Three new faces for constituency, as Philp and Fordham say they don't want a 2010 election rematch

Thursday, 20th September 2012

Labour’s Glenda Jackson makes her Hampstead and Kilburn election victory speech in 2010 as Chris Philp and Ed Fordham look on

Published: 20 September, 2012

THE two defeated candidates in the dramatic general election attempts to unseat Glenda Jackson which took place in Hampstead and Kilburn two years ago have announced they will not stand again in the constituency.

Conservative Chris Philp was just 42 votes away from prising the seat from Labour’s clutches in May 2010 but was pipped by Ms Jackson in what she has since indicated was her final election campaign.

Mr Philp said on Monday that he would not be running in the constituency again when the country next goes to the polls and that it was time to pass on the baton.

Liberal Democrat Ed Fordham, who turned the contest into one of the country’s few genuine three-way battles, also confirmed on Monday that he too will not run again in Hampstead and Kilburn. He was only 841 votes away from winning.

The announcements came soon after the Conservatives said they would start picking candidates on the basis of existing parliamentary boundaries with much-discussed proposed changes to the borders looking likely to fall by the wayside.

The Lib Dems are also eager to find candidates for strategic seats such as Hampstead and Kilburn as soon as possible and are likely to make a choice before Christmas.

With Ms Jackson already indicating that she will retire after her current term, it means there will almost certainly be three new faces contesting one of London’s most high-profile seats. Although bookies – and several pundits – had predicted Ms Jackson’s demise, she scraped through in 2010 and remains unbeaten at the ballot box in 20 years.

Analysts suggested the opposition had split their vote with two strong charges in the constituency, arguing over who had the better chance of victory and watering down the opposition, allowing Ms Jackson to squeeze home.

Nick Clegg had begun his election tour here for the Lib Dems, while the Conservatives marked it out as a seat which needed winning if the party was to claim an overall majority – they didn’t win, nor did they get their majority.

Mr Philp, who has been tipped in some Conservative circles as being in line for a more winnable seat by the time the general election comes around, insisted that Labour still needed to fear the Tories.
“I feel that I gave it everything I could in the four years I was the candidate leading up to 2010, and that it’s now time to let someone else have a crack at the seat,” he said.

“I think we can definitely win the seat. The collapsing Lib Dem vote is there to be won over and, as the most marginal seat in the country, it is sure to be a high-profile fight.”

Mr Fordham might have been thrown straight into high-ranked politics had he not fallen short in 2010. He has good connections with central office and a past working relationship with Mr Clegg.
Instead, he says his immediate future lies elsewhere, with book-writing projects and developmental work in Africa.

In a letter to colleagues, he added: “With MP Glenda Jackson not seeking re-election the result here in Hampstead and Kilburn will be up for grabs again and it will be a genuinely open contest. No one party has a full claim to this seat and all parties will contest it to win.

"But these are all factors that mean the Liberal Democrats should select a candidate soon who will have the time and drive to lead a winning campaign.”

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