Update, November 14th: The shortlist to be the next Labour candidate for Sheffield Central is: Sheffield City councillor Jayne Dunn, comedian Eddie Izzard, dentist and public health consultant Rizwana Lala and Sheffield City councillor Abtisam Mohamed.
The hustings meeting is scheduled for December 4th.
Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central since 2010, announced back in February that he will be standing down at the next general election. A considerable number of candidates have expressed an interest in succeeding him – hardly surprising given how safe a seat Sheffield Central is for Labour, with Blomfield’s majority exceeding 27,000 votes at the last two elections.
His predecessor in the role was Labour’s Richard Caborn who won the seat at six successive elections. It is highly likely, then, that the candidate eventually selected by members of the local Labour Party will go on to represent the seat in parliament. LabourList understands a longlist of six candidates has been drawn up. Here’s our rundown of those standing:
Jayne Dunn has announced that she is running. Dunn has been a councillor on Sheffield City Council since 2012 and currently represents Southey ward. She has previously served as council lead for both housing and education. Dunn has lived in the constituency for more than 35 years and runs her own salon business there. She currently serves as women’s officer of Walkley Branch Labour Party. Her endorsements include the GMB, ASLEF and UNISON.
Mike Buckley announced in early October that he was putting himself forward. He lives in the constituency and currently serves as Sheffield Central Constituency Labour Party (CLP) campaign coordinator. He is director of the Independent Commission on UK-EU Relations, an organisation which works to resolve problems created by Brexit. Buckley worked for a decade as an aid worker for several charities. He has since worked on various political campaigns, including Andy Burnham’s 2015 leadership campaign and the campaign for a living wage. His endorsements include the Musicians’ Union, SERA and Labour for a European Future.
Comedian Eddie Izzard confirmed that she is standing in a video posted on social media. She began her comedy career during her time as a student at the University of Sheffield. Izzard stood unsuccessfully for election to Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) in 2017 but ended up serving on the NEC for a short period following Christine Shawcroft’s resignation. She has run 131 marathons for charity, helping to raise more than £4m. She has been endorsed by the Musicians’ Union (and by actor Russell Crowe).
Rizwana Lala is also in the running. She is a dentist and public health consultant. She lives in the constituency and previously worked as a clinical lecturer in dental public health at the University of Sheffield. She has also served as the public health lead for climate and sustainability at NHS Greater Manchester integrated care. She is a member of Medact Sheffield, a campaign group made up of health workers and students.
Paul Mason announced last week that he is standing for selection. Mason is a journalist and activist who has worked for BBC Newsnight and Channel 4 News and currently writes for the New Statesman and the New European. He studied at the University of Sheffield. Recently, he has been prominent in the Ukraine Solidarity campaign and travelled to Kyiv in February with representatives of ASLEF, the NUM, Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour to support Ukraine’s trade unions and human rights activists.
Abtisam Mohamed launched her campaign with a video on social media. She has served as a councillor on Sheffield City Council since 2016, representing Firth Park ward. She was previously the council’s lead for education. She first qualified as a teacher and then trained as a lawyer. In 2014, she founded her own law practice to provide legal advice and representation to vulnerable people in Sheffield. Mohamed moved to Sheffield from Yemen as a small child. Her endorsements include Unite and former Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and now peer David Blunkett.