James Purnell of fake photo fame, and MP of neighbouring CLP Stalybridge and Hyde, has surprised and shocked many with his decision to stand down at the forthcoming general election.
From my own point of view I have mixed views on his announcement, whilst I didn’t like some of the things he did during his time as a minister, some of his recent comments including his speech last Monday and the associated launch of the essay collection ‘We mean power’, led you to think there was a glimmer of good things to come in the future.
Reaction elsewhere has been more mixed from the glad to see him go such as blogging councillor Bob Piper, to shock from nearby blogging Labour locals Adam White and Vicky Heywood to annoyance from Tom Harris MP and finally almost melancholy from Tom Watson MP
Most thoughts now turn to who comes next, which unfortunately due to the timing of Purnells’s announcement (if the process goes as per some of the guidelines I’m aware of) in terms of democracy within the local party, will see them having a limited say in the process of selecting there next candidate.
I expect there will be pressure from above for an all women shortlist given that the other two seats in the Tameside area have male candidates, which if they do could bring a surprise opportunity for daughter to follow father with Lord Pendry’s daughter still been a local in the area.
If instead it’s an open process I’m sure there will be much local interest with I imagine a number of the current Tameside Councillor’s looking to take over, including near neighbour (ward wise) and former vice chair of Labour Students Jonny Reynolds.