TV star Ricky Tomlinson has decided not to stand in the General Election on May 6, ending months of speculation that he would run for parliament in the Wavertree constituency.
The Socialist Labour Party have instead selected Kim Singleton to run in Liverpool Wavertree. Former Royle Family star Tomlinson declared his interest in running earlier this year in protest at the Labour party's decision to select Londoner Luciana Berger to stand for the seat held by Jane Kennedy for the last 18 years.
However, Tomlinson's own "personal and contractual
commitments" have made it impossible for him to
seek election, but the 70-year-old backed Singleton.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “I am disappointed not
to be able to stand. But I am pleased to give the
chosen candidate my wholehearted support.”
Tomlinson made national news in February when he
declared his interest in running against Berger,
criticising her lack of local knowledge after she could
not identify who Liverpool's legendary former manager Bill Shankly was.
He said at the time: "This woman that they have parachuted in from London could not even answer some easy questions about Liverpool.
"It reminds me of when Labour parachuted Shaun Woodward into St Helens. People say if you want you could be letting the Tories in. But there is no difference between the Conservatives and New Labour."
Berger reacted to the news of Tomlinson’s decision not stand as she told JMU Journalism: “It is a distraction from the real choice at this election: Labour government or Conservative government.
“The Socialist Labour Party will not form the next government, just as the Liberal Democrats will not form the next government. I'm concentrating on standing up for our community in Wavertree as we fight the Tory threat to our jobs, our homes, our tax credits - our community. That is what is at stake here. Anything else is a distraction,” she added.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Wavertree Colin Eldridge previously questioned whether people would vote for a “Socialist” like Tomlinson, whilst Conservative candidate Andrew Garnett recently described Tomlinson's potential candidacy as “an irrelevance to this debate”.
The SLP say their candidate Kim Singleton, from West Derby, has a proud record of campaigning for workers rights and social justice.
She will appear at a public meeting alongside Tomlinson and SLP leader Arthur Scargill in the constituency on April 21 or 22.
By Hugh O'Connell, Website Producer
JMU Journalism Election 2010
Ricky Tomlinson will not stand in Wavertree, where Luciana Berger and Colin Eldridge are fighting it out
© Trinity Mirror