Dewsbury Tories name election candidate to take on Paula Sherriff

Mark Eastwood has been named as the next Tory candidate for Dewsbury.
Mark Eastwood has been named as the next Tory candidate for Dewsbury.

Conservative activist Mark Eastwood will take on Paula Sherriff in the battle for Dewsbury at the next general election.

The 47-year-old father-of-two was selected by members of Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton Conservative Association to be the party’s parliamentary candidate for the constituency.

He said he was “humbled and honoured” and hoped to be “the voice of Dewsbury in Westminster” as the future MP for the town.

The meeting was chaired by former Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney.

If Mr Eastwood is successful he will follow barrister Simon Reevell, who was elected in 2010 after defeating Labour’s Shahid Malik with a 2.8% majority.

Mr Reevell lost his seat to Labour’s Paula Sherriff in 2015.

In 2017 Ms Sherriff narrowly beat the Conservatives’ Beth Prescott by 3,321 votes.

Mr Eastwood described Dewsbury as “a key target seat – and it’s winnable”.

Mr Eastwood is on record as stating that his long-term aim is to retake the Dewsbury and Mirfield parliamentary seat from Labour.

On being elected chairman of the Dewsbury County Conservative Association in 2016 Mr Eastwood, who was involved in Mr Reevell’s campaign, said: “Naturally, we were disappointed to lose the seat in 2015.

“We need to implement a long-term strategy for regaining Dewsbury in 2020 – something I shall be looking at throughout my first term as chairman.”

Mr Eastwood, who grew up on the Wilton Estate in Batley, moved to the Dewsbury East area 11 years ago.

He has previously stood as a Conservative candidate for Dewsbury East in the local elections for Kirklees Council, a body he has said should be abolished.

In 2012 the Tories fought local elections on a controversial ‘split Kirklees’ ticket that called for the creation of two separate authorities, Greater Huddersfield and Dewsbury and Spen.

Mr Eastwood is also Yorkshire and Humber representative of the Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists (CWTU).

Speaking after last Friday’s vote Mr Eastwood said, “I am both humbled and honoured to be been selected to represent the party in my home constituency, an area I have worked in for the last 10 years.

“I am looking forward to taking my campaign out into the communities in the area. I do hope that people will let me know their issues and concerns so that I can try to resolve them and once I am their MP I will ensure that I am the voice of Dewsbury in Westminster, not the vote of Westminister in Dewsbury.”

After the meeting deputy chairman of the association and organiser of the selection process, Coun John Taylor, said: “I am really pleased for Mark. He is a formidable campaigner and an established figure in Dewsbury.

“I am sure with his hard-working, can-do attitude we will be well-placed to turn Dewsbury blue once more.”