Ex-Labour MP and public affairs consultant Candy Atherton dies
Atherton entered the Commons in 1997 and set up her own agency after leaving.
The former Labour MP and public affairs consultant Candy Atherton has died aged 62
Atherton was elected as MP for Falmouth and Camborne at the 1997 general election beating Conservative Sebastian Coe.
She was the first person selected as a candidate from an all-female shortlist and was among the 101 women Labour MPs elected in 1997 dubbed the "Blair Babes".
Atherton held the marginal seat for eight years, but lost in 2005 to Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy. The seat has since been abolished.
After leaving the Commons, Atherton joined Weber Shandwick to boost its lobbying efforts in the south west of England. "The South-West is a massive region that is ill-served. We propose to operate within the region and take its case to Westminster,' said Weber Shandwick public affairs managing director Jon McLeod at the time.
But soon afterwards the ex-MP set up her own public affairs agency, Atherton Associates. The Cornwall-based agency joined the Association of Professional Political Consultants in 2007 and often listed Inland Waterways Association as its only client. The agency dropped off the register in 2011.
Atherton returned to politics when she was elected to Cornwall Council in 2013.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "I'm sad to hear of the sudden death of Candy Atherton. Candy was a proud champion of Cornwall."
The party's deputy leader Tom Watson stated: "Very sad to read that Candy Atherton has died. She was very kind to me when I was first elected. My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones."
Connect Communications managing partner and former Labour MP Andy Sawford said Atherton was "a kind person and a good representative for Labour as an MP and recently a councillor".
Picture by: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/PA Images