There will need to be a big ring for all the hats that are being thrown into the contest to succeed Sir Gerald Kaufman as Labour MP for Manchester Gorton.
Already, a cast of hopefuls that would not disgrace a Cecil B DeMille epic are ‘letting it be known’ they are challenging for the seat, following Sir Gerald’s funeral in Leeds on Tuesday.
There is talk, however, that some candidates have been actively ‘working’ the seat in recent months while Kaufman was ailing. Alas, such tasteless behaviour is becoming par for the course with Labour selection processes.
Of the serious candidates, much attention will be paid to Afzal Khan, an MEP for the North West and former Manchester Lord Mayor. It is not clear at this stage, however, if Labour’s National Executive would agree to him quitting Brussels to contest the seat.
The concern will be that it sets a precedent that might see other MEPs abandon their roles early in order to run for parliamentary selection processes ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU in 2019.
Other names in the frame include local councillors Julie Reid, Rabnawaz Akbar and Amina Lone, as well as Luthfer Rahman, the executive member for culture and leisure.
Earlier this week, the Huffington Post speculated that a pro-Corbyn hopeful, Sam Wheeler, a member of Momentum’s steering committee, is being pushed by the leadership. Although growing up in the Longsight area of the constituency, he is not well known to local members Uncut has spoken to.
A strong challenge will come from local councillor, Mike Amesbury. A well-liked figure in Labour politics, he is a former adviser to Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary and currently works for Andy Burnham on his campaign to become Manchester’s first metro mayor in May.
He came runner-up to Lucy Powell in the Manchester Central selection in 2012.
Nominations open next Monday and it’s expected that the by-election will be held on May 4 to coincide with the metro mayoral and county council elections.
With a 24,079 majority, the end result in Manchester Gorton shouldn’t give Jeremy Corbyn any sleepless nights.