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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 16:49 GMT
Election hopefuls prepare for battle
Russell Goodway, Cardiff Lord Mayor and Ogmore hopeful
Russell Goodway is hoping to further political ambitions
Members of the Labour party in Ogmore are preparing to chose their candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary by-election.

Four hopefuls are hoping to succeed Sir Ray Powell following his death in December; the election is expected on 7 February.

It pits Cardiff Lord Mayor Russell Goodway against former Neil Kinnock adviser Jan Royall, as well as lecturer Huw Irranca Davies and social security officer Margaret Frayne.

Sir Ray Powell
Sir Ray Powell had represented the people of Ogmore for two decades
Local party members will meet at the Bryntirion Labour Club at 1900 GMT and announce their prospective candidate after 2200GMT.

The Conservative party will also be choosing its candidate on Wednesday evening; Plaid Cymru has already chosen Bleddyn Hancock and the Liberal Democrats are due to decide between Victoria Watkins and Gavin Cox on Friday.

But the winner of Labour's hustings will have a huge advantage in their election bid.

At the 2001 general election, Sir Ray Powell, who had represented his local constituency for 20 years, netted a 14,000 majority for the party.

Runners and riders

Having made the shortlist, Russell Goodway will be hoping to secure the right to fight for the seat after he failed to be selected as John Morris' successor in the neighbouring Aberavon constituency in April 2000.

Jack Brown's Labour tips
6-5 Jan Royall
6-4 Russell Goodway
4-1 Huw Irranca Davies
16-1 Maggie Fray
It was thought a controversial allowances increase for the Cardiff County Council leader damaged his chances.

Margaret Frayne, chairwoman of that constituency, succeeded in making the shortlist, but missed out on election and is now staging a new bid in Ogmore.

Jan Royall, a European Commission strategist and an aide to Neil Kinnock, joins Mr Goodway as the bookies' tip for the top.

A Labour party insider told BBC News Online many in the party believed Swansea politics lecturer Huw Irranca Davies would be picked ahead of Mr Goodway and Ms Royall.

Editor selection

And, he said, there was "no sympathy" for Labour's Tribune publication editor Mark Seddon, who failed to make the shortlist for the hustings selection at Ogmore.

Mr Seddon admitted he had no local connections with the area but claimed he represented an important strand of Labour thinking.

"The tradition I come from within the party is actually very popular in a constituency such as Ogmore - the Tribune, Michael Foot, Aneurin Bevan tradition," he said.

"Bevan once said that a thinking person is a dangerous person - I can't help feel that what they're saying is you've got to toe the line 100 percent or you're not welcome."

On Wednesday, former party leader Michael Foot was reportedly calling for Mr Seddon to be allowed into the vote.

See also:

17 Dec 01 | Wales
Funeral for veteran MP Sir Ray
08 Dec 01 | Wales
Tributes to 'valued ally'
09 Dec 01 | Wales
Veteran Labour MP dies
30 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Welsh Labour old guard fights on
23 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Labour victory in Ipswich by-election
19 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Death of the by-election?
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