The race to succeed the late Harry Harpham as MP for Brightside and Hillsborough has begun in earnest.
His widow, Gill Furniss, herself a respected local councillor in the constituency, has confirmed she is seeking the nomination and has already secured the support of a number of local councillors and officials.
She is also backed by Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield’s cabinet member for children’s services and the runner-up to Harpham in the previous selection contest.
Other declared contenders include former Hallam parliamentary candidate, Oliver Coppard and former aid worker, Mike Buckley, who came third in the race to succeed David Blunkett for the seat back in 2014.
Given Harpham’s near impregnable 13,807 majority last May, there are no shortage of other aspirant hat-tossers.
These include Chesterfield councillor and A&E doctor, Stephen Hitchen and former teenage parliamentary candidate, Solomon Curtis, who stood for Labour in the East Sussex Tory stronghold of Wealdon at the last general election.
However, there have been serious allegations that at least one hopeful was campaigning for the nomination while Harpham was still battling cancer. Even in the torrid world of Labour selections this is a new low.
Uncut also understands there are complaints about a Young Labour nomination for Coppard which has been referred to the party’s Yorkshire and Humber regional office. No vote of actual young members appears to have been taken.
Although a classic ‘safe’ Labour seat, UKIP has steadily made inroads into Labour’s share of the vote in the constituency in recent elections, coming second to Harpham in last year’s general election with nearly nine thousand votes.
There will be concerns that any attempt to take voters here for granted could backfire and make, what should be a relatively straight-forward by-election, more difficult than it needs to be.
Local party officials say they have been assured by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn there will be no attempt to parachute-in a leadership loyalist.
Harry Harpham was a popular and authentic choice to succeed Blunkett in this working class stronghold and the smart money is on Furniss to now succeed him.