A FATHER-OF-THREE from London Colney has been chosen to fight the Welwyn Hatfield seat for Labour in the next general election.

Mike Hobday, 43, who lives in Telford Road, was chosen by ballot at a meeting on Saturday and will take on Conservative MP Grant Shapps.

Mr Hobday, who has two daughters and a son, is a senior campaigner for the League Against Cruel Sports.

He said: "We are shortly to learn whether Hatfield will have a new hospital and the interim reorganisation of our health services is naturally causing a lot of anxiety.

"The Labour Party will be at the forefront of the campaign for a new hospital and I will stand up for local people, whether their concerns are with the borough or county councils or with the Government.

"I will now be listening to local people about their aspirations for our country and our community. I want to explain Labour's values, our ambition for Britain and our belief that the benefits of a prosperous country should be shared with those whose needs are greatest.

"And I will be telling Government ministers what Welwyn Hatfield residents are asking for."

Mr Hobday said inflation and unemployment had fallen under Labour, and that healthcare and education had improved from massive investment.

He said: "As Labour renews itself with a new Party leader to be elected next year, I believe that we can rebuild the trust that the people of Welwyn Hatfield had with Labour in 1997 and in 2001."

Local Labour party chairman Councillor Margaret White said: "Mike was the overwhelming choice of party members. We are delighted to have such an experienced campaigner working for us. He will be an excellent member of parliament for Welwyn Hatfield."