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Over a dozen senior Labour Party and union sources and a member of the Shadow Cabinet have confirmed to me that former Chair of the PLP and Greater Manchester Police Commissioner Tony Lloyd is running for the Labour Party selection in Rochdale. The seat is open due to current MP Simon Danczuk being banned by the Labour Party from standing as a Labour candidate.
I’ve contacted Mr Lloyd for a comment but I haven’t been able to get in touch with him so far.
A senior Labour source said, “Tony is going for it and intends to win”.
The other main contender is Jeremy Corbyn’s Political Secretary Katy Clark, the former MP for North Ayrshire and Arran. Last week she pulled out of the selection for Leigh at the last minute as she was walking into her interview after it became clear she did not have the support of the NEC panel.
I understand that the NEC panel is likely to be much more favourable to Clark this time around and she stands a strong chance of winning.
However there is a real risk that a non-local candidate could lose the seat if Simon Danczuk runs as an independent. I was a Labour Party Organiser in the North West at the 2010 General Election and worked with Simon. The seat is the type of place that cares whether there is a local candidate or not and very traditional liberal with a small L. From personal experience the seat will be challenging.
According to another leading local Labour source, “Local candidate matters a lot there. Whatever you think of Simon, he's very well known and strongly associated with area”. The source added, “Strong feeling in Rochdale that a Leaders Office parachute could lose the seat against Simon. That's actually a big risk for leaders office as it would all be blamed on them”.
The Labour NEC is meeting tomorrow afternoon to confirm the candidates list and rubber stamp the decision to ban Mr Danczuk from standing as a Labour candidate.
Sources on the NEC tell me the list will go through as expected. I will run the list with an analysis when I get it.