Labour hopeful racing to get UK citizenship to stand as Frank Dobson replacement
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The official starting gun is yet to sound for the Labour race to replace outgoing Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson but for one prospective candidate, the contest could begin too soon.
Italian-born Ivana Bartoletti, who announced her intention to stand for Labour to replace Mr Dobson in August, is racing to obtain British citizenship before the end of the month when, the Ham&High understands, Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party will open the application process for prospective parliamentary candidates.
Under Electoral Commission rules, parliamentary candidates must be British citizens or eligible Commonwealth citizens to stand and Ms Bartoletti currently meets neither requirement.
The Fabian Society activist, who settled in London from Italy in 2008, told the Ham&High she applied for British citizenship in April and was told she would have a decision by the end of last month, but has yet to receive a response.
But she insists she is hopeful the Home Office will process her application in time.
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“It is a matter of process and being caught up in delays at the Home Office,” said the mother-of-one. “I’ve got faith that they will sort out all the delays.
“It’s a privilege to become a citizen in the place I work and live. It’s a very emotional thing. This is the face of modern Britain.”
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Under Home Office rules, successful applicants for British citizenship must have lived in the UK for five years - criteria Ms Bartoletti appears to satisfy.
The Ham&High understands Ms Bartoletti, a Hackney resident, has been pressing her MP Diane Abbott to ensure a resolution to the citizenship claim as soon as possible.
Former CPS chief Sir Keir Starmer, Camden Council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward and former leader Raj Chada, all considered frontrunners in the Holborn and St Pancras battle, will no doubt keep a watchful eye on Ms Bartoletti’s race.