Labour's new candidate for Bassetlaw: "I'll fight on local issues"

Ashfield District Councillor Keir Morrison has been selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw.
Ashfield District Councillor Keir Morrison has been selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw.

After a hotly disputed selection process, Labour has chosen a district councillor from Ashfield as its parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw.

Councillor Keir Morrison was selected by a panel from the party’s National Executive Committee, following the controversial removal of Sally Gimson over allegations about her past conduct.

Last month, Bassetlaw Labour members voted for Ms Gimson, ahead of Coun Morrison by 95 votes to 86, after previous MP John Mann announced his resignation.

However, when the candidates were due to be rubber-stamped by the NEC, Ms Gimson was axed due to “very serious allegations”.

It is understood the deselection came after complaints from the party in London about allegations concerning “protected characteristics” – this can relate to issues surrounding race, disability and sexuality.

Ms Gimson denies the allegations, but has since dropped her threat of legal action.

Coun Morrison, who has represented his home community of Hucknall south for the past eight years, said: “I am honoured to stand as parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw and I want to thank everyone who put their trust in me. I will make it my goal to make sure Bassetlaw has a voice in Westminster.

“I learned my politics from working insecure jobs on minimum wage. I’m not a career politician and I understand the daily struggles of working people."

He added: “I know firsthand the kind of problems our communities face because what has affected Bassetlaw has affected my hometown as well.

“My dad was a striking miner in the 1980s, so I’ve grown up in a house with strong political beliefs. I firmly believe there is strength in unity, which is why I’ve been a trade union member for years.”

A painter and decorator by trade, Keir says he was motivated to stand for election to give the working classes better representation.

He said: “We need strong voices from towns like Worksop and Retford to stand in the Commons and fight for the rights of working people.

“We’ve seen this week just how much our current government cares about Bassetlaw. They refused to call a national emergency when Worksop was under three feet of water, and the Idle was threatening to swamp Retford.

He added: “Austerity has taken Bassetlaw’s children’s ward, rural bus services and police stations. I’ll fight to restore them and fight on local issues.”

Coun Morrison has appealed to voters to base their choice on more than Brexit – he has backed the party’s position to secure a new deal prioritising the economy, local communities, and workers' rights, then give voters a final say on the issue.

He said: "I've got a wife and a little girl and I’ll do everything I can to protect them, and by extension your families as well, from the depredations of a Tory government who intend to use Brexit to take what little we have left from us.”

His other priorities include the NHS, local investment, the creation of good jobs, and secure housing.

Also announced as standing are Conservative Brendan Clarke-Smith, Liberal Democrat Helen Tamblyn-Saville and Debbie Soloman, for Brexit Party.