Leading councillors endorse one candidate in Labour's South Swindon contest

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Former MP Heidi Alexander speaks to labour members to try and gain their support
Former MP Heidi Alexander speaks to labour members to try and gain their support

Senior Labour councillors in Swindon have thrown their weight behind a former shadow cabinet member and deputy Mayor of London in the contest to be the party’s candidate in South Swindon.

Heidi Alexander, the former MP for Lewisham East, is one of three declared candidates to fight the next general election in the South Swindon constituency currently held by the Conservative Sir Robert Buckland.

She has been endorsed for the position by the current leader and deputy leader of the Swindon Labour group of councillors, and the former leader.

Current leader Jim Robbins said: “In a really high-calibre field, Heidi is the stand-out candidate.

“She’s a seasoned campaigner, she grew up here and her experience as an MP, in the shadow cabinet and as Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayor of London means that she is best placed to win South Swindon back from the Conservatives.”

His recent predecessor as group leader Jim Grant echoed that: “You can’t underestimate the importance of experience when it comes to fighting elections.

“Heidi has a proven track-record and she has real ambition for Swindon. She has bags of intelligence and integrity and I have no doubt that she is the best person to take the fight to the Conservatives here in South Swindon.”

And the group’s current deputy leader Emma Bushell ensured a full house in I in favour of Ms Alexander. She said: “It’s an exceptionally strong field, but she is the exceptional candidate.”

The other candidates facing Ms Alexander are Rosa Bolger and Chris Lloyd.

Ms Bolger and Ms Alexander both grew up and went to school in Swindon but became active in politics elsewhere.

Ms Bolger was a councillor for Witney on West Oxfordshire district council until May.

Ms Alexander was the MP for her London constituency from 2010 until 2018. Becoming the shadow secretary for health in 2015-16.

She stepped down as an MP in 20-18 to be deputy to Sadiq Khan as London mayor with responsibility for transport.

Mr Lloyd grew up in Powys in mid Wales near the border with England, but comes from a Swindon family, with his father born and brought up in Penhill before moving away.

Ms Bolger has secured the support of the Co-operative Party, which is affiliated to the Labour Party in Swindon and also the former Labour MP Julia Drown, who represented South Swindon between 1997 and 2005.

Mr Lloyd has been endorsed by the local branch of the Fire Brigades Union.

A result is expected towards the end of the month.

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