Michael Taylor throws his hat into the political ring

FORMER business journalist Michael Taylor is to stand as a Labour candidate at next year’s general election.

Mr Taylor, a regular event host and ardent blogger, was editorial director of the business title Insider from 2000-12. He will contest the Hazel Grove constituency in Stockport after winning the party’s selection this week.

He has a tough task on his hands with Labour in third place at the last election. The seat has been held since 1997 by Liberal Democrat Andrew Stunell who secured 20,500 votes at the last election, ahead of the Conservatives on 14,100 and Labour on 5,200. The party was represented at the time by Pannone lawyer Richard Scorer.

These voting patterns could be unsettled by the growing popularity of UKIP which might benefit Labour by splitting the vote.

And Mr Taylor, who lives within the constituency in Marple, believes disillusion with the coalition government will help him break the dominance of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. This is partly sustained by a belief that a vote for Labour is wasted because Hazel Grove has always been a two horse race.

He said: “We’ve got to break that habit of a lifetime and show that Labour means business in Hazel Grove and is not only capable of taking control of the council next year but could make a serious dent in the prospects of two parties that think they’ve got the whole thing sewn up.”

Mr Taylor has been active in the constituency for some time, writing the Marple Leaf blog and campaigning on a number of local issues. He said he made the decision to throw his hat in the ring after receiving encouragement from neighbouring MP Jonathan Reynolds and Mr Scorer, the previous candidate.

He said: “In places like Hazel Grove people are suffering with poor infrastructure investment, low wages, and hospital waiting times. People who work in the public sector are facing unemployment.”

He added: “The Northern powerhouse idea was driven by Labour leaders and devolution has been demanded by Northern Labour politicians, and post-Scotland we’ve got to be assertive about what we in the North can achieve.”

Since leaving Insider Mr Taylor has set up his own company called Think More which runs events and provides content to clients such as telecoms firm Daisy and the Institute of Chartered  Accountants. He is also the chairman of the Manchester branch of business networking group Downtown and is a director of Bury pensions firm Liberty Sipp.

The other candidates are: Lisa Smart for the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative William Wragg and Darran Palmer representing UKIP.