AN Afghanistan war veteran, a lieutenant colonel and a former business chief are the three men hoping to stand as Uttoxeter’s Labour Party candidate at the next General Election.
Ian McLaughlan, David Jones and Jon Wheale are each hoping to unseat the town’s current Conservative MP, Andrew Griffiths, when Britain goes to the polls in 2015.
Labour will announce its candidate to contest the Burton and Uttoxeter seat following a vote of local party members next week.
The chosen candidate will then seek to defeat Mr Griffiths, who was elected in 2010 with a majority of 6,304 votes — making Uttoxeter a target marginal seat for both main political parties.
Burton-born candidate Jon Wheale promises to ‘stand up for working families, childcare, the vulnerable, the elderly and for East Staffordshire jobs and businesses’.
Mr Wheale served for 10 years in the Army and saw action in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, before becoming a United Nations arms monitor in Nepal.
He has latterly worked as an advisor to Labour Party frontbench MPs in Westminster.
Meanwhile Ian McLaughlan promises to ‘give all of my energy, determination and passion to the fight to bring Burton and Uttoxeter back to Labour’.
Mr McLaughlan unsuccessfully contested the North Shropshire seat for Labour at the 2010 election and previously served as a high-ranking cabinet member on Stoke on Trent City Council.
The Oxford graduate has also previously worked as a business development manager for the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.
The third candidate is Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, an MBE, who promises ‘real political and professional credibility’.
Lt Col Jones served as commanding officer of the 73rd Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army, which marched through Nottingham last November after receiving the freedom of the city.
Julian Mott, Burton and Uttoxeter Labour Party’s procedures secretary, said: “We have three excellent candidates and it will be a very tough choice for us.
“We had a lot of interest when we advertised for a candidate, with 17 people who originally expressed an interest.
“I would be happy with any of the three candidates who have made it this far.” The final candidate to fight against Mr Griffiths will be chosen on Sunday at the Burton Caribbean Association in Uxbridge Street.
Party members will vote following a question and answer session with the three contenders at 1.30pm.