New candidates declare for Gorton & seek Unite nomination

This article is one of a series as part of WriteYou's coverage of Manchester Gorton, you can see the coverage here. Help WriteYou grow by supporting our powerful platform for independent fearless non partisan journalism here.

I have been passed the list of the 7 candidates who are so far registered for tomorrow’s hustings at the North West Unite Political Committee in Salford. The list includes candidates who have yet to publicly declare. 

They are:

Manchester City Councillor Julie Reid

Manchester City Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar

Afzal Khan MEP

Momentum activist Sam Wheeler

Manchester City Councillor Yasmin Dar

Former NEC Member Mohammed Azam

There is another candidate who is considered not viable but have put their name forward, but I've decided not to include them.

I understand that Mike Amesbury chose not to seek the Unite nomination.

Sam Wheeler, the Momentum activist, is the clear favourite and will likely pick up the nomination.

So far Rabnawaz Akbar has refused to publicly confirm his candidacy. I’ve tried contacting Mr Akbar on multiple occasions and he has not replied. He told the Manchester Evening News that he was thinking about running, but stopped short of formally announcing.  So this is the first confirmation that I’ve had that Mr Akbar is indeed running for Gorton.

Mr Akbar and people associated with him have engaged in public & private attacks on this newspaper and me personally, making outrageous untrue allegations. Despite claims to the contrary, I’ve offered Mr Akbar the opportunity to write an article for WriteYou.  I’ve also tried to get his version of events many times and represent him fairly. However he seems to have developed an obsession with me, rather than be prepared to engage.

I’ve heard rumours that former NEC member Mohammed Azam was interested in the seat previously but never received any confirmation. I’ve tried to contact him but have not been successful. He was on the shortlist for the Oldham West and Royton by election. 

It appears Tony Lloyd, who was rumoured to be seeking the nomination, isn’t seeking Unite’s support. One local source says, “He wasn’t serious, just wanted to see how far he could get”.

The biggest shock on this list is that Councillor Luthfur Rahman isn’t seeking the Unite nomination or confirming that he is running. Mr Rahman has long been rumoured as a candidate for the seat.  One of my sources said, “I’m shocked. He must have bottled it and doesn’t want to lose to Afzal”.  Mr Rahman didn’t reply to my request for a comment. 

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