Ashfield Labour selects candidate for next general election

Battle lines have been drawn to become Ashfield's next MP after the Labour Party announced its candidate for the next general election.

Natalie Fleet will represent the party at the upcoming election, whenever that may be, replacing incumbent Gloria De Piero who revealed she will not stand again this time around.

Ms De Piero, who currently represents Ashfield and Eastwood for Labour, cited the pressures of being "caught in the crossfire of debates about Brexit" and the future direction of the party, when she made the announcement in July.

Ms Fleet was selected by Ashfield Labour members on October 20 and will lead the party into the upcoming election - which is expected to be called between now and the end of 2019.

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The Labour candidate says she is "one of Ashfield's own" and is not prepared to see the district get "left behind".

She said: "I was born here in Ashfield in 1984, the year of the Miners' Strike, right at the coalface. The men in the family worked down in the pits, the women in the textile industry.

"By the time I was a teenager, the Tories had decimated both and left our communities in ruin.

"I left school with GCSE's and a new born baby, and I had just turned 16. I was lucky that a change of government led to a change of opportunity.

"I was lucky that I could find a minimum wage job to help me support my family. And there was a Sure Start centre on our estate that could help us all get on.

"But we're quickly seeing that progress undone and it often feels that areas like ours in the Midlands are being totally left behind."

She added: "I'm one of Ashfield's own, a fighter. And I want to take that fight to Parliament.

"I started supporting our community when I was volunteering at Ashfield's Citizen's Advice Bureau.

"I've since campaigned against the closure of my son's Sure Start nursery, the closure of our NHS walk-in centre, and campaigning against cuts to funding for my kid's school.

"I'm not the kind of person who stays quiet in the face of injustice. And I'm not prepared to see Ashfield left behind."

Natalie was one of two people shortlisted for the Labour candidacy, during an all-women shortlist enforced by the party.

Her selection follows news that Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of the Ashfield Independents and leader of Ashfield District Council, will be standing for parliament.

Coun Lee Anderson, who represents the Oakham ward on Mansfield District Council for the Conservatives and who formerly represented Huthwaite and Brierley for both Labour and the Conservatives in Ashfield, will represent the Tories.

While Martin Daubney, former editor of men's lifestyle magazine Loaded and current member of the European parliament, will represent the Brexit Party.

Gloria De Piero said: "Natalie is Ashfield-born and bred and she will be the most amazing voice for our community. I will be working as hard as I can to get her to parliament."