Mayor to stake MP claim for Hastings?

Mayor Kim Forward and Amber Rudd MP with Parkwood students, including Asma Alazaibi front left
Mayor Kim Forward and Amber Rudd MP with Parkwood students, including Asma Alazaibi front left

THE mayor of Hastings could be set to challenge Amber Rudd to become the town’s next MP.

Cllr Kim Forward appeared alongside Ms Rudd at an International Women’s Day event at Parkwood Sixth Form on Friday, March 11, where they appealed for more women to get involved in politics.

It was announced last month that the Labour Party will be choosing their candidate for the next General Election from an all women’s shortlist - and Cllr Forward refused to be drawn on whether she would be throwing her hat into the ring. But tellingly perhaps she did not rule herself out of the running, insisting instead that: “Any speculation is premature.”

The Observer also approached the two other female Labour councillors, deputy leader Cllr Jay Kramer and Hollington member Cllr Emily Westley, to see if they would be interested in replacing Michael Foster. Cllr Kramer also refused to comment, while Cllr Westley said she would not be standing this time because of the impact the job would have on her family life.

“This does not however rule out the possibility in the future,” she said.

The Labour Party is not expected to begin the shortlist selection process until after the local elections in Rother which take place in the first week of May. The next General Election will not take place until 2015, but the Labour candidate will start holding Ms Rudd to account as soon as she is in place.

Speaking at last Friday’s event, Ms Rudd bemoaned the fact that only 22 per cent of the UK’s MPs are women, and only seven of the 32 local councillors (four Conservative and three Labour). She said: “I would like to encourage all of you, particularly the women to consider getting involved in politics. Women often think politics is nothing to do with me, but we not properly represented locally or nationally. Our voices, our views, our priorities are not heard as loudly as they should be.”

--The event was organised by 16-year-old Asma Alazaibi, who gave a moving speech about the plight of her family in Libya and called on the international community to act. “I do not think politicians have really grasped what is happening in Libya,” she said. “Hundreds of people have been killed - when will the penny drop?”

She agreed with the need for more women to get involved in politics at all levels.

“Women need to stand up and fight for their rights,” she said.