Labour’s open door for 2015 Kirkcaldy candidate

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Labour’s search for find a candidate to stand in place of Gordon Brown MP at next year’s General Election is underway.

The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat will have an open selection process.

The Press understands both the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency parties wanted this format rather than an all-female shortlist which was imposed on the selection process for the Glenrothes’ seat held by the retiring Lindsay Roy.

That has now been rubber-stamped by the executive of Scottish Labour Party which met this week.

One source said: ‘‘We had open contests for the MSP seats and wanted the same again.’’

The CLPs will now draw up the timetable and invite nominations, kick-starting the process of choosing the person they want to stand at the 2015 election.

Whoever gets the nod will face the challenge of not only retaining the seat, but also trying to hold the bulk of the massive 23,000 majority enjoyed by Mr Brown.

He took some 64 per cent of the vote at the last election, recording one of the top five majorities in the UK.

The extent of his personal vote within that number will only become clear next summer, but Labour will be keen to retain the seat with a solid majority this time round.

The other parties have yet to announce their candidates for the seat - the Press understands at least one has been selected.

This week, however, one name tipped to stand publicly ruled herself out.

Natalie McGarry, convener of Glasgow SNP, took to social media to set the record straight.

She tweeted: ‘‘Had a couple of calls about this. I won’t be standing in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. I wish the SNP candidate all the best. #TeamSNPGE2015.’’

Mr Brown announced he was standing down at a CLP social event held at the Old Kirk last Monday - a speech which was broadcast live by a number of UK news channels.

He will formally stand down in 2015 to focus on his charity work and role as a UN special envoy for global education.