RUMOURS that broadcaster and historian Tristram Hunt could be in line for the Labour candidacy in Wanstead have been met with scepticism by party insiders.

The Guardian reported yesterday that Mr Hunt, who has worked for Labour in its last three election campaigns, is now the preferred candidate to take up incumbent Harry Cohen’s mantle.

But Labour activists have met the news with scepticism and disappointment, after it was revealed union leader and husband of Harriet Harman Jack Dromey was no longer in the running.

One insider said: “Dromey was bad – this is even worse."

The insider added that she believed Mr Hunt would not fare well in some of the more deprived areas of the constituency.

Interviews to shortlist candidates will take place on Thursday and the shortlist is expected to be officially announced then.

Leyton and Wanstead Labour party secretary Richard Wilkins is rumoured to be a possible candidate, along with two local councillors from neighbouring borough Waltham Forest.

The constituency is the last in London without a selected Labour candidate, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have already been campaigning for several months.

The vacancy opened up when Harry Cohen announced he was quitting Parliament in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal.