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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Labour's search for new candidate
Penny Barber
Penny Barber says she cannot take more time off work
Labour's candidate for Staffordshire South Parliamentary by-election is standing down because she cannot afford to take more time off work.

Penny Barber informed the party of her decision on Monday night.

The constituency election was abandoned before last Thursday's General Election following the death of Lib Dem candidate Jo Harrison.

Labour will begin a selection process for a new candidate. Ms Barber said she "regretted" not being able to stand.

'Excellent candidate'

In a statement she added: "I run a medium sized charity. I simply cannot take more time off work to give proper attention to a by-election.

"It would not be fair on either the charity or the electorate to attempt to continue as the candidate."

Brian Wood, Chair of South Staffordshire Labour Party, said: "Penny has been an excellent candidate.

"We've tried to persuade her to stay on, but understand and respect her decision to stand down."

The Conservatives won the last constituency election with candidate Sir Patrick Cormack. He gained a majority of 6,881 votes over the second-placed Labour candidate.

Speaking after Ms Harrison's death, he said the party would be doing "everything possible to ensure we come back at the by-election".


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