Three women in the running for Labour parliamentary bid

THE shortlist for Labour parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye has been announced, comprising three prominent local women.

The party will decide between Julie Eason, Kim Forward, and Sarah Owen, with the vote to conclude next Sunday (November 6), and the result to be announced early the following week.

Julie Eason is partnership and strategy manager for East Sussex Advice Plus, governor of Castledown Primary School, and community representative on the advisory body for St Leonards Academy. She is also a member of the Justice for All steering group, the East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and UNITE.

Kim Forward is mayor of Hastings and borough councillor for Gensing ward. She is the chair of governors at Filsham Valley community school, director of Southwater Area Community Centre, and NUT member. Sarah Owen has worked at Priory Meadow, the Conquest Hospital, the fire brigade, as well as at Brighton and Hove council.

She is currently an advisor to Lord Sugar, is working on Labour’s small business policy, and leads the local campaign against the NHS Reform Bill. The all-women shortlist is an instrument used by Labour to try to increase the number of women represented in the House of Commons. When there is a vacancy in certain seats, applications are only accepted from women.

MP for Hastings and Rye Amber Rudd urged the Labour party to open up the shortlist to men in the interest of fairness, but said: “All three are intelligent and interesting local women, and probably any of them would win against a field of men and women.”

The Labour candidate who went up against Amber Rudd in the 2010 general election, was Michael Foster.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner Nick Perry said: “The person that the Labour Party eventually selects will have a very hard act to follow.”