Two women on Labour shortlist hoping to replace disgraced Tory Peter Bone MP
Plus other news from around the county
Two women will go head to head at a local hustings tomorrow to decide who becomes the Labour parliamentary candidate to fight for the Wellingborough constituency.
In a rapid selection process, the Labour party has shortlisted Genevieve Kitchen, who works as a fundraiser and foreign affairs expert Anna-Joy Rickard to go forward to the hustings being held at Sir Christopher Hatton School tomorrow. Members of the local party will have the final say on who is chosen.
The party had to organise a rapid selection after the six-week suspension of sitting MP Peter Bone, triggered a recall petition which could lead to a by-election.
Wellingborough, which has been seen as a safe Tory seat for many years, had been low down on the Labour priority list and a candidate was expected to be selected following the Kettering selection.
The candidates for Corby and the North and South Northampton constituencies have already been chosen.
Genevieve Kitchen has some election experience as she was the Labour candidate in the 2019 election for South Northants and lost out to Andrea Leadsom, gaining 20 per cent of the vote share compared to Leadsom’s 62 per cent. Anna-Joy Rickard has worked for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change for several years.
Both women, who have been Labour councillors in London, were at a campaign event held in Wellingborough last Friday at which Labour’s shadow secretary of state for women and equalities Anneliese Dodds and Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins attended. Toby Perkins is understood to be in charge of Labour’s campaign to win Wellingborough.
The two women saw off other candidates to be selected, with Labour activist Chris Ashton and West Northants unitary councillor Harry Barratt not making it through.
In order to get the by-election, just under 8,000 signatures will be needed on the recall petition. Books for local residents to sign if they want Bone to be deselected have been set up at various places across the constituency with more details on the council’s website.
The deadline for signatures is December 19.
News in brief
West Northamptonshire Council has given further details of how it came to buy Northampton’s former bus depot.
The authority has faced criticism after it went ahead with discussions with the current owner’s of St James bus depot and the council’s deputy leader Adam Brown used executive powers to agree the purchase of the 4.5 acre site without it going before any committees of the authority or any scrutiny.
As exclusively reported by ourselves back in 2021 the site had been acquired by Prada (the parent company of Church’s Shoes ) after the former Northampton Borough Council had given financial assistance of £227,000 in 2013. The private firm now stands to make a profit of around £1m after sitting on the town centre site.
The authority confirmed this week it has paid £3m for the building and has set aside a further £300,000, and the site is planned to be used for affordable housing.
We asked some questions about when the authority first began talks with Church’s about the acquisition and the authority said:
“The council was first notified of the alternative scheme proposed for the site in September and then met Church’s on September 8th. At the meeting we learned more about the proposed use for the site and raised our concerns that this would not have met the needs of local residents, therefore we would intend to make an offer in order to bring forward a more suitable use, which we did later in September. The leaders and deputy leaders of the three major political parties met to discuss the process of acquiring the site, with no objections raised.
“We then took an urgent decision under delegated powers to purchase the site on 27 October, with the acquisitions completed on Friday 3 November. While the council recognises that this is not the usual process, this was a unique opportunity which had to be seized to ensure this large site benefits from considerate regeneration for the good of the local community. Competitive purchase negotiations in full public glare do not result in value for money for taxpayers, particularly when all parties have accepted the acquisition.”
North Northamptonshire Council’s executive will decide on Thursday whether to commit £6.8m to pay for a new roof for Kettering’s library. The condition of the roof has worsened over the past twelve months and the library as well as the new Cornerstone arts centre is now closed.
The cost is so high because the roof, which has several leaks; will need to be tented, and as it is a listed building the expensive Collyweston slate will need to be used for the renovation.
Read our earlier report on the issues so far.
The Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign is putting out a call for donations to its legal fund - with three donors offering to match funds of up to £3,000. The appeal to save the kettering meadow and woodland which is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate needs to raise £34,000, with £24,000 already secured. Any donations made before next Sunday will be doubled by campaign leader Dez Dell and supporters Robert Dixon and Martin Toms. The public enquiry in which the campaign group and the local council will take on the Duke’s team on planning grounds starts on November 28.
Former Wellingborough MP Paul Stinchcombe KC will be representing the group at the inquiry.
Details of how to donate are available here.
The trial of former Northampton South MP David Mackintosh continued yesterday. The jury was given legal directions by the court Judge Mrs Justice Jennifer Eady and the court will not sit tomorrow. The trial is expected to resume again on Monday with closing legal statements from prosecution and defence. The jury will then be sent away to consider its verdict. This is the first trial of its kind under the political parties, elections and referendum act 2000.
Our stories from earlier this week have now had the paywall removed and are free to read.
This week there was more bad news for local journalism and newspapers as one of the country’s largest companies Reach, announced the redundancy of 450 reporters. As we have said many times, social media and the subsequent loss of advertisers for local papers have had a hugely detrimental effect on the reporting of local issues.
Our county does not have a local daily newspaper anymore.
NN Journal is here in large part to hold local power to account and so you can help us by becoming a paying member and supporting our venture. It can only continue if enough readers decide to support. Huge thanks to those who already do.