South Shields MP ‘relaxed’ about prospect of repeat ‘trigger ballot’ battle to retain Labour Party backing

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has insisted she feels “relaxed” as the Labour Party prepares to confirm its candidates for a future general election.

By James Harrison
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 4:55 am

With speculation the country could go to the polls next year, constituency groups have reportedly been told to complete a ‘trigger ballot’ process by the summer.

And while there is still time for a challenge to be mounted, she has claimed she feels more confident about how things may play out this time.

Emma Lewell-Buck. Picture by FRANK REID

Read More

Read More
New beer garden planned for Wardles bar / The Albert Hotel in Hebburn

She said: “The only thing I would like to get across is that this time the process will be more robust than last time.

“Obviously you never know, but I’m quite relaxed about it, we’ve got some really good members in the [South Shields Constituency Labour Party (CLP).”

Every sitting Labour MP faces a trigger ballot in the build up to a General Election, offering rivals a chance to unseat them.

However, a rule change introduced last year raised the threshold to at least 50% of branches in a CLP’s electoral college.

According to reporting by the Labour List website, senior figures in the Labour Party are preparing for a possible General Election in Spring 2023, before the introduction of revised constituency boundaries being considered by the Boundary Commission.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Under longstanding Labour Party rules, reselection processes are held in every Labour-held constituency between general elections.

“It is a core part of Labour Party democracy and getting ready for the next election.”

After becoming South Shields’s first female MP at a 2013 by-election, Lewell-Buck increased her majority at both the 2015 and 2017 elections, but saw a fall in her vote share in 2019, despite an otherwise comfortable victory.

While the 2019 attempt to topple Lewell-Buck in South Shields was unsuccessful, veteran MP Stephen Hepburn was barred from defending his seat in the neighbouring Jarrow constituency following a complaint of sexual harrasment and was replaced as the official Labour candidate by Kate Osborne.

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue telling South Tyneside’s stories for generations to come.