Soldier in battle to be MP

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A PARACHUTE Regiment Army officer who served in trouble spots around the world is facing a fresh battle - to become the new Barnsley Central MP.

Dan Jarvis beat competition from experienced Labour party members who had stood as candidates before, councillors and a former Government minister who lost his seat at the General Election last May, to be nominated as the party’s candidate in the Barnsley Central by election.

The 38-year-old rose to the rank of Major after 15 years in the Third, then First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. He has served in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Kosovo - where he was an assistant to the NATO commander - then Iraq, and, most recently, Afghanistan, where he commanded 80 men in 2007. He is favourite to win the safe Labour seat - left vacant after the resignation of Eric Illsley following his conviction for fraud.

Mr Jarvis, a widowed dad-of-two, is now in the process of moving to Barnsley and has handed in his resignation from the Army. He has been based in Salisbury but Mr Jarvis has connections to Yorkshire - his mother was from Huddersfield and his father, Bernard, grew up in Sheffield.

He said: “There was a very strong field of candidates but I’m someone who has spent my life serving this country and people wanted an MP with credible experience outside of politics. My professional record was helpful.”

Mr Jarvis, a Labour Party member for 20 years, was selected by members in Barnsley Central on Thursday. Yesterday, he went straight out to meet constituents and said he received a “very good reception”.

Rival main parties have yet to announce candidates but others standing include Independent Ed Devoy and the BNP is rumoured to be fielding leader Nick Griffin.

It is due to decide its candidate at a meeting today.