by Cobbler's apprentice
Not Hillary Clinton, but Labour MP Hilary Armstrong has been blamed by a long-serving Labour councillor for his failure to gain selection as a candidate for the new Durham Unitary Authority elections on 1st May this year.
Ms Armstrong, former Labour Chief Whip, who succeeded her father Ernest Armstrong as MP for North West Durham in 1987, is a strong supporter of Labour's policy of having a "compulsory woman" in every ward. With two candidates to be selected in each ward, at least one must be female. This has meant Labour councillors with long experience being set aside for women candidates who may have little or no experience of local government and in some cases are new to the area.
Even if the local party votes for two male candidates, as has happened in some wards, the Regional Labour Party has then imposed a woman candidate.
"Due to this rule about women candidates, they've selected a women for my ward that no-one has ever heard of," said one Labour councillor. Another Labour councillor with many years' service blames Hilary Armstrong for his failure to gain selection. "Hilary has far too much influence on what should be left with the local party," he said.
A number of Labour councillors who have not been selected are expected to stand as Independents in May.