HYNDBURN Labour Group leader Graham Jones has been named as Labour’s candidate to succeed Greg Pope as MP.
The Peel ward councillor and Accrington South county councillor, who is also chairman of Lancashire Labour group, said he was ‘honoured and privileged’ to be selected by local party members last Friday from a shortlist of six.
Mr Jones, of Hodder Street, will bid to defend Mr Pope’s 5,587 majority from the 2005 General Election at next year's poll. Labour has held the seat since 1992.
He said: "Greg Pope has served with great pride and passion as Hyndburn MP for more than 17 years and I am determined to stand up and fight as he has for the people in this constituency. The next election will be a big choice about the change we want.
"Only a Labour government will continue to make a real difference here in East Lancashire – investing in the economy and jobs, housing and regeneration, health and education. I will be fighting for a better future for all in Hyndburn."
Joan Smith, chair of Hyndburn Labour Party, said: "I am delighted Graham has been selected to join our hard working councillors and party members.
"We are obviously sad to lose such a good MP in Greg Pope but we believe we now have the best possible candidate to win the fight for Hyndburn’s future.
"I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to all the other candidates who have conducted themselves so well throughout the selection."
Mr Pope, who announced his shock decision to step down at the next election for personal reasons in June, has endorsed and wished his compatriot well.
He said: "I want to warmly congratulate Graham on being chosen as Labour’s candidate. Graham is one of the hardest-working councillors I have ever met, he is passionate about this area and has already demonstrated that he is an effective, successful campaigner.
"He has my full support and I look forward to working with him for a Labour victory over the coming months."
He added: "In my view, it was important that we picked a candidate who knows the area well and is already known by people locally. I am sure he will make a fine MP for Hyndburn."