Karen makes second bid for Shields seat

SECOND TIME AROUND...  Karen Allen, who is to fight South Shields for the Tories for a second time.
SECOND TIME AROUND... Karen Allen, who is to fight South Shields for the Tories for a second time.

A SOUTH Shields-born woman is favourite to be the Conservative candidate to fight the town’s forthcoming Parliamentary by-election.

Karen Allen, 34, a director with London-based Howden Insurance Brokers, was approached by the party locally to represent it for the second time.

At the General Election in May 2010, she finished second to Labour’s David Miliband – whose resignation has triggered the latest by-election –polling 7,886 votes, or 21.6 per cent of the total vote.

Born and raised in South Shields, she attended the town’s Harton Comprehensive School and studied A-levels at Central Newcastle High School in Jesmond. Before taking up a place at university, she spent six months teaching in Moscow and then three months as a farmhand in Norway.

She gained a BA (Hons) in English Literature at Queen Mary University of London and upon graduation went to the City and worked at Lloyd’s Insurance brokerage.

Ms Allen has been involved in the Conservative Party on a local level for a number of years, and previously served on the executive of the pressure group Conservative Way Forward (CWF).

She also served nationally on the Conservative Future Executive – the youth wing of the party.

She said: “I would be absolutely honoured to stand again and build on the advances we made in 2010. My heart remains in South Shields.”

Ed Russell, South Shields Conservative Association treasurer, said: “We approached Karen to be our choice as candidate and she has agreed. It was a sensible choice, especially as she is from South Shields. She stood for us last time and did a very good job.”

It is not known if Ms Allen, who was unavailable for comment, will face any opposition at tomorrow night’s selection meeting at St Margaret’s Church Hall in The Nook, South Shields.

But one candidate who won’t be throwing his hat into the ring is Coun Jeff Milburn, who represents the Conservatives in Cleadon and East Boldon.

The self-employed motor dealer cited “family and business commitments” as his reason.

He said: “It’s basically the short timescale. I would have had just three or four weeks to prepare.

“That’s just not enough time, because of my business and family commitments. I didn’t want to enter the race if I could not give it 100 per cent.”

Labour’s election candidate is to be revealed after a selection meeting at the Customs House tonight.