Seven politicians have made it through to the latest stage of selection to replace Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman as the Labour candidate at the next General Election.
Mr Sheerman, 81, will step down after four decades as the town’s MP and the process has started to find his successor.
The seven candidates on the so-called ‘long list’ have been confirmed as: Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor, council Cabinet members Naheed Mather and Mus Khan, former Ashbrow councillor Harpreet Uppal, commercial lawyer Hugh Goulbourne, James Flinders, a Huddersfield-born former York councillor, and Mark Morris, secretary of Huddersfield Constituency Labour Party.
One candidate who didn’t make the final seven was Huddersfield Labour party official and newly-elected Dalton councillor Tyler Hawkins.
In two weeks’ time the ‘long list’ will become a three or four-person shortlist. The shortlist will be decided by the selection procedures committee after local party branches have voted for their preferred candidate.
The final candidate, who will contest the seat at the next General Election, will be decided in mid-July.
Huddersfield Hub previously published statements from Clr Pandor, Ms Uppal and Mr Goulbourne. Read them in the link below.
Now statements have been issued by Clr Mather, who represents Dalton and is Cabinet member for the environment, Mr Flinders and Mr Morris.
Clr Mather (pictured below) said: “The people of Huddersfield deserve an MP who understands and cares about the issues more pertinent to them, that can represent their views and interests on a national stage and who can bring about real and positive change in their lives – I believe that person is me.
“As a working mother, daughter and carer who has lived here for 30 years, I relate to the everyday challenges faced by the people of Huddersfield, including the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, severe underfunding of public services and lack of investment in our town’s infrastructure, following more than a decade of damaging Conservative policies.
“My skills, knowledge and experience working and volunteering for community and governmental organisations differentiate me from other candidates. I am confident I can voice the views and the needs of the residents of Huddersfield in Parliament.
“Huddersfield is my home; it is the town I chose to raise and educate my family. I am proud of the town we live in but can also see its potential.
“I want to help generate more jobs and opportunities for residents and make Huddersfield a greener, more sustainable place for future generations.”
Huddersfield-born Mr Flinders (above), a councillor in York between 2015 and 2019, grew up in Skelmanthorpe, attending Skelmanthorpe First and Nursery School, Scissett Middle School, Shelley High School and Greenhead College.
He works in Leeds and lives in York but told Huddersfield Hub: “I look forward to moving back to Huddersfield if selected.”
In his statement he said: “Huddersfield is the town I was born in, where I grew up, and the place I will always be proud to call home.
“The people of Huddersfield need an MP who will listen to them, campaign for them, and work to get a better deal for our town.
“As a project manager, I lead the design and construction of part of the TransPennine route upgrade, which will reduce journey times from Huddersfield and upgrade Huddersfield station.
“I’m used to leading large teams and making tough decisions about how to spend hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money efficiently.
“I’m an experienced political campaigner, having been one of York’s hardest-working city councillors – campaigning on behalf of local residents and businesses.
“I’m one of Labour’s most active campaigners in Yorkshire, with extensive experience of leading winning election campaigns. I am the strong, local campaigner that Huddersfield needs.”
The theme of Mr Morris’ campaign is: “Bringing Huddersfield’s communities together.”
In a statement he said: “I’m from Huddersfield and an ordinary working-class family. I’ve spent 30 years working for the local authority as an electrician. I completed my City & Guilds apprenticeship in the 1990s.
“Since then, I’ve worked in every postcode area of my hometown. I became a Kirklees fire safety officer three years ago and now conduct inspections in schools, tower blocks and care homes across the Kirklees borough.
“I am on the long list and want to become the next MP for Huddersfield. To help this happen, I am delighted to say that I am endorsed by three of the country’s biggest trade unions. The Communication Workers Union (CWU), the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) and Unite the Union.
“I have been involved in trade union activity for over 10 years and I previously led the Kirklees branch of Unite.
“As a convenor, I have represented members across the West Yorkshire area in everything from recruitment to retirement.
“My campaign is based on three core pillars and they are: Improving the physical and mental health services available to our area’s residents; Increasing the number of houses in the area, not just affordable homes; we also need more social housing; and I also want to create the right environment to ensure our young people can achieve their full potential and deliver a brighter future.”
The seventh candidate Mus Khan is understood to be away and has not supplied a statement.
Main image of Lockwood Viaduct by: SEAN DOYLE