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By Jonathan Isaby

Picture 16 Labour have still had to scrabble around to find candidates to stand in a number of seats at this year's local elections.

Figures which I will share later this afternoon show that Miliband's party are still failing to field candidates for nearly three in ten available seats.

But for the time being, anecdotal evidence reaches me from the Forest of Dean – where all seats are up for election this year, four years after they were last contested in 2007 – of the lengths to which Labour has had to go to get a Labour name on the ballot paper.

For the Labour candidate for Tibberton ward is one Jan Royall, better known in SW1 as The Rt Hon the Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Leader of her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the House of Lords.

A former aide to Neil Kinnock, she was in Gordon Brown's Cabinet as Leader of the Lords until eleven months ago.

The Tibberton seat was automatically won in 2007 by Jane Horne for the Conservatives in the absence of any other candidate.

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