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A Blair for Bootle

But will Joe Benton step aside for wannabe MP Euan?

Written by . Published on April 15th 2014.

A Blair for Bootle

LABOUR'S Ramsey McDonald was leading a Coalition government, King George V was on the throne, the Loch Ness monster was spotted and in Bootle, Joe Benton was born. 

The year was 1933 and, more than eight decades later, Joe is a Labour MP for his home town, led by a rather different Coalition government. 

Lad and DadLad and DadAt the age of 57, in 1990, Benton became MP for Bootle, and now political young bloods are circling the town like a flock of eager Liver birds. 

The prize – one of the safest Labour seats in the country, and an almost guaranteed job for life.

Tony Blair’s eldest son, Euan, is said to be eager to take the seat, should one of two things happen: Benton decides, as he heads towards his 81st birthday, it’s time to cancel his subscription to Hansard or else members of the Bootle Constituency Party decided to try somebody new. 

Joe BentonJoe BentonAfter all, Benton would be 86 should he decide to carry on politicking. But as he’s seven years younger than the Queen, why shouldn’t be continue? 

Many would say they’d prefer an octogenarian MP representing them rather than  Blair the Younger or, for that matter, any other socialist whipper-snapper parachuted into Merseyside. 

But if the grandson of “scouse-git” Tony Booth wants the seat, he's likely to have to duel on Crosby beach at ten paces with MP-in-waiting Peter Dowd. 

A respected Labour watcher on Merseyside told Liverpool Confidential: "Peter Dowd has been the heir apparent for at least 20 years. 

"The constituency wants a selection process for the 2015 election which means Joe would probably face a contest for the nomination. 

“People will look at his age. He will be 81 at the time of the general election -  but also his performance in the House of Commons, and may conclude it is time for him to be replaced.”

Peter DowdPeter DowdThey added: “It is a matter for Joe, but it would be better for him to stand gracefully rather than face the possibility of being publicly humiliated.  If it does come to a contest people will look at Hansard and see his has not been very active in Parliament for some time.

"As for Euan Blair getting that seat, that seems to be people adding two and two together and making five.”

Peter Dowd, who works for Joe Benton as his agent, is also the current leader of Sefton Council, commanding a lot of support in the Bootle area.

Joe Benton has not given any indication, so far, about his intentions - whether to seek re-election or bow out of politics at the 2015 election, enjoying a handsome pension he will have accrued over 25 years in Parliament.

It is thought that Blair the Younger may be invited throw his hat into the ring by Labour activists in the constituency who are keen to see Bootle's political profile raised.  The decision is likely to be clarified within weeks when the local party meets to decide its next moves. 


The safest of seats

This was the 2010 General Election Result which showed Bootle as one of the safest Labour seats in the country.... 

Benton, Joe Lab 27426 66.44% -4.6%

Murray, James LD 6245 15.13% -1.4%

Qureshi, Sohail Con 3678 8.91% 1.5%

Nuttall, Paul UKIP 2514 6.09% 2.8%

Stewart, Charles BNP 942 2.28%

Glover, Pete TUSC 472 1.14%

Majority 21181 51.31%

Turnout 41277 57.79%

Electorate 71422

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