Labour shortlists two candidates to stand in Peterborough election

Lisa Forbes (left) and Samantha Hemraj
Lisa Forbes (left) and Samantha Hemraj
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Labour has narrowed down its choice of candidates to stand at the next election in Peterborough to two.

Former candidate Lisa Forbes, who is considered the front-runner, and current city councillor Samantha Hemraj, are the two people who have been shortlisted by the party.

Labour is using an all-woman shortlist to select its candidate as it prepares for a potential by-election in the city following the conviction of sitting MP Fiona Onasanya for perverting the course of justice.

Ms Onasanya, who was expelled by the party after being found guilty of lying about who was driving her car when it was caught speeding, is currently serving a three month prison sentence.

The now independent MP, who continues to receive a salary in excess of £77,000 a year, has appealed her conviction. Should that fail it would trigger a recall petition which if 10 per cent of her constituents signed within six weeks would result in a by-election.

Ms Forbes was selected via an all-woman shortlist to stand in the 2015 General Election where she was defeated by Conservative incumbent Stewart Jackson by 1,925 votes.

Mr Jackson was then defeated two years later by Ms Onasanya who was not selected via an all-woman shortlist, the party stated.

The selection process in 2017, though, was quicker than the normal process due to Theresa May calling a snap election.

Ms Forbes was a city councillor but announced in 2016 she would not seek re-election as she was juggling being a mum of four and membership secretary for Unite in Peterborough.

She did, though, target another go at standing in a Parliamentary election, but when it came to selecting the candidate in 2017 she declined to stand for the nomination as she was in the process of moving house.

She told the Peterborough Telegraph at the time: “I can’t cope with moving and fighting an election campaign which takes up all of your time. It was a heart-breaking decision, but I know there are plenty of good candidates that are just as likely to win.”

Cllr Hemraj was elected as member for East ward on Peterborough City Council in May 2018 and was made shadow cabinet member for public health.

She works for the NHS as a health care assistant and is a Unison activist.

The confirmed candidates so far are: Paul Bristow (Conservative), Beki Sellick (Liberal Democrat), John Whitby (UKIP), Joseph Wells (Green Party), Patrick O’Flynn (SDP) and Alan “Howling Laud” Hope (Monster Raving Loony Party).