LABOUR’S chosen candidate to fight to become Worcester’s MP at the next General Election has vowed ‘the hard work starts now’ after he was elected by party members,
Former city councillor Tom Collins emerged on top following a meeting of Worcester Labour Party on Sunday (December 11) following a hard-fought campaign.
He was among five candidates whittled down to face members and set out their vision for representing Worcester at the House of Commons, should they win the support of voters in the city.
Mr Collins saw off the challenge of runner-up and former Droitwich Spa High School pupil Mark Williams, self-confessed ‘Worcester Woman’ Ellie Chowns, Danny Adilypour and former MEP Neena Gill.
He will now lead the challenge to overturn Conservative Robin Walker’s majority of 6,758 gained at the 2019 General Election and win back a seat last held by Labour under Mike Foster from 1997 to 2010.
Apart from Mr Foster, the city has only returned a non-Conservative or Unionist Member of Parliament once since 1885 when Liberal Richard Fairbairn won a majority of 773 at the 1922 General Election – he lost the seat 13 months later at the 1923 poll.
Mr Collins, the former Rainbow Hill councillor from 2018 until May of this year, moved to Worcester in 2005. He revealed his delight at being chosen to ‘win back Worcester and help form a Labour government led by Keir Starmer’.
Speaking after the result, he said: “It is an absolute honour to have been chosen by the local membership to be Labour’s candidate at the next general election and hopefully, Worcester’s next MP.
The hard work starts right now, and I will work day and night to convince people in the city I am the best person to represent them in Westminster.
“People in Worcester have been telling me how the cost of living crisis is affecting them – energy bills up, food bills rocketing and taxes up too. They are hurting because this chaotic government has run out of ideas.
“It is time for a change. It is time for Labour. A Labour government will work in the interest of ordinary people. Our NHS is on its knees, our schools starved of cash and our economy is about to go into recession.
“After 12 Tory years, I will make the case that it shouldn’t be like this. The Tories have failed people in Worcester. It is time for a Labour government and a Labour MP in Worcester.”
THE ELECTION of Tom Collins has added to the list of candidates confirmed to fight the next General Election in Worcester.
Current Conservative MP Robin Walker has vowed to fight the seat which he won for the fourth time at the 2019 poll. The recently-elected chair of the Education Select Committee has won the seat at the last three elections with more than 22,000 votes each time with an increased majority at every election since 2010 apart from the ill-fated 2017 vote when Labour slashed his majority to 2,508.
A fifth election as Worcester’s Member of Parliament would still leave Mr Walker trailing behind his father, the late Sir Peter Walker, who won election nine times between 1961 and 1992.
Worcester Green Party members selected Tor Pingree to stand in the poll which must be held by January 2025, the end of the current five-year term of this parliament.
Tor was born in Worcester and works as a teacher at Worcester Sixth Form College. Outside of work and politics, she is a keen musician and can often be found playing at Worcester’s live music venues.
She will take over from long-standing Green Party leader Coun Louis Stephen who has fought the seat for the party at the past four elections in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Candidates for the Liberal Democrats, Reform Party and others are expected to fight the seat but are yet to be confirmed.