Emma Lewell-Buck wins battle to defend South Shields seat for Labour at General Election
Emma Lewell-Buck has won her battle to defend her South Shields seat for Labour at next month’s General Election.
Mrs Lewell-Buck, who became the town’s MP in 2013, was potentially facing deselection as part of an ongoing trigger ballot process within her constituency party.
A number of other Labour MPs were midway through similar challenges and it is understood the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided to endorse them all as candidates.
With the snap election just over a month away, time scale is thought to be one of the factors behind the decision to halt the ballots.
Mrs Lewell-Buck today told the Gazette: “It is fantastic news and I have already hit the streets to speak to the people of South Shields ahead of this election.”
Every sitting Labour MP faces a trigger ballot in the build up to a General Election to determine whether or not they are challenged internally by rival candidates.
They usually need the backing of around two-thirds of constituency wards and affiliate branches to ensure they stand unopposed.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “The rules are really clear. At the dissolution of Parliament the sitting MP becomes the candidate.
“I was one of a number of MPs going through the process although I was confident that I would have retained the support of the majority of Labour members by the end of this process.
“What is more important now is that we have the opportunity to kick the Tories out nationally before Christmas.”
After becoming South Shields’s first female MP at a 2013 by-election, Mrs Lewell-Buck has since increased her majority at both the 2015 and 2017 elections and defends a 14,508 winning margin on December 12.
She added: “I was out hitting the ground and knocking on doors at the weekend because whoever the candidate was they would have had my support as a Labour Party member and supporter.”
The identity of Labour’s candidate in the neighbouring Jarrow constituency has still to be announced after the NEC decided not to endorse suspended Stephen Hepburn, the MP since 1997, amid an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment claims.