Labour responds to shock Galloway by-election victory with new action plan on candidates

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: George Galloway George Galloway

The Labour Party is to run a special programme in Bradford to find future election candidates after an internal inquiry following its shock Bradford West by-election defeat last year.

A panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee has concluded its review and developed an action plan to try to avoid a repeat of the result, which saw Respect’s George Galloway take the seat with a 10,000 majority.

The unsuccessful Labour candidate was Councillor Imran Hussain, who is the deputy leader of Bradford Council.

The review says Labour needs to: l find new ways to engage with the communities they seek to serve; l break down any barriers to getting involved in the party people may face; l and engage better with underrepresented groups, including by faith, gender and age.

As a result, women and youth forums will be established and there will be changes to Labour’s local government party structure.

But first the party believes one of the keys to its future success will be having a wider spectrum of people standing as candidates, so it is to run a Future Candidates Programme in Bradford this year for the next round of local elections in 2014.

Shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan, who led the investigation after the Bradford West by-election and recommended the programme, said: “Bradford Labour has many hugely talented members who have fantastic community spirit.

“But for many the idea of standing to be a councillor has either not occurred to them or they haven't felt they've had the knowledge to make it happen.

“This scheme is about opening those doors. We're a Party determined to learn the lessons of 2012’s elections.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “The Labour Party’s Bradford Future Candidates Programme will be a unique opportunity for bright, passionate, energetic, capable people.”

And Labour group leader, Councillor David Green, who is also leader of Bradford Council, added: “The training provided will help build the Party in the district and ensure that we are better equipped to fight what will be some extremely tough elections in 2014 and beyond.”

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