19/06/2009

Blears Avoids MP Deselection

Former cabinet minister Hazel Blears has won her fight to remain the Labour party's candidate in her home constituency at the next general election.

Ms Blears avoided deselection by her party's Salford officials, despite members circulating a motion of no confidence in the former Communities Secretary.

When Ms Blears left government she said her intentions were to refocus her energies into constituency work.

The MP has since said she regretted the timing of her resignation, which came on the eve of the European and English council elections.

Labour suffered severely at both polls, losing ground to both main opposition parties. The poor result was also blamed on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's faltering support within the cabinet, which sustained a series of ministerial resignations during the prior days.

Last night, Ms Blears told the BBC she was "very, very grateful" that Labour party members had "rallied behind" her.

The event was not without incident, around 30 protesters gathered outside the meeting brandishing banners condemning Ms Blears' recent actions.

"The reaction is that it shows the Labour party in Salford is completely and absolutely out of touch with their own voters," rally organiser Stephen Kingston told reporters.

Ms Blears said: "I am at a loss sometimes to know how I got to this place, but what I've had tonight is the first chance to explain properly to my party members.

"They've not only accepted my explanation, they've rallied behind me.

"I also heard tonight from party members that events of a few weeks do not wipe out 30 years of a record in local and national politics, fighting and being a champion for some of the poorest people in our country," she added.

(PR/JM)

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