ANDREW Pelling has failed in a bid to return to national politics only months after being selected to run in next May's local elections. The ex-Conservative MP made the shortlist to run for Labour in Carshalton & Wallington but was beaten by Hackney teacher Siobhan Tate from Islington. Mr Pelling's former party said the attempt raised questions about his commitment to Waddon, where he was selected to stand last June. Labour leader Tony Newman told the Advertiser he had no issue with Mr Pelling's decision and claimed the Conservatives were "running scared" of the former Croydon Central MP. Mr Pelling finished second in the two-strong shortlist put before party members in Carshalton & Wallington last Wednesday. Ms Tate will now stand against Liberal Democrat Tom Brake. Dick Smith, spokesman for the constituency, said: "It was a difficult decision for the selection committee. There were two very strong candidates but we selected Siobhan. "Whoever ends up with Andrew Pelling will be doing very well." The Advertiser understands that, had he been selected, Mr Pelling hoped to be both a Croydon councillor as well as an MP. He has been an active campaigner in Sutton since joining Labour in March 2011 and the borough borders Waddon, sharing issues such as the planned incinerator in Beddington Lane. Mr Newman, who said he had not been consulted before Mr Pelling stood, said: "I know Andrew felt that, because of the cross-border issues, [being an MP] would be an extra platform in terms of the campaign. "From what he said to me he thought combining the two would add to his voice." Cllr Phil Thomas, deputy chairman of Croydon Conservatives, said his former colleague had betrayed his priorities. He said: "Andrew Pelling is a career politician. He is only interested in furthering his own career. "This shows he is not interested or committed to representing the people of Waddon. If he was, he would not be putting his name forward for Parliamentary seats in other parts of London. "I'm sure the people of Waddon won't be impressed with his latest antics." Mr Newman replied: "The Conservatives are running scared in Waddon and they are terrified of Andrew's candidacy. "If it was a seat up in Manchester or Cambridge then maybe, but the fact it was parallel to Croydon and there are a number of issues that cross the border then I think a strong case could be made for combining the two. "When I look at the work our 'dream team' are doing and the results they are getting on the doorsteps of Waddon I'm not surprised the Conservatives are running scared and clutching at straws." In a statement emailed to the Advertiser today (Monday) Mr Pelling praised Ms Tate, adding that she would "bring back a lot of Labour voters to the fold".
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