Labour has officially launched its search for a candidate to fight the Blackpool North and Cleveleys seat at the 2015 general election.
Grassroots party chiefs say they have already had interest from 10 potential candidates for the marginal seat, and predict that could rise to 20.
Sitting Tory MP Paul Maynard snatched the constituency from Labour at the last general election in 2010 with a majority of 2,150.
He beat off a bid from Labour’s Penny Martin after previous MP, Labour’s Joan Humble, stood down from Parliament.
Jack Croysdill, chairman of Blackpool North and Cleveleys Constituency Labour Party, said: “We believe we can win it back and we will be working hard towards that with whoever is selected.”
A shortlist will be drawn up in early July and party members will be invited to hustings before the candidate is selected. Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has already ruled himself out of the running, saying he wants to concentrate on his Town Hall duties.Instead he is backing Chris Webb, who has announced his candidature.
The 27-year-old, who has worked for MPs including Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, is a member of Unite, the GMB and the Co-op Party. Coun Blackburn said: “I have known Chris for more than a decade. His commitment to both Blackpool and the Labour Party is unrivalled.”
Candidates have until June 13 to apply.