IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Lawyer picked to stand in Two Cities contest

08 November, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Gordon Nardell QC

LABOUR’S new candidate in a key election battleground has dismissed two-time defector Chuka Umunna’s hopes of winning the seat for the Liberal Democrats.

Human rights barrister Gordon Nardell QC was selected by the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee, to stand in Cities of London and Westminster, the constituency often referred to simply as Two Cities.

His appointment comes after the original candidate Steven Saxby stepped down.

Two Cities will be one of the ones to watch on the December 12 election night because Labour and the Lib Dems both say they can gain the seat from the Tories.

Conservative Mark Field, who was caught up in controversy this summer when he frog­marched a female environmental protester out of a Mansion House dinner, is stepping down as MP and his party will instead field Westminster Council leader Nickie Aiken as their candidate.

Mr Umunna, meanwhile, is a newcomer to the seat, having abandoned Streatham, where he had previously served as a Labour MP. He quit Labour to help form The Independent Group and Change UK.

After the new group failed to make an impact at the European elections, Mr Umunna changed course again, leaving Change UK and later joining the Lib Dems.

Mr Nardell told the Tribune: “The 2017 general election proved that this isn’t a safe Conservative seat any more. It’s a close race between Labour and the Tories, just 3,000 votes apart. People who need a Labour government now recognise that their vote will make a real difference.

The Lib Dems have no chance. People know that if they want a change of govern­ment, that means voting Labour.”

He added: “In the past few days hundreds of members and supporters have been out knocking on doors with me in the cold and wet.

“We are the only major party offering a democratic solution to the Brexit impasse that the Tories’ arbitrary red lines have created.”

The barrister at Twenty Essex Chambers left his role as an executive director of legal affairs for the party ahead of a BBC Panorama documentary which was critical of the way Labour handled anti-Semitism claims within the party.

The Green candidate in Two Cities is Zack Polanski.

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