A MEMBER of Labour’s shadow cabinet said he hopes the sentencing of Eric Illsley for expenses fraud will draw a line under the fiasco and allow the party in Barnsley to move on.
Andy Burnham spoke as he joined candidate Dan Jarvis, chosen as Labour’s candidate in the by-election, on the campaign trail.
He met party members at Mr Jarvis’ campaign offices and took a walk through the town centre.
Shadow education secretary Mr Burnham said: “The court has now sentenced Eric and it deals with the issue. As Eric acknowledged, he behaved wrongly and a punishment has been handed out.
“The mood is very much that people want to look to the here and now - cuts are really hitting Barnsley Central constituency hard, equivalent to £78 per head.”
Mr Burnham said although Mr Jarvis - a former Army officer and the favourite to win due to the massive 11,000 majority Illsley secured last year - does not have the traditional trade union and mining background of his predecessor and other MPs in the area, he is “well placed” because of the town’s links with the armed forces.
“Dan is a very strong candidate. Down the years, a high number of people from Barnsley have been in the armed services so he is well-placed to connect with them and speak up for the forces,” Mr Burnham said.
Mr Jarvis, aged 38, a former Major in the Parachute Regiment, is up against candidates including James Hockney, for the Tories, who stood in Barnsley East last May.
Dominic Carman, son of famous barrister James Carman QC, is standing for the Lib Dems, while Jane Collins, is the UKIP candidate.