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AFTER SION SIMON - ERDINGTON RUNNERS AND RIDERS

04-02-2010

Sion Simon MP

Sion Simon’s surprise decision to stand down as Erdington MP opens up an intriguing race to replace him as Labour candidate at the next election. Runners and riders include a local councilor who previously missed out in controversial circumstances, a top union official and – surprise packet, this – a telly historian.

The party’s NEC will first have to decide whether to open an all-women shortlist – the odds on this are reckoned to be about 50/50.

Labour are desperately keen to have more women MP’s, and Erdington – their safest in Birmingham with a 9,000 plus majority – would be a natural choice.

But the party is also keen to broaden the ethnic spread of its representation, and as the two most recent constituency selections (Ladywood and Yardley) were restricted to females, maybe it’s time to allow a few blokes to stand.

Assuming this to be the case, here’s The Stirrer’s strictly unofficial guide to potential runners and riders - recognising that others may yet emerge.

YVONNE MOSQUITO
Birmingham councilor who missed out on the Ladywood constituency to Shabana Mahmood in highly controversial circumstances. Her stoiscism and loyalty to the party have been impressive – Mosquito has never blabbed, and defied predictions that she would jump ship to the Lib Dems. Party officials may feel they “owe her one”.

ODDS: Evens

ANSAR ALI KHAN
Senior Birmingham councilor. Now a magistrate, but once exposed by the Sunday Mercury for appearing in a video calling for volunteers to shed their blood for Kashmir. Given that blot on his copybook, his selection might be a gift for rival parties in a constituency with a strong white working class vote.

ODDS: 5/1

NEENA GILL
Former West Midlands MEP desposed in the last Euro elections. Capable, and likely to have support as a safe, middle of the road choice.

Odds 2/1

GERARD COYNE
Regional secretary of trade union Unite, and a strong voice for manufacturing. Previously served for seven years as Labour councillor in Longbridge. Chaired economic development and regeneration committees, sits on AWM board, and would be a strong contender if he decides to go for it.

ODDS: Evens

TRISTRAM HUNT
The dark horse. Best known as a TV historian, but has a solid background of party involvement, and previously worked at Labour HQ. Failed to win selection in West Derby in Liverpool, but will surely gain a safe seat somewhere. Maybe not Erdington, though.

ODDS 3/1

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