Battle lines drawn in Penistone and Stocksbridge as Labour chooses candidate to replace MP Angela Smith

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Fox Valley Shopping Centre, Stocksbridge, Sheffield. Pictured Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with Miriam Cates, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Penistone & Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire, and Mark Dransfield, Owner of Fox Valley Shopping Centre, and MD of Dransfield Properties.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Fox Valley Shopping Centre, Stocksbridge, Sheffield. Pictured Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with Miriam Cates, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Penistone & Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire, and Mark Dransfield, Owner of Fox Valley Shopping Centre, and MD of Dransfield Properties.
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A youth and community worker has been chosen as Labour's candidate for the key Yorkshire marginal seat of Penistone and Stocksbridge at the next General Election.

Francyne Johnson, a Sheffield city councillor, was chosen yesterday by local party members to defend Labour's 1,322 vote majority in the constituency which takes in former industrial towns, rural villages and parts of the Peak District National Park.

The area's MP Angela Smith quit the Labour Party earlier this year to join Change UK and has since joined the Liberal Democrats. She will stand in Altrincham and Sale West at the next General Election.

Read more: My Brexit journey from Labour to the Lib Dems and remaining in the EU – Angela Smith MP

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The Conservative candidate for the seat is Miriam Cates, a one-time science teacher who works as finance director at a software company and serves as a parish councillor for Oughtibridge.

The Sheffield mother-of-three has had some high profile backing in recent weeks, doing a walkabout with Boris Johnson when he visited South Yorkshire and sitting next to him at party conference during a speech by Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Tory hopes for winning the seat, which voted 61-39 in favour of Brexit in the 2016 referendum, will be high after winning nearly 9,000 more votes in the 2017 election than in 2015, following a collapse of the Ukip vote.

Labour candidate Ms Johnson wrote on her website that she "grew up in a working class, single-parent family in social housing". She adds: "I have lived the consequences of Tory austerity - and I believe it is crucial that our party elects more MPs from working class backgrounds."

Other confirmed candidates include Liberal Democrat Hannah Kitching, a councillor for Penistone West in Barnsley Council who, along with her husband owns a manufacturing firm exporting steel products.

The Brexit Party's candidate is John Booker, who hit the headlines earlier this year after sharing and liking a series of Islamophobic Facebook posts, while Richard Trotman will be standinf for the Green Party.