THE Building Societies Association's Head of Communications, Rachel Blackmore, has been selected to contest the Stratford-on-Avon constituency as an official Labour/Co-op candidate at the general election.
Ms Blackmore, 30, becomes the fifth new Labour/Co-op PPC following the adoption of Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Portsmouth North), Linda Riordan (Halifax), Ed Balls (Normanton) and Meg Hillier (Hackney South & Shoreditch).
However Ms Blackmore, who is the youngest candidate selected so far from the Co-op Party's Parliamentary Panel, faces a tough battle to be elected as the seat is a Tory stronghold and, in 2001, the Labour challenger came third with less than 17 per cent of the vote.
Ms Blackmore currently edits the BSA's newsletter and is on the board of the Co-operative Housing Finance Society.
There are currently 30 Labour/Co-op MPs at Westminster, but two Scottish MPs – Lewis Moonie and George Foulkes – have announced that they are not standing next time.
Meanwhile the Cardiff Central seat held by Labour/Co-op MP Jon Owen Jones has emerged as the Liberal Democrats' top Labour target, according to the Times newspaper.
Mr Owen Jones survived a sizeable swing to the Lib Dems in 2001 and scraped home with a majority of just 659 votes.