The leader of Burnley Borough Council has been chosen to stand for the Labour party at the next General Election.
Coun. Julie Cooper was picked from an all-female shortlist and will attempt to win the borough back from the Lib-Dems.
Coun. Cooper, who was defeated at the 2010 General Election by the town’s current MP Gordon Birtwistle, was the favourite to become the party’s parliamentary candidate. The next election is expected to be in 2015.
Coun. Cooper said: “I am delighted to have been selected as the Labour candidate for Burnley in 2015.
“Burnley has been badly let down by this Lib-Dem MP and his party that continues to prop up the Tory government.
“Families are £891 worse off each year because of changes the coalition government has made.
“Long-term youth unemployment has increased by 62% in Burnley since last year.
“We need an MP who will deliver jobs and growth and put the people of Burnley first.
“I look forward to meeting more people of Burnley on the doorstep and listening to their views. I’ll always do what is best for Burnley.”
The last time Labour opted for an all-woman shortlist, in 2005, Kitty Ussher became Burnley’s MP. Both times the controversial decision was made by Labour’s National Executive Commitee (NEC) in a bid to create more women MPs.
Mum-of-two Coun. Cooper, who lives in Briercliffe with her husband Brian, has already faced criticism from the Lib-Dems. Hywel Morgan, Lib-Dem agent at the 2010 election, called for her to step down because she was the preferred candidate of the Unite union, which has become embroiled in a voting controversy in Falkirk.
A qualified teacher and former director of Coopers Chemist, Coun. Cooper has been a Labour ward councillor for Bank Hall since 2005.