Hitchin’s former Labour candidate at previous General Election reveals why she won’t run this time around

Rachel Burgin

Rachel Burgin - Credit: Archant

A former Labour parliamentary candidate who increased the party’s share of the vote for the Hitchin and Harpenden seat by more than 4,000 at the last election has revealed she will not stand in June’s snap General Election.

Rachel Burgin who polled 11,433 votes at the 2015 election – an increase of more than seven per cent from the previous Labour candidate’s performance in 2010 declined the chance to run against Peter Lilley MP.

Standing Conservative Mr Lilley has a majority of 20,055 – which would require a swing of around 18 per cent for Labour to gain the seat.

Labour’s National Executive Committee procedure is to ask candidates who ran for the party in 2015 if they would be interested in running again following PM Theresa May calling a snap election for June 8.

But Mrs Burgin – who is a fifth generation Labour supporter – will not be on the ballot paper.

She said: “I responded to the NEC by saying I would not stand again in Hitchin.

“This is due to specific prior work commitments. My employer is in the process of agreeing finance to support me to take professional exams. This support would be put at risk if I were to stand for parliament at this time.

Most Read

“I am not a career politician and I have never worked in politics.

“It was not until I secured a place on Labour’s Future Candidates’ Programme in 2011 it occurred to me to run for parliament.

“I do believe it’s important MPs offer a diverse range of professional and workplace experience.

“Unfortunately, our political system conspires against this – especially when a snap election is called.”

Mrs Burgin, was complimented by Mr Lilley for her campaign at the last election. She was also praised by many for her passionate eloquence and her forensic grasp of the issues compared to the other candidates who ran two years ago.

She added: “It was an enormous privilege to represent the Labour Party in Hitchin in 2015.

“To give voice to those who need a Labour government and to make a stand for the principles and values I have believed in all my life – and which my family has stood for since the days of Keir Hardie.

“I am grateful for the members who selected me and worked on my campaign and for the 11,433 people who wanted me to be their MP.

“The Hitchin and Harpenden Constituency Labour Party has grown enormously since May 2015 and is packed to the rafters with extremely talented people.

“I wish them all the best as they work hard to take Labour’s message to their communities.”

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have yet to announce their candidates.

Mr Lilley has yet to officially announce he will be standing again.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter