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Labour novice's candidacy 'a last minute decision'

Published date: 16 November 2012 | Published by: Phil Turner

Sarah Champion campaigning with Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey

LABOUR candidate Sarah Champion may only have decided to run for the nomination until a week ago, it is understood.

Ms Champion, who is believed to have joined the party about two years ago, scraped home 13 votes to 11 against rival Sophy Gardner on Tuesday night after a mass walkout at Labour’s selection meeting in protest at no local candidate being put forward.

Cllr Mahroof Hussain was widely expected to be a contender but was not on the shortlist imposed by the national Labour Party.

Of the 130 Labour Party members who attended the selection meeting, more than 100 walked out, while 24 stayed for the vote, with one spoiling their ballot paper.

Cllr Hussain, who walked out himself, said: “I’m bitterly disappointed not to have been given the chance to put my case to party members about why I wanted to be the MP for Rotherham.

“As a lifelong Rotherham lad, it would be an honour to represent the people of Rotherham, especially as my dad worked in a local steelworks for 30 years. I love Rotherham and the people of Rotherham.

“But the party has picked a candidate and I think the important thing now is to keep Rotherham Labour.”

LABOUR PARTY SELECTION ROW:  Full report in tomorrow's Advertiser.

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