UNCERTAINTY remains over the date for the South Shields parliamentary by-election.
Townsfolk are almost certain to go to the polls in May to elect a successor to outgoing MP David Miliband.
But the date of that poll is up in the air.
It had been thought the by-election might coincide with local elections on Thursday, May 2.
Now it appears it could be pushed back.
The uncertainty coincides with a parliamentary recess, which lasts until April 15.
Parliament needs to be sitting to issue the necessary writ for the poll to go ahead. Polling day is usually 15 to 19 working days after that writ.
Since Mr Miliband announced his decision to quit last week, speculation has mounted over who Labour might choose to nominate for a seat they hold with an 11,000 majority.
The identity of that person will be known by the middle of next week.
Nominations for anyone wanting to throw their hat into the ring close tomorrow.
On Saturday, those candidates will be interviewed by members of the party nationally, after which a shortlist will be drawn up.
And next Wednesday, at the town’s Customs House from 6.30pm, local party members will meet the shortlisted few.
Those candidates will be invited to give an address and take up to 15 minutes of questions.
Members will then vote by secret ballot.
Tory councillor for Cleadon and East Boldon, Jeff Milburn, pictured, has declared he’d like to stand.
While Dave Wood, leader of the Liberals in South Tyneside has expressed an interest, and a UK Independence Party (UKIP) spokeswoman has confirmed that it will be putting forward a local candidate.
Also putting himself forward as an independent candidate is John Robertson, from Whitburn.
The 46-year-old received a 40-week suspended prison sentence in 2011 after smashing his lorry into the headquarters of South Tyneside Homes.