Inside Scottish Labour selections: Motherwell and Wishaw
In today’s column, we profile the selection contest in Motherwell and Wishaw.
The seat is one of the 18 marginals in Scotland that Labour would need to form a majority government.
Labour members in Motherwell and Wishaw parliamentary constituency are to vote on whether to retain previous candidate, NHS worker, and local councillor Angela Feeney for the seat, or choose Martine Nolan, a local charity campaigner.
Previously a Labour safe-seat that returned majorities of upwards of 16,000 in 2010, Labour lost the seat to the SNP’s Marion Fellows in 2015.
However, during the last election Angela Feeney succeeded in slashing the SNP majority from 11,898 to 318, and is asking Labour’s selectorate for the chance to finish the job.
Speaking to the Robin, Feeney said:
"I reduced the majority from just under 12k to 318. I didn’t shirk my responsibility then and I’m not shirking it now. I’m looking for people to support me and let me finish off the job I started. Let’s bring Motherwell and Wishaw back home to Labour."
In terms of Labour’s internal politics, Angela has been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard, while Martine Nolan voted for Anas Sarwar, and supported Owen Smith’s leadership bid in 2016.
Martine has positioned herself as the candidate best suited to win over Tory votes in the constituency, arguing that Labour needs to support remaining in the Single Market in order to appeal to voters.
“The reality is, to win back Tory voters we need to have a candidate strong on the Union, but to win back SNP voters we need someone who is popular within the community, has a track record of helping the most disadvantaged in our society and will act as a voice of reason, not of protest.”
Neil Findlay MSP has backed Angela’s campaign, along with previous Labour MP Frank Roy and the Trade Unions, Unite, Unison and the CWU.
In a statement, the Lothian MSP said: “Angela would make an excellent MP for Motherwell and Wishaw. She is completely grounded and in touch with local people. As a frontline NHS worker she will be a champion for the services we all rely on.”
Labour members will vote on their candidate on Thursday the 24th, at 7pm in the GLO Centre in Motherwell.