New Labour candidate for Nottingham North selected

Councillor Alex Norris (left), Labour's candidate for Nottingham North, with MP Graham Allen, who is stepping down after 30 years.
Councillor Alex Norris (left), Labour's candidate for Nottingham North, with MP Graham Allen, who is stepping down after 30 years.

City councillor Alex Norris will stand as Labour’s candidate for Nottingham North in this June’s general election, as incumbent Graham Allen steps down after 30 years as an MP.

Speaking after the selection, cllr Norris said: “Nottingham is my home. It’s where I live and work and I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for June’s general election.

“Over the last 20 years Graham Allen has been an outstanding local MP, working hard to represent local people, and he will be remembered for his dedication to Nottingham North and his work on campaigns such as early intervention and voter registration.

“He leaves big shoes to fill, but I am ready for the challenge ahead and will work tirelessly between now and June to let local people know that this general election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of Nottingham North or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few.

“This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk.

“People here in Nottingham North need a local representative that will put them first. They need a Labour MP who will stand up for them. Someone who will ensure our local hospitals are given the funding they need to look after you.

“Someone who will fight to ensure our schools have the funding they need to deliver good teaching in every school and someone who will work hard to ensure that we get a Brexit that protects local jobs and workers’ rights.

“I’m proud of my record as a local councillor. During that time we’ve redeveloped Basford Hall College as a construction centre of excellence. We’ve improved our local parks. We’ve delivered on our priories of clean and safe streets.

“That’s the message that I will be taking out to the people of Nottingham North over the coming weeks.”

Mr Allen said: “I welcome the appointment of cllr Alex Norris as Labour’s Candidate for Nottingham North in June’s general election.

“I have known Alex for years and I can say he is the person I would have chosen to replace me, so I am absolutely delighted. We asked for a local person and we’ve got one - he lives in the constituency and represents the area on the city council, I know that if elected, he will put this area first and will be a committed and local MP – that’s what Nottingham North deserves.

“I will be out and about from tomorrow, joining Alex on the campaign trail and I am looking forward to helping put him in Parliament on June 8.”

Mr Allen has said stepping down as a Labour MP was “the hardest decision of my life”.

The 64-year-old said a recent ankle operation and “extended periods” of ill health meant he did not feel he could serve for a further five years.

Several well-known MPs, including Sir Eric Pickles and Alan Johnson, have said they are standing down ahead of the snap general election, announced by PM Theresa May last week

In a letter to constituents he wrote: “I would have enthusiastically completed the rest of the Parliament to 2020. However, the certainty of continuing at the pace and standards that I set myself for a further full five-year term cannot be guaranteed.”

The former warehouse worker won the Nottingham North seat in 1987 and successfully defended it in six general elections.

Mr Allen has served as a senior whip and earlier this decade chaired a select committee on political and constitutional reform.

Amongst the proudest moments of his political career was organising a vote against the Iraq War and helping his constituents.

He said: “It’s thousands of small victories that make a big difference to the people and their families. I’ve always been focused on Nottingham North and I will continue to do that. I feel like the area needs an MP who can give 100 percent and I didn’t want to do it at half pace.

“Having been the organiser of the vote against the Iraq War I found it very hard to find people who were against it, and now it’s hard to find people who thought it was a good idea.

“I was in Tony Blair’s shadow cabinet and a frontbench spokesman but I feel like he will be remembered by that now, which is a shame because he did a lot of good.

“They never found any weapons of mass destruction and that war opened the door for religious extremism and religious wars and that is now having an impact on the West.”