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Campaigner is Labour MP hopeful

SHORTLISTED: Patrick Vernon

A LEADING BLACK Hackney councillor is hoping to become a Labour MP in Manchester.

Patrick Vernon, who has been short-listed by the party, is one of the four people who will face a parliamentary candidate selection scheduled for Monday (April 16).

This follows the decision of current Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd to stand as the Labour candidate for the upcoming police and crime commissioner post.

“It will boost confidence in black people if I am selected,” said Vernon, who wants to stand in the by-election in the constituency, expected to take place on November 15.

He added: “I think I have the track record working in a grass roots community being a councillor, and I am recognised for the work I do nationally. It is about giving aspiration to young people living in Hulme and Moss Side looking for a role model.”

The other candidates are Rosa Battle, Mike Amesbury and Lucy Powell, Ed Miliband’s deputy chief of staff.

Some local party members have been pushing for a woman to be the candidate, a move which some black activists say is aimed at stopping Vernon from becoming the fifth African-Caribbean in the House of Commons.

Among Vernon’s supporters are Greater London Authority chair Jennette Arnold, Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott and Operation Black Vote’s director Simon Woolley, who is also a commissioner on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Woolley said: “This is great news. Patrick Vernon has shown himself to be a man of the people. He truly cares about social and racial justice, and in a multicultural dynamic city such as Manchester all these qualities should go down very well.”

Vernon has been picking up good support from Manchester central party members he has canvassed in the city.

He is a leading mental health campaigner who will be standing in a seat that includes Moss Side, which has one of the largest black populations in the city.

The Voice will be highlighting more candidates in the coming weeks in its Election Watch column.

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