Paul and Kathy Tinnion resign over Euro MP selection

A LONG-STANDING Labour party member and his wife have resigned in protest at their daughter’s treatment in a Euro MP selection battle.

Paul Tinnion, current chair of Cestria Community Housing Association

A LONG-STANDING Labour party member and his wife have resigned in protest at their daughter’s treatment in a Euro MP selection battle.

Paul and Kathy Tinnion say they were left with no choice after trade union-backed candidates appeared to walk through the selection battle while their daughter Fay was left on the longlist.

Fay is a former member of Labour’s National Policy Forum and was previously the second candidate on the Labour ticket.

But with current MEP Stephen Hughes stepping down, polls indicating Labour might take two of the three seats in 2014 the battle for selection was far more confrontational, with Ms Tinnion dropping from send to fifth.

Mr Tinnion told The Journal that he believed his daughter’s life as a service wife - her husband is an RAF Flight Lieutenant - counted against her.

He wrote to party leader Ed Miliband and general secretary Iain McNicol to raise his concerns

“We said we feared there were some who might even want to deny Fay a place on the list of three altogether,” Mr Tinnion said.

The parents have both been Labour party members for more than 40 years, meeting each other through the party.

Mr Tinnion was Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell’s agent in 2010 and was a Labour councillor for 28 years.

His wife was, until she retired, a long-serving teacher at Heworth Grange Comprehensive School in Gateshead and is a former Labour branch secretary and local election candidate.

Mr Tinnion said: “Kay’s treatment has been so appalling that we feel we have to make some protest. The only way we can do so this is to resign our memberships of the Labour Party.”

He added: “Of all the applicants, we believe that she has an unequalled record of campaigning inside and outside the party.

“She has been a parliamentary candidate and is a founder trustee of the Northumbrian Association, actively involved in the campaign for the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

“She has been a teacher in inner-city comprehensives in Newcastle and Gateshead.

“Both the candidates selected in preference to Fay are trade union officials. Now that winnable seats have become available, Fay has been pushed aside.”

Last night his daughter said: “I’m, obviously, very disappointed not to be shortlisted given that I worked hard fighting the seat last time.

“I feel the outcome of the selection process is now a foregone conclusion.

“I had been looking forward to contesting it vigorously and, hopefully, to working hard for our region in Europe. I’d like to thank party members who had offered me their support. I will not run for any selection of any kind in future.”

The Labour shortlist includes Judith Kirton-Darling and Jayne Shotton as the female candidates, and Nick Wallis and Paul Brannen as two male candidates.

Candidates are ranked following a postal vote of members, with first place on the MEP list going to highest women, second man then so on. Postal vote of members will take place during the summer.

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