Labour members in South Tyneside's Jarrow constituency have unanimously confirmed sitting MP Kate Osborne as their choice to represent them at the next general election
Sitting Jarrow MP Kate Osborne has been unanimously confirmed as the Labour Party’s candidate to contest the seat at the next general election.
Osborne, who was elected to represent the constituency in the House of Commons in 2019, received the backing of all 10 branches which make up the Jarrow Constituency Labour Party (CLP), as well as its nine affiliated trade unions and other organisations.
The former councillor for North Tyneside crossed the river to replace incumbent Stephen Hepburn after he was barred from defending the seat and had the party whip withdrawn following a complaint of sexual harassment.
But while Osborne admits the manner of her original selection, which saw several Labour members in Jarrow complain to the party’s general secretary, was previously a cause for concern, she thinks the seal of approval to be included on the next round of ballot papers has been an “endorsement” of her work since then.
“This is confirmation that [the CLP members] are happy for me to represent them,” she said, following confirmation of her re-selection.
"It was on my mind to a degree, that people may harbour resentment over the situation [with Stephen Hepburn], but this is an endorsement that people are happy with what I’ve been doing.
"You can’t take these situations for granted I would never have entered a selection process with the level of arrogance that it was any type of done deal.”
Osborne held Jarrow for Labour with 45% of the vote in 2019 – a fall from the 65% Hepburn managed in 2017.
However, it is hoped the next general election, which reports suggest could be held next year, will provide a more stable platform to build on.
Looking ahead, she suggested Labour should focus on the cost of living crisis and predicted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s upcoming Spring Statement would fall short of the measures needed to ensure families can continue to “heat and eat”.
“It’s a great result, she is a very hardworking, conscientious MP,” said John McCabe, political and education officer at Jarrow CLP and a member of South Tyneside Council.
"She really hit the ground running after the last election and has been doing a sterling job.
"The unanimous result shows that the members support her and she has won their support through her hard work.”