Labour left in a spin over family matters
PUBLISHED: 10:20 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:24 25 August 2010
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LABOUR activists are in uproar after party chiefs parachuted in the daughter of Tony Blair s top pollster as a parliamentary candidate.
LABOUR activists are in uproar after party chiefs 'parachuted in' the daughter of Tony Blair's top pollster as a parliamentary candidate.
Student Georgia Gould, 22, has made it onto the all-women long list to become parliamentary candidate for Erith and Thamesmead at the next general election, despite having no apparent links to the area.
The Oxford graduate is the daughter of the Labour peer Philip Gould who has been credited with inventing the 'focus group' under the Blair premiership.
He remains good friends with Alistair Campbell and some Labour members in Erith and Thamesmead claim the spin doctor has called them asking them to back Gould - a Masters student at the London School of Economics.
Bromley councillor Colin Bloom, the Tory parliamentary candidate for the seat, said: "They just can't stop it. It is like the old Blair with Alistair Campbell versus Charlie Whelan. They can bring Campbell in but the damage has already been done.
"It is a shame that local Labour activists have been sidelined in choosing their candidate."
The other candidates believed to be on the list of eight include trade union Unite officer Rachael Maskell, who is believed to be backed by Gordon Brown's former press secretary Charlie Whelan.
Other names rumoured to be in the frame include Labour activist Teresa Pierce, Plumstead councillor Angela Cornforth and London Assembly member Nicky Gavron, who was deputy mayor to Ken Livingstone for three years.
At the next election the boundaries of the seat - which has an 11,500 Labour majority - will also include Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Northumberland Heath.
A spokesperson for London Labour Party said: "It is no surprise that there is keen competition to become Labour's candidate for Erith and Thamesmead in the next general election.
"Nominations from the local wards and affiliated organisations closed on Monday. Eight potential candidates are on the long list and they will now go forward to a shortlisting process.
"Following a hustings meeting next month, members of the local Labour Party will make their final choice from the shortlist on a one-member, one-vote basis in a process which will be supervised by London Labour Party to ensure every member - and every potential candidate - is treated fairly.
"All potential candidates are subject to a strict code of conduct throughout the selection process."
The current constituency MP John Austin, who is due to retire at the next election, was unavailable to comment.