At its selection committee meeting on Thursday 30 June, Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party (CLP) produced a shortlist of four members, one of whom will go on to be Labour candidate at the next General Election.
The four are all home-grown, unlike the former Stockton MP Paul Williams who was selected for the 2021 by-election from a one-man shortlist – only to suffer defeat at the hands of the Tories. The new incumbent MP, Tory Jill Mortimer, is even less local, formerly a small time farmer and part-time bed and breakfast host on the south side of the North Yorks Moors, a world away from Hartlepool’s entrenched poverty and post- industrial blight.
The next step is a hustings meeting on 16 July where CLP members will pick a candidate from the four hopefuls.
Who will be selected for Hartlepool?
So who has a chance of standing against Mortimer who is known more for her local absence than anything else?
A possible front-runner is teacher Jonathan Brash. Hartlepool is his home town. He is a local councillor and Deputy Leader of the council’s Labour Group. His wife Pam Hargreaves is also a councillor.
Brash has the backing of several unions: GMB, USDAW, Community, Unison and the Fire Brigades Union. He has been nominated by the Cooperative Party.
Brash has been elected as councillor five times, but that means he has a history in Hartlepool’s turbulent politics. During a battle with the Akers-Belcher leadership some years ago Brash sat as Independent Labour.
For the record Brash was expelled from the Labour Group for refusing to vote to ban public questions.
He returned as soon as the rules would allow and the local party passed a vote of no confidence in the Akers-Belcher group, forcing them out.
Rachel Creevy is another councillor in the running. She has lived in the town for 18 years. She has taken on the Labour Group’s recent effort to get to the bottom of the crustacean deaths along the North East coast. At the last local election in May she saw off competition from Anne Marie Waters, the founder and führer of the extreme right For Britain Movement.
A new councillor who has thrown her hat in the ring is Melanie Morley. Cllr Morley only won her seat in May. She is a legal aid solicitor and Partner in her law firm.
The final contender is Omide Deinali, a digital forensic analyst. He works in Hartlepool and is a parish councillor in nearby Easington where he is also the CLP BAME Officer.
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