituency and now lives there with her family. Her endorsements include the GMB, Usdaw and Community.
Jack Ferguson has been shortlisted. Ferguson was leader of the Labour group on Basildon council until he lost his seat to the Tories at this year’s local elections by 20 votes. He represented Pitsea North West ward on the council. He stood as the Labour candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock in 2019, coming in second behind the Conservative candidate.
Former leader of Thurrock council John Kent has also made the shortlist. Kent is a long-serving councillor on Thurrock council, representing Grays Thurrock ward. He led the council from 2010 to 2016 and currently serves as Labour group leader, a position he previously held between 2004 and 2017. He stood as the Labour candidate for Thurrock in 2017 and 2019, coming in second behind Doyle-Price on both occasions.
The final candidate is Miriam Rice, who is a councillor on Ealing council, representing Northolt Mandeville ward. Rice currently serves as the vice-chair of the London Co-operative Party. She has stood unsuccessfully for selection as Labour’s candidate in a number of other seats in this selection cycle, including Milton Keynes South and Southampton Itchen. She is also on the shortlist to be the candidate for Colchester.