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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Shaun Woodward

Date of birth

26 October 1958

Political profile

Few Labour candidates in the 2001 election attracted as much media attention as Shaun Woodward, standing for the party in St Helen's South.

Although he was seeking a return to the Commons - it was his first election as a Labour candidate - he was previously elected as Tory MP for Witney in 1997.

He was a senior figure in Conservative politics, having been director of communications for the party at the time of their surprise 1992 victory.

He was soon appointed to the frontbench and was an enthusiastic critic of the government, though he differed from most of his colleagues over gay rights, of which he is a great advocate.

He was sacked in 1999 as London spokesman after refusing to accept the party line on Section 28 and defected to Labour less than three weeks later.

He chose not to fight Witney again and was selected to stand in St Helen's South, causing some local party members to defect to the Socialist Alliance.

The media have made much of an apparent contrast between his wealthy lifestyle and the lives of his constituents in St Helens.

Contact

www.shaunwoodward.com

Constituency office 01744 24226

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