Ex-Welwyn Hatfield MP's Parliament bid blow

FORMER Welwyn Hatfield MP Melanie Johnson's bid to return to Parliament has hit a ballot box stumbling block. As previously reported in the WHT, Mrs Johnson, who served the constituency between

FORMER Welwyn Hatfield MP Melanie Johnson's bid to return to Parliament has hit a ballot box stumbling block.

As previously reported in the WHT, Mrs Johnson, who served the constituency between 1997 and 2005, had been shortlisted as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Erith and Thamesmead.

The 54-year-old, one of eight to have been included on the shortlist, was set to find out if she had been selected at a meeting of the local Labour party on Saturday.

But the vote was postponed on Friday after it was discovered a ballot box had been broken into and voting papers inside destroyed.


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A Labour spokesman said the party's general secretary Ray Collins had launched an investigation into the row.

He also confirmed a new date for the ballot would need to be fixed.

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Mrs Johnson, a former Ofsted inspector and magistrate, first entered Parliament after unseating the late Conservative MP David Evans in 1997.

The mother-of-three subsequently held ministerial positions in both the Treasury and the Department of Health and was returned for a second term at the 2001 General Election, after defeating Tory rival Grant Shapps.

However, in 2005 she lost her seat to Mr Shapps following a swing of 9.2 per cent toward the Conservatives.

Outside of politics, Mrs Johnson is deputy chairman of the Customer Impact Panel, a group dedicated to improving customer experience of the insurance industry.

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