LABOUR’S by election campaign got off to a chaotic start as more than half those attending a selection meeting walked out out in protest at their being no local candidate.
Around 80 members, including councillors, left a 100-strong meeting of Rotherham Labour Party before cancer charity chief Sarah Champion was chosen ahead of former RAF officer Sophy Gardner from a shortlist of two.
The protest was aimed at the national party for not including a local candidate on the shortlist — not at the successful candidate.
District councillor Mahroof Hussain had been the most favoured from the local Labour Party to be on the shortlist, but was not included.
One member, who left the meeting in disgust, said: “It was a shocking debacle.”
Leading figures in the Rotherham party later called on members to get behind
Sarah Champion and ensure Rotherham elected a Labour MP.
A Labour source said: “We understand the anger of some of the members last night, and they are entitled to their views. But it’s crucial that Rotherham has a clean break and it’s great that local members are rallying round Sarah Champion this morning.”
I'm proud to be Labour candidate says Sarah Champion.
Click here for video taken inside the meeting.