LABOUR'S last parliamentary candidate has ruled herself out the snap General Election, we can reveal.
Councillor Joy Squires, who went up against Robin Walker two years ago, says she will not be putting her name forward to contest the shock June 8 poll.
It came as:
- The General Election starting gun was officially fired yesterday as MPs overwhelmingly approved it in the Commons by 522 votes to 13
- Worcester Green Party called Theresa May's move "shambolic" and "a waste of taxpayer's money"
- UKIP's former Worcester parliamentary candidate James Goad said he would not contest the Worcester seat, with MEP James Carver and the party's justice spokesman Peter Jewell eyeing it up
- Worcester MP Robin Walker hailed the Commons' backing as "decisive"
Cllr Squires polled 16,888 votes in Worcester in 2015, an increase of 512 on what ex-Labour city MP Mike Foster got in 2010, but was unable to defeat Robin Walker.
Labour's decision-making National Executive Committee is expected to ask all its branches to allow defeated 2015 candidates chance to stand again, but yesterday she said it was time for "someone else".
"I won't be putting myself forward, I put an awful lot of energy into the last campaign," she said.
"I've now established myself on the city council (as deputy leader), I'm very happy in that role.
"It's an opportunity for someone else to come forward and I'll be giving them my fullest possible support as well as the benefit of my experience."
Last year we revealed how Cllr Squires said she would not contest the next general election, but that was based on its original expected date of 2020.
UKIP's James Goad, who came third with 6,378 votes in 2015, also ruled himself out yesterday, saying it was due to the expense and work-related reasons.
Worcester-based UKIP MEP James Carver, who has had offers to stand around the country, said he was "keeping all options open" while Peter Jewell, who is close to ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage, said he would almost certainly contest a seat "somewhere in Worcestershire" but had not decided which one.
"It's been suggested I look at seats outside of Worcestershire, but I'll almost certainly go for one in the county," he said.
"I'd be fine with Mid-Worcestershire but equally Worcester, Redditch or Bromsgrove."
Worcester Green Party met last night where Councillor Louis Stephen told activists he wanted to stand again.
He said: "I've put my hat into the ring but it's up to the members to decide, probably within a week.
"But the whole thing stinks, this will interfere with the local elections and Theresa May has lost the opportunity to hole the General Election on the same day, wasting taxpayers' money.
"It's shambolic and pure opportunism."
All six Conservative MPs in Worcestershire have confirmed they will contest their seats.
Worcester MP Robin Walker called yesterday's parliamentary decision "pretty decisive" while West Worcestershire Harriett Baldwin said voters should make their choice based on "leadership".
"The choice facing the country at this election is all about leadership," she said.
Yesterday 325 Conservative MPs voted for the June 8 election, as well as 174 from Labour and eight Lib Dem, alongside a handful from the other parties.
There are 229 Labour MPs in total, meaning many of them chose to abstain, with the party's ratings dismally poor.
The backing from MPs was well above the 'two-thirds majority' needed under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to hold an early General Election.