23/02/2004

Sitting Labour MP for Reading East deselected

A Labour Party constituency branch has voted to deselect its sitting MP as candidate for the Reading East constituency.

The local party members apparently "overwhelmingly" rejected Jane Griffiths, 49, in favour of Reading Borough Councillor Tony Page.

Chair of Reading & District Labour Party, Stuart Singleton-White said: "Local members have decided that Tony Page is the best candidate for Reading East at the next election. We want to thank Jane Griffiths for her hard work as an MP."

Mrs Griffiths's tenure as Labour MP for Reading since 1997 has not been without its controversial moments. While supporting most of the Blair government's main policies, Mrs Griffiths has been outspoken on some more controversial issues, such as a call for legalised brothels.

The first sitting Labour MP to be deselected in 10 years, she left the constituency meeting without making comment.

Mr Page said: "I am very honoured that the local Labour Party has chosen me to be its candidate in the forthcoming general election. Jane has been a very hard-working MP for the people of Reading East and will be a hard act to follow."

A Borough Councillor for over 30 years, Mr Page will be the only candidate out of the five nominated to be considered at the final selection meeting.

(SP)

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