By Mark Hilditch
THE Labour Party has begun the process of selecting a new candidate to fight for Crewe and Nantwich at the next general election.
Following a trouncing by the Tories at the high profile by-election in May, the group is looking for the right person to snatch back the seat with three candidates in the race so far.
Usdaw’s political officer and former agent to the late Gwyneth Dunwoody, David Williams, will fight it out with borough councillor Steve Conquest and former Congleton constituency hopeful Gary Poole.
Williams was first to enter the fray.
He said: “As an award winning trade union campaigner from the shopfloor of Bentley's, I have the local knowledge and national experience to be a first class representative.”
Mr Williams was shortlisted in the selection for Labour's candidate for the by-election, narrowly losing out when he came second to Gwyneth Dunwoody’s daughter Tamsin.
She has now decided not to seek selection in Crewe and Nantwich and is supporting Mr Williams' bid.
She said: “I have known David for over 20 years, since he first came to help my mother in the 1987 General Election as a young trade union activist from Bentley.
“He went on to be my mothers' agent at the next election and I know she always rated David very highly.
He added: “I know Crewe and Nantwich very well - I was raised and educated just up the road in Middlewich.
“I have spent half my working life in Crewe at Rolls-Royce, Crewe Bus Station and in Gwyneth's Constituency Office.
Gary Poole was born in Nantwich and formerly lived in Crewe's west end, when he worked at the CWS Tea & Coffee Centre on Weston Road before it's closure.
Since that time he has been a member of the Prison Service and has served at HMP Manchester, Risley, Wandsworth and Holloway; he is currently Head of Drug Strategy for the service in London.
Mr Poole said "As a truly local candidate I can bring a unique understanding to the issues facing hard working local families.
“I am someone who was born here, someone who has lived, worked and played here and I have even been unemployed in Crewe, so I have a real understanding of the current anxieties facing working people.
“As someone who has worked in some of Britain's toughest prisons I also have real experience of how crime affects the community and I pledge to be a true champion to all those whose lives are blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour.
“No one can feel more honour at the prospect of representing this constituency in Parliament and because of this I will work tirelessly to show local people that I am on their side".
Crewe and Nantwich Borough Councillor Steve Conquest stressed his local experience in announcing his bid for the role.
"In declaring my candidacy for the selection of Parliamentary candidate for Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party, I offer experience, energy and the commitment of a local candidate who lives in the constituency.
"Knowing what's needed and reconnecting, truly reconnecting, with the people of Crewe and Nantwich will see us return a Labour MP for this constituency.
"I believe that this will only be possible with the commitment that comes from a local candidate who is determined to succeed.
"I intend to run a positive campaign that highlights all the investment in health, education and welfare provision that has come from a Labour government to the constituency of Crewe and Nantwich.
"However I also believe that we can do better, we must do better and we will do better for the people of Crewe and Nantwich and that is why I am standing for this selection. The process to select the party candidate will conclude on Friday October 17 with a meeting of all local members.