OUTGOING Keighley and Ilkley MP John Grogan has been selected to stand again as the Labour Party’s candidate in the forthcoming General Election.

All six local branches of the Labour Party backed his candidature.

He said: "Keighley and Ilkley is always a close run contest between Labour and the Conservatives. Five times since the war the winning majority in Keighley (which Ilkley joined up with in 1983) has been closer than a thousand votes.

"When I first knocked on doors for the Labour Party in Keighley in 1979 Bob Cryer won the seat for Labour by just 78 votes."

Mr Grogan said his immediate local priorities if re-elected would include reversing the Government’s decision to turn down Airedale Hospital's bid for a replacement ward block; continuing to support the campaign to stop sewage being discharged into the River Wharfe and obtaining the finance for a crossing over the main road between Silsden and the Railway Station.

Keighley and Ilkley Labour Party Chairman Adrian Farley said: "John has been a hard working MP. He is always accessible and approachable. We need to keep him working for local people."

John Grogan will launch his campaign at a meeting at Cougar Park which is the home of Keighley Cougars Rugby League Club on Friday evening.

The Chairman of Keighley Cougars Mick 0’Neill is supporting his candidature and said: "When Keighley Cougars needed help and were on the brink of extinction John Grogan was there to help us out. He is the man for Keighley."

Local Ilkley environmental campaigner Professor Becky Malby said: "John Grogan has been an excellent MP for Ilkley. He takes time to understand Ilkley's issues, and works hard on our behalf both locally and representing our views nationally. He has brought us all together on issues we care and are concerned about from securing a clean river to defending our library and local public services. He is a proactive, visible, caring MP, and we need to keep him."