With the first elections for the new role of Mayor of the East Midlands due to take place next May, the starting gun has sounded in the race to be the Labour Party candidate. With applications due in this week, four candidates are known to be in the running for the Labour nomination.
First off the blocks was Paddy Tipping, former Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and MP for Sherwood. Paddy’s was amongst the first name to be associated with the role when it was first announced, he is well known within the region and launched his campaign with a sleek video and website.
Next to announce was John Hess. Well known in the East Midlands as a former BBC regional politics reporter, but somewhat less well known within the Labour party. John’s candidacy is perhaps the most surprising, although sometimes those candidates not associated with particular factions or party history do well for those very reasons.
Mansfield-born Nottingham city councillor Adele Williams was next to declare, announcing she was standing in her hometown’s paper. Adele was previously deputy leader of Nottingham City Council, and has held key portfolios including finance, social care and transport. She represents Sherwood in Nottingham, where she’s heavily involved in the local community.
Claire Ward was last to announce her candidacy with a polished and clearly expensive video and website. Another former MP, Claire was the youngest female MP when she was elected to represent Watford in 1997. She represented the town until 2010 and served as a minister in Blair’s government. She is a non-executive director of Sherwood Forest Hospitals and lives in the region.
Interestingly, all four candidates live or work in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. No doubt people in Derby and Derbyshire will be keen to make sure the person they support has taken the time to really understand things from their point of view, so that all parts of the region covered by the role feel equally well represented.
Of course it’s likely there will be others who submit an application to be Labour’s candidate, but at the time of writing these four candidates are the only ones to have publicly declared their intention to stand. There are no rumours of other candidates, so anyone else applying will be a little slower off the blocks.
It is expected that once a shortlist has been drawn up, Labour Party members across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire will be balloted in the summer, with the result announced before the end of August.
The Conservative party have yet to publicly confirm the process for selecting their candidate, although they have stated they will be in place by the autumn. Nottinghamshire County Council leader and Mansfield MP Ben Bradley has long been the assumed Conservative candidate for the role, but this is to be confirmed
With the Conservative Party suffering heavy losses in the East Midlands in May’s local elections, the Labour Party is in a strong position as eyes start to turn to the mayoral contest. Whilst there are no guarantees, there’s a good chance that whoever the Labour Party selects will be the first Mayor of the East Midlands.
Since this blog was published, a fifth candidate has been included in local media reports as standing for mayor. Suqie Banwait is the only candidate from Derbyshire currently known. Suqie has twice stood for election in the region, standing unsuccessfully for Derbyshire Dales District Council this May and for Derbyshire County Council in 2021. She has worked across the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as in the NHS and as a magistrate. She is the only candidate not to have said anything publicly about her candidacy at the time of writing.
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