A SOUTH Shields-born social worker has been chosen as the Labour Party’s candidate at the town’s forthcoming by-election.
South Tyneside Councillor Emma Lewell-Buck is hoping to replace outgoing MP David Miliband.
The 34-year-old, who comes from a family of shipyard workers and is a direct descendent of lifeboat inventor William Wouldhave, will be standing for a seat widely regarded as one of the safest in the country for her party.
Coun Lewell-Buck has represented the Primrose ward in Jarrow since 2004 and, if elected, could become the town’s first female MP.
The Northumbria University politics and media studies graduate said: “I’m passionate about South Shields, having grown up in the area.
“My priorities would be jobs, growth and the regeneration of the town centre. I think David Miliband was a fantastic MP and he did a lot for the area, but I want people to know that now I’m the best person for the job.”
Former Cabinet minister Miliband forced the election last month after he said hew as quitting to take up a senior role with the International Rescue Committee charity in New York.
The by-election is expected to take place next month.
Alan Donnelly, chair of the South Shields Labour Party, said: “I’m delighted that local members have chosen Emma to be our candidate in the by-election.
“We had an exceptionally strong field of candidates to pick from and I’d like to thank all those who put themselves forward.
“In Emma, we have a candidate with a proven record in standing up for the people of South Tyneside.
“We need someone who is going to put South Shields first and in Emma that’s exactly what we’ve got.
“Her passion and commitment to the town shone through. Now we have to get out there and work to ensure Emma is the first woman to represent the town in Westminster.”
The Liberal Democrats have selected Hugh Annand, who lives in Welwyn Garden City, in Hertfordshire.
His great-grandfather, James Annand, was editor of the Shields Gazette in the 1890s and Liberal Party candidate for Tynemouth in 1892.
The 39-year-old said: “Labour have taken South Shields and the North East in general for granted.
“Despite having a high profile former minister as an MP, the area hasn’t had the attention or investment it desperately needs.”
The UK Independence Party has selected Richard Elvin, chairman of its North East Regional Committee, as its candidate.
The 62-year-old from Hetton-le-Hole said: “It’s going to be a tough battle.
“Let’s be honest, it’s Labour’s to lose, but our popularity is rising, and more and more people are beginning to appreciate what we stand for. We’re going to give it our best shot.”