THE battle to be the Labour party candidate in Stourbridge and Cradley in the next General Election has begun.

Five candidates have put their name forward and now have to convince members of the Stourbridge Labour Party they are the best candidate ahead of the final hustings on July 6.

Under new rules the election will last longer than previous years and there will be a shortlisting process to whittle down the field.

Lye and Stourbridge North Councillor Pete Lowe, who is Dudley Council’s cabinet member for finance, has thrown his hat in the ring.

Cllr Lowe said: “After long discussions with my family and friends in the Labour party I have decided to put my nomination forward to be the candidate for Stourbridge.

“I am looking forward to encouraging local Labour members to vote for me and then hopefully taking the campaign all the way up to the General Election in 2015.”

“I am confident but not complacent and believe that Stourbridge will be best served by a local candidate born and bred in the area who has a great understanding of the people and the area.”

And Cllr Lowe has welcomed the new longer format of the Labour selection process.

He said: “I think it is important members get to fully engage with candidates in the election process and I look forward campaigning until July 6.”

HIs main challenger looks set to be BBC London journalist Warren Nettleford who was brought up in Dudley.

The 31-year-old Labour activist has already set up a website,, and is confident he has the mainstream appeal to trouble Margot James in the General Election.

He said: “There's no greater honour than representing the area where you're from and I'll be fighting hard to be given that chance.

“Being local isn't enough though, you need the ability to reach out to others, especially those who didn't vote Labour last time. I have the confidence and the ability to do that.”

He added:“One thing is for sure, the race isn't going to he easy but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

“This happens only once in a lifetime.”

Redditch Councillor John Fisher, Wolverhampton former teacher Savita Sehdev and lawyer Tom McNeill have also submitteed applications to be considered for nomination.

The deadline for applications for the Stourbridge seat is on Friday, May 10.