A councillor has become the first Labour candidate to announce his ambition to become Crawley’s next MP.
Chris Oxlade was the party’s 2010 parliamentary candidate and the county and borough councillor will have to compete to become Labour’s parliamentary selection for Crawley at the 2015 election.
A second potential candidate Michael Jones, who also sits on the borough and county councils, refused to confirm or deny whether he had applied to be a candidate.
The leader of the Crawley Labour Group, Cllr Peter Lamb, ruled himself out of the contest, saying he was happy in his current role.
Current Crawley MP Conservative Henry Smith has signalled his intention to defend his seat.
Launching his bid after applications closed on May 13, Cllr Oxlade said: “It’s been an ambition of mine for a number of years to be Labour MP for Crawley. I was able to stand in 2010 when Laura Moffatt stood down and I will certainly be throwing my hat in the ring for the next general election.
“I think whoever gets selected as Labour candidate needs time to get themselves established to fight against the Tory onslaught that residents are facing.
“I was born and bred in Crawley and have lived here all my life, I know all the hardships people are facing. I have got the knowledge, vision and experience to be the Labour Party’s next candidate.”
Cllr Oxlade will be part of a longlist of candidates which will be whittled down to around four or five by a selection committee of Crawley Labour figures. The shortlist of candidates will have around a month to campaign before Crawley Labour members vote for their preferred canddiate at around July 20 2013.