A WOMAN whose family fled apartheid in South Africa when she was a baby is to fight for a place in Parliament.
Janet Oosthuysen has been chosen as Labour candidate for Calder Valley – which includes Brighouse and Elland – at the next general election.
The current MP, Chris McCafferty, plans to retire at the next election.
Ms Oosthuysen, a mother-of-three, beat four other would-be candidates, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s mother-in-law, Stephanie Booth.
Ms Oosthuysen, who lives in Hebden Bridge, said: “It’s an honour to be selected.
“I’m really pleased that party members have chosen to put their faith in me.
“I will be campaigning from now until the general election on all the issues that matter to local people, such as making streets safer, improving our schools and hospitals and taking action to help people who are feeling the pinch.”
Ms McCafferty, who has been MP for Calder Valley since 1997, welcomed the choice of Ms Oosthuysen.
She said: “I am giving Janet my wholehearted endorsement.
“During my time as Calder Valley MP Labour have achieved a lot, but we know there is more to do.
“I believe Janet is the best person to take this work forward.”
Ms Oosthuysen defeated Ms Booth, Huddersfield woman Kerry May, London-based lawyer Ann Moore-Williams and Bury trade unionist Jane Lewis.
The shortlist was women-only, in line with Labour’s policy that retiring female MPs can’t be replaced by men.
Ms Oosthuysen was born in Durban in 1961.
Her family, who were anti-apartheid activists, fled to England when she was just three months old.
In 1998 she moved to Hebden Bridge and became a teacher in local schools.
Ms Oosthuysen now runs her own catering business and serves on Hebden Royd Town Council.