Candice Kathleen Atherton

Candy Atherton

Candice Kathleen Atherton (born 21 September 1955), known as Candy Atherton, is a former British politician.

She served as a councillor in the London Borough of Islington and was Mayor in 1989/90.

She worked with ex-offenders and co-wrote a book on housing for single homeless people in north London.

She chaired the Women's and Disability Committees of both Islington and the Association of London Labour Authorities. She co-founded Everywoman magazine - a post feminist women's magazine in the 1980s.

Candy stood for Labour in the 1992 General Election in Chesham and Amersham increasing the Labour share by 18%

She worked for the Labour Party and UNISON before being selected to fight the three way marginal seat of Falmouth and Camborne - the first all women shortlist in the country. However, such shortlists were a breach of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act and thus illegal at the time . Coming from third place to first she was elected an MP in 1997 Member of Parliament for Falmouth and Camborne for the Labour Party from 1997 to 2005.

She doubled her majority in the 2001 General Election having successfully campaigned for Objective One for Cornwall, for the national minimum wage and for a university in Cornwall.

She spearheaded the campaign to open a Minor Injuries Unit in Camborne Redruth Hospital - now used by more than 12,000 people a year.

At the 2005 General Election, Atherton lost her seat to Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy by a majority of 1,886. Ms Goldsworthy was accused of a dirty tricks campaign against Atherton because she put a photo of the MP, who is obese, on election literature. Atherton accused Goldsworthy of turning the campoign into a beauty contest.

She lives in Cornwall with her Cornish husband Brod, a learning disabled dog called Nelson and three chickens - called Demelza, Victoria and Scarlett.

She is a Board member since 2005 of the Housing Corporation and chair's the government's Rural Housing Advisory Panel - which advises the government on rural housing.

She founded Atherton Associates - a public affairs company and has worked for British Waterways, the Inland Waterways Association and with Weber Shandwick Public Affairs.


Atherton was accused of homophobia after asking a gay aide to dig up dirt on her Conservative Party shadow Ashley Crossley with the aim of having him de-selected. The aide, Paul Phillips resigned and claimed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. An employment tribunal dismissed the claim however because it had been lodged too late and thus could not legally be heard. Candy Atherton's record of voting in the House of Commons was supportive of gay rights, although she failed to attend or vote in the majority of gay rights related debates


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