Short queue of applicants looking to take on Clegg

Just twelve hopefuls applied to stand against Nick Clegg at the 2015 general election as Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Sheffield Hallam.

Party officials have whittled this down to a shortlist of four comprising of Mark Gill, Mark Russell, Oliver Coppard and Martin Mayer. All have local roots.

Gill is a pollster and a former Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI.

Russell is chief executive of the Church Army charity which is based in Sheffield.

Coppard is a former partnership manager for Barnsley Council and headed an innovative Olympics partnership between Barnsley and Newham.

Meanwhile Martin Mayer is a Unite branch secretary and a working bus driver from Sheffield. He is backed by shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.

The hustings takes place on June 24.

Clegg has a 15,284 majority, although the seat includes a high number of public sector managers and students from the city’s two universities and three teaching hospitals. In fact, it is said the Hallam constituency has the highest number of people with a PhD degree in the country.

What of Clegg, is he beatable? The backlash from the student fees debacle will still do him harm, as will the impact of local spending cuts and public sector job losses.

However a recent by-election in the Fulwood ward in the heart of the constituency actually saw the Lib Dems increase their majority, with a four per cent swing away from Labour. They have a formidable local campaigning organisation with most of their city councillors clustered in the constituency.

Worth remembering too that a third of families here live in detached houses, with nearly a fifth of these having five or more bedrooms (the national average is less than 5%).

This is not, it is fair to say, the Sheffield of The Full Monty.

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6 Responses to “Short queue of applicants looking to take on Clegg”

  1. Renie Anjeh says:

    If Labour wins here, then we are in serious landslide territory. It won’t happen, Clegg will hold on. Best chance of unseating Clegg is through a popular, anti-politics Independent candidate. Labour should focus on unseating the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes and also Danny Alexander if it wants to take down Lib Dem big guns.

  2. Although the students will mobilise into an almost army-like campaigning force, Clegg will be fortunate in that the students most angry and unconditioned to the tuition fee price hikes will have moved on, saddled with large debt, whilst the new intake will be more used to this policy and less angry. With a 15,000 majority, even UKIP will have had their moment in the Euro elections and it is, with regret, likely Clegg will hold on. I wouldn’t have said it two years ago, but it would be a massive upset if he lost the seat. As Renie said, it would be a landslide-like result.

    I remain hopeful though.

  3. swatantra says:

    Despite what Clegg and Cameron say, there’ll be an electoral pact between Lib Dems and Tories to try and keep Labour out in 2015.

  4. Renie Anjeh says:

    Swantrantra, I did use to believe that but if that happens think about the collateral damage that would do to both parties. The Tory right would set up an Independent Conservative Party probably backed by UKIP, to stand against the Coalition and many Lib Dems on the left will join Labour (or for the really leftwing ones, the Greens). However, it is Cameron’s best chance of remaining in office. If I were a Lib Dem or Tory adviser, for electoral reasons I’d say it is the only hope.

  5. Ex-Labour says:

    As one who lives near Cleggs constituency and has friends who do live there I’ll give my perspective. I wont be voting Labour or LibDem so I have no axe to grind.

    Can Labour win ? Yes its possible, but highly doubtful. I would say that Clegg will win but with a much reduced majority.

    The case that helps Labour.

    1. At the last GE hundreds if not thousands of people did not get to vote. The polling stations closed with massive queues waiting to vote – mainly students.

    2. Clegg also scupperd a government loan for Sheffield forgemasters company which would have allowed them to expand and grow. This still hurts in the area.

    3. There is still massive resentment amongst students to his volte face on tuition fees and this will take votes.

    The case against Labour;

    1. They’ve never won this constituency

    2. The PhD’s and affluent middle class wont take kindly to a union stooge if his is the one selected.

    3. The local LibDem party activists are strong and motivated.

    4. This is a very different Sheffield for those who dont know it. Forget the gritty northern industrial grime. This is leafy suburb territory with medical, university and teaching staff making up many of the residents.

    Buy popcorn – it could get interesting on the day.

  6. Rob says:

    I do not think it will get interesting two years for the Tories to pull the Elephant out of the hat, I suspect Clegg and his party will not get another chance to be in power, will labour win the next election, nope not with Miliband and Balls.

    I hope not anyway

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