Big shoes to fill

The snap dissolution of Parliament will have led to frantic scenes in consistency offices up and down the country. On both sides of the House, there are a number of high-profile MPs who have decided not to contest the next election leaving a number of seats up for grabs. Simon Pugh gives a flavour of the sorts of battles that are underway as ambitious politicos scramble to get plumb positions.

Hartlepool

Mr Wright has been an MP since 2004 having won the seat of Hartlepool in a by-election following Peter Mandelson’s appointment to the European Commission. By no means safe, Mr Wright only had a 3,000 majority over UKIP. But crucially he necessarily vacates the role of Chair of the influential Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. With the Industrial Strategy only in its embryonic stage and some punchy energy reforms being mooted in the Tory manifesto, the next Parliament will be important for this Committee.

Select Committees are allocated in proportion to seats held in the House so, should the Labour vote go the way the polls predict, it may be that this Committee chairmanship is handed to the Conservatives. Of the current membership Anna Turley, who has been heavily involved in discussions over steel closures, could be a possible chair if Labour keep it but she has a fight to hold her Redcar seat. On the Tory side, Richard Fuller in Bedford had a strong career in business consultancy prior to being elected but has a slim majority, albeit over Labour.

Liverpool Walton

The safe Labour seat is currently occupied by Steve Rotherham, who beat Joe Anderson to be the candidate for Mayor of Liverpool City Region. Should Rotherham be elected on 4 May (which is highly likely) then he will stand down from the Commons and Joe Anderson has said that he will seek nomination for the seat, which is in the hands of Labour’s National Executive Committee. Anderson has said he will remain in the role of Liverpool City Mayor.

Hull West & Hessle

Veteran Labour MP, Alan Johnson, has vacated the Hull seat, opening speculation that David Prescott, son of John, will seek the Labour nomination. Prescott Jr is close to Corbyn having worked as a speech writer but Guido reports that Darren Hale and Joe Riches are two other Cobynistas in the running for the seat.  Both Guido and a number of other publications have said that Prescott Jr is a hard man to contact at the moment.

Tatton

Perhaps three is not a magic number because the former Chancellor, George Osborne has decided that Editor at the Evening Standard and a senior advisor to Blackrock is more than enough jobs for one man. He vacates the safe Conservative seat of Tatton. ConHome had the exclusive that Esther McEvey has made the shortlist. McVey served for one term as MP for Wirral West before losing the seat to Labour’s Margaret Greenwood by a mere 417 votes in 2015. Katherine Fletcher, the Interim Strategy Lead of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, and Cllr Alex Williams, Deputy Leader of Trafford Council, make up the three-person shortlist.

Aldershot

A battle is brewing in Hampshire after Sir Gerald Howarth’s decision to retire. The local association is reported to want MEP, Dan Hannan, on the list but this has not been agreed by CCHQ.  Hannan knows the area as he currently represents South-East England in the European Parliament. The decision will be a battle between the local association and CCHQ and, inevitably, May’s top team who will not view Hannan favourably.