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MEP Profiles: Labour

MEP Profiles: Labour

🕔20.May 2014

Cover Image: GMB West Midlands Region

Labour should expect to bounce back after 2009’s performance and secure at least two MEPs. Bidding farewell to Labour veteran Michael Cashman, several familiar faces fill the top of Labour’s list of MEP candidates for the region – the top three making a trio of ‘comeback kids’.

NEENA GILL

Prior to her election, Gill was chief executive of a social housing company. She served as MEP for West Midlands 1999-2009, presiding over a number of EU delegations to India and South Asian nations, as well as sitting on legal and industry committees.

Gill was particularly outspoken against the BNP during her time in office, releasing a number of videos highlighting their “ludicrous arguments” in order that they could “be exposed and countered”. Rather unfortunately, Gill will need to draw on this experience in order to combat the far-Right and populist parties that look set to benefit from the EU elections.

Heading the Labour list, Gill is almost certainly guaranteed to return to Brussels and Strasbourg.

SION SIMON

Educated at Handsworth Grammar and Oxford University, former journalist Sion Simon was MP for Birmingham Erdington from 2001-2010. He served as under-secretary for further education from 2008-2009 and creative industries from 2009-2010.

In 2010, Simon stood down from his seat in Parliament to campaign for Birmingham’s mayoral referendum, in the hope of ultimately standing for mayor – but the local referendum rejected the creation of the role. In May 2010 he also founded the grassroots website, Labour Uncut, which quickly became a popular source of discussion and intelligence for activists.

Sion actually topped the ballot during selection for the list, gaining the support of around two thirds of Labour members in the Midlands, but in order to comply with Labour selection rules regarding gender, Simon had to settle for second position. Regardless, he is set to return to elected office four years after his decision to step down from the UK Parliament. For many – having given up his seat to commit to the mayoral cause and establish a popular activist resource – it will be a welcome return.

LINDA WALTHO

Former schoolteacher Lynda Waltho served as MP for Stourbridge from 2005-2010. She served as PPS in both the Northern Ireland and Justice Ministries, as well as West Midlands Minister. Having lost her seat to Cameron ‘A-lister’ Margot James in the 2010 election, Waltho has a fight on her hands if she is to secure a place in the European Parliament on Thursday. Her chances depend heavily on a strong Labour turnout from supporters– which in a European election is unlikely.

The remaining Labour candidates are as follows:

  1. ANSAR ALI KHAN
  2. OLWEN HAMER
  3. TONY ETHAPEMI
  4. PHILIPPA ROBERTS

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