Hebden Royd Mayor aims for Parliament
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Hebden Royd Town councillor Susan Press is hoping to be Labour's choice for the Keighley constituency at the next General Election.
The current Chair of Hebden Royd Town Council, who joined the Labour Party in 1976, was elected as a Labour councillor in 2003 and has stood several times as a candidate for Calderdale MBC.
Now she is hoping to be PPC for the seat held since 1997 by Ann Cryer MP.
Susan already has the backing of Labour’s Tony Benn and former Halifax MP Alice Mahon for her campaign and told the Hebden Bridge Web: "I joined the Labour Party over 30 years ago as a young woman committed to socialist values, peace and internationalism. I remain committed to those values but. at the next General Election, it's going to be a tough call for all of us who want to see Labour win a fourth term.
"You don't have to be a fortune-teller to predict that 2009 will be a difficult year both at home and abroad. We are beginning the New Year with terrible violence in the Middle East and at home people are understandably concerned about the global downturn and its possible effects on their jobs, homes and general livelihoods. Such fears can lead to right-wing extremism.
“Here in West Yorkshire, the BNP has gained strongholds in areas like Keighley and Halifax where people feel, rightly or wrongly, that Labour has let them down.
"So we need to answer the far right's lies on immigration and asylum with positive policies to win back our core supporters. I believe that if Labour is to win a fourth term we must campaign around the core values of fairness and justice on which the Party was founded. The values which all members of the Party, whatever their differences on some issues, actively share.
That means building the houses we desperately need for rent as well as homes, which are "affordable" for first-time buyers. We also need to encourage investment in public services and create real jobs and training opportunities, which will get people back into work
"As a Northerner from an ordinary working-class background, I believe I would be a credible candidate, one who people could relate to and one who would campaign hard to retain Keighley by standing up for Labour values at a time when they are needed more than ever before. West Yorkshire has a fine tradition of brave and independent-minded MPs with their feet firmly on the ground. It would be a privilege to be a part of that proud history. "
Susan Press, 51, is also Chair of the Calderdale branch of the National Union of Journalists and national Vice-Chair of the Labour Representation Committee, which campaigns within the Labour Party for socialist policies. In 2007, she organised campaign meetings in Halifax and Hebden Bridge for LRC Chair John McDonnell MP who was bidding to stand for Labour Leader.
Labour's Tony Benn said: "Susan Press would make a first class candidate for Keighley, a genuine socialist, with a life-long membership of the Labour Party, experience in Local Government as a Councillor and now Mayor, a trade unionist who has always been active in campaigns for Peace and Justice working with CND, OXFAM and the LRC. Susan is just the sort of MP we must have in the House of Commons if we are to win public support for the policies Britain needs.
Susan's campaign is also supported by former Halifax MP Alice Mahon, who said: "The next election whenever it is called will be difficult, but if we are to retain seats like Keighley we must have strong committed candidates in place. Susan is a life long socialist who has never been afraid to speak up for the under privileged. She has been a hard working member of the party for over thirty years. Born in the north, she has a firm grasp of all the issues and problems we face. I have been proud to work with her on numerous campaigns ad I believe she would be an excellent replacement for my good friend Ann Cryer"