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Labour hopefuls looking to become Norwich North’s next MP to contest hustings

Alex Mayer MEP speaking at an event with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Picture: IAN BURT

Alex Mayer MEP speaking at an event with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Picture: IAN BURT

Archant 2017

Contenders hoping to be one of the city’s next MPs are to battle it out for the right to represent Labour in one of the party’s key target seats.

Beth Jones. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY Beth Jones. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Party members in the constituency - which is currently held by Conservative Chloe Smith with a slender majority of 507 votes - are to attend a hustings today (Saturday, December 16), where they will hear from each of the three hopefuls.

The candidates hoping to become the party’s parliamentary candidate and ultimately the area’s MP include Alex Mayer, currently a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the East of England and long-term party activist in the region.

She will be up against Karen Davis, 44, who has been Norwich city councillor for the Town Close ward since 2016 and has pledged on her campaign website too “campaign tirelessly to unseat Chloe Smith in Norwich North”.

The final candidate shortlisted is Beth Jones, also a Norwich city councillor for the University ward and currently vice-president of Norwich Labour Party.

Karen Davis. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY Karen Davis. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The hustings takes place in St Andrew’s and Blackfriar’s Hall, St George’s Street, Norwich, where each candidate will be given an opportunity to speak to members and then take questions.

People will then be given the chance to vote, although they don’t have to attend the hustings to do so.

Controversy was caused when the selection panel decided not to shortlisted prominent Norfolk campaigner Jo Rust, who had narrowly missed out to Jessica Asato on being selected as parliamentary candidate for Norwich North in 2015.

Mrs Rust’s supporters claim she was the favourite candidate in each ward branch and was backed by four trade unions, three of which are officially affiliated to the CLP.

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

But her name was not on the final shortlist, which protestors believe “rides roughshod over those principles and makes a mockery of the idea of a member-led Labour Party”.

That prompted her supporters to write a letter of protest, which has been signed the writer Owen Jones and former city MP Ian Gibson.

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