"Paper candidate" claim about Labour's man in Northampton South

Labour's candidate for the Northampton South seat in the General Election has reportedly said he is merely a 'paper candidate' in the contest.

Labour's candidate for the Northampton South seat in the General Election has reportedly said he is merely a 'paper candidate' in the contest.

The former leader of Waltham Forest Council, Clyde Loakes, was announced as the Labour party's candidate for the Northampton South seat at the end of 2008.

He stood down as leader of the London authority in May last year to concentrate on the election battle.

But yesterday, his local newspaper, the Waltham Forest Guardian, reported that he had "admitted he is merely a 'paper candidate', with no realistic prospect of winning the parliamentary seat".

The newspaper quoted the politician as saying: "It is no longer classed as a marginal seat. I am doing this for the experience."

At the beginning of February, bookmaker Ladbrokes rated Mr Loakes as the joint second favourite in the race for the Northampton South seat, neck-and-neck with the area's former Labour MP, Tony Clarke, who is now standing as an independent.

The favourite to take the seat was Conservative Brian Binley, who was rated as having odds of 1/8.

Mr Loakes could not be contacted by the Chronicle & Echo last night.

But at the time of his selection, he told the Chron: "To people who question how I can run for the seat despite not living in Northampton I would say that I actually haven't lost touch with issues in Northampton.

"When you have been away from somewhere you can pick up fresh ideas and solutions and bring those back and I believe that's what I have done."

Mr Loakes was born and brought up in Northampton but now lives in London. He left the town to go to university in the capital in the 1990s.

He was chosen from a pool of 12 possible Labour candidates for Northampton South and is believed to have beaten former Northampton Borough Council member Anjona Roy to the position by only one vote.

A Labour source said last night: "We are taking the fight to the Tories. We know we won't win every seat but that's not through any want of trying."

A date for the General Election has not yet been announced.