ONE of the runners in Labour’s parliamentary selection contest in Holborn and St Pancras looks to be out of the race just a week after the official firing gun was fired. Italian-born NHS worker and campaigner Ivana Bartoletti, whose interest in the constituency brought a dimension to the contest, said hold-ups to her naturalisation application at the Home Office are likely to rule her out. You have to be a British citizen, or eligible Commonwealth citizen, to stand for the Commons. Here’s her letter to supporters:
As you know, I declared an interest in replacing Frank Dobson MP as the next parliamentary candidate for Holborn and St Pancras. I have been working for six years here in the constituency at NHS Protect, and I campaigned here during the European elections – helping Labour achieve the best European result since 1974.
Sadly, it appears that I will not be able to enter the selection as my naturalisation process has been caught up in the delays at the Home Office. In August I was reassured that there was no problem and that my application would be processed by the usual six months deadline, which encouraged me to crack on and declare an interest in the seat. However, the deadline has passed and on Saturday I received a letter from the Home Office informing me that it is still dealing with my application.
For me, applying for British nationality is a very emotional thing – it is not just about papers. Britain is where I chose to move to, live, raise my son, find work and contribute all I could to society. I am proud to work protecting Britain’s greatest institution, the NHS, its staff and the public resources that sustain it.
I look forward to the time when I will be able to bring my story, and my commitment to Britain and to Labour to the British Parliament. For Labour to thrive, we need new ideas and passion – and we also need our Labour politicians to look like the communities we wish to represent. This is what I do day after day with the Fabian Women’s Network, enriching the wider Labour movement and opening up politics to people from every walk of life. I want to help restore faith in politics, and demonstrate that people – acting together – can change the way things work in our country.
I look forward to working with you in the months ahead – so we can return Britain and London to Labour, and once again play a key role at home, in Europe and the world.
Chair of the Fabian Women’s Network