End of family dream as Wise scraps MP bid

Valerie Wise
Valerie Wise
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The daughter of a former Preston MP has withdrawn from running in the General Election.

Valerie Wise has pulled out of the race to be named Preston’s next parliamentarian, less than three weeks before the city’s voters go to the polls.

Mrs Wise, the daughter of the late Audrey Wise and the director of Preston Women’s Refuge, had been standing as a candidate for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

A party spokesman was unable to confirm the reason for her withdrawing, but it is believed work commitments were a factor.

He said: “It’s been confirmed that Val Wise is not standing in the General Election.”

Mrs Wise, a former leader of Preston Council and the director of Preston Women’s Refuge, announced in May last year that she would stand as an independent in the Westminster elections on an anti-sleaze ticket, in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

She promised that she would give voters an alternative to the three mainstream parties, including Preston MP Mark Hendrick, who paid back £6,850 taxpayers’ cash he overclaimed on his second home allowance.

Speaking at the time, she said: “I want a return to honest politics and give the people of Preston a real choice.

“They feel betrayed by all the major parties.

“If someone living in a normal home in Preston overclaimed benefits, they would come down on them like a tonne of bricks.

“I have given it a lot of thought and now I feel the time is right to do this.

“We have the people running the country and those who want to run it showing us they are incapable of doing the simplest things.

“I want to be the sort of MP who stands up for ordinary people in Preston.”

Mrs Wise, who quit the Labour party in 2006 over the war in Iraq, later confirmed her intention to run for TUSC.

However, the party, which is against the war in Afghanistan and service cuts and has a number of candidates standing in the north west, revealed late last week that Mrs Wise had pulled out of running for them.

Mrs Wise’s mother Audrey served as Preston’s Labour MP until she died at the age of 65 in September 2000, following a battle with a brain tumour.

Valerie worked for her mother during her time in parliament, including filing her expenses claims, and said she would have been “utterly appalled” by the expenses scandal.

Labour’s Mark Hendrick was voted in at a by-election in 2000 and has held the seat since then.

Mrs Wise’s withdrawal from the running leaves voters with four candidates on their ballot papers on May 6.

Mr Hendrick will be running against the Conservative Nerissa Warner-O’Neill, the Liberal Democrats’ Mark Jewell and the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) Richard Muirhead.

Mrs Wise could not be reached for comment.