Hammersmith Man for Acton?

Candidate bucks female trend

Hammersmith council leader and councillor for North End ward Andrew Slaughter is seen as favourite to follow Clive Soley as a candidate for Ealing Acton & Shepherd's Bush in the next general election.

Mr Slaughter, a barrister by trade, became the first person in the country to take on the controversial "executive mayor" job title. The move was part of a wave of political reform implemented in advance of legislation that failed to become law, his present job is closer to that of a high-powered council leader than a directly elected US city mayor.

A survey of candidates selected so far to fill vacancies created by the retirement of long-serving backbenchers, such as Mr Clive Soley, and former ministers shows that the number of women in parliament is almost certain to increase.

A total of 26 sitting Labour MPs have announced they are standing down, with 19 of these seats reserved for women by Labour headquarters. Moreover, female candidates have also been picked in a number of so called "open" contests.

Whether Mr Slaughter is a 'Blairite' or 'Brownite' remains to be seen.

March 14th 2004