Is Gary Neville being groomed for Parliament?

Next month Gary Neville will host a gala dinner in Manchester alongside Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The invite sent to the party faithful promises ‘an entertaining evening filled with food, drink and a Q&A with the Labor Party’s newest high profile member!’ as well as Sir Keir and members of his shadow cabinet.

The bulletin arrived just a few days after Kate Green announced she would not be seeking re-election for Labor in the Stretford and Urmston seat at the next general election, due in 2024.

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Some party members suspect Neville, 46, from Bury, is being groomed for Parliament, perhaps in the soon-to-be vacant Stretford and Urmston constituency.

Supporters of the Labor leader of Trafford Council since 2018, Coun Andrew Western, believe he is also a strong candidate but fear that, nationally, the party may be tempted to parachute in someone with a national profile.

Gary Neville took to social media to admit that he was wrong
Gary Neville became a pundit after his football career

Only last month Neville – an eloquent former Manchester United captain turned pundit and successful businessman – revealed he had become a member of the Labor party.

This was no great surprise to fans, who knew him as an unofficial ‘shop steward’ representing fellow players particularly while on England duty.

Should Gary Neville run for Parliament? Have your say below

He insisted last month he simply wanted to support the party but openly discussed entering political life. He played it down but equally did not rule it out – and nor did he rule out one day standing for mayor of Greater Manchester.

On Saturday, during a Q&A before United’s match ostensibly about football at Hotel Football, which he co-owns, fans noted how he spent much of the time talking politics.

Even before he joined the party, Neville had become a vocal critic of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, particularly to his five million followers on Twitter.

Perhaps he will reveal more when he shares top billing with Sir Keir at in the Grand Suite of Vermillion restaurant in Manchester on March 24 for the gala dinner.

The email invite sent to Labor party members across the north west is headed ‘gala dinner with Keir Starmer and Gary Neville’, and offers ‘discounted’ tickets at £70 per person or £650 per table.

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One party insider, who will be there, told the MEN: “Whilst Andrew (Western) is undoubtedly a strong candidate with an excellent record as leader of Trafford Council, Neville could provide the star quality and charisma that the party desperately needed at the moment .

“Andrew is clearly the best qualified candidate for the vacancy and it would be unwise to forego his experience in favor of a less competent candidate, however well known.”

Asked last month if he would now answer the call from Sir Kier to run as a Labor candidate, Neville told the BBC: “I don’t know, at the moment… no.

“I’ll just continue to do this I think, people would say ‘why are you using your influence to try and turn people?’

“Actually, at this moment in time I would go more quiet if this current regime that’s in, left.”

The Labor party has been approached for a comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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