Labour candidate sets out goal to win North Northumberland seat at election

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The Labour Party has selected charity boss David Smith to contest the new North Northumberland seat at the next General Election.

Mr Smith is currently the chief executive of Gateshead-based homelessness charity Oasis Community Housing.

The North Northumberland seat has been re-established for the next election following the 2023 boundary review of constituencies.

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It takes in the former Berwick-Upon-Tweed Constituency as well as Morpeth, which was previously in the now abolished Wansbeck seat.

North Northumberland's parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, David Smith. Photo: Labour North.North Northumberland's parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, David Smith. Photo: Labour North.
North Northumberland's parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, David Smith. Photo: Labour North.

Mr Smith was born and grew up in the west of Scotland, but has lived in Sunderland for the last 17 years.

He said: “I’m really honoured and delighted to be selected as a candidate and I’m looking forward to the campaign.

“I moved to the North East 17 years ago, I married a North East girl, I raised my family here. The North East is very much home to me.

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“I’ve spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the charity sector. Seven years ago I decided to really focus on where I live.”

Mr Smith explained why his work had pushed him to stand for public office.

He continued: “It’s been a really big part of my experience, supporting people through really difficult experiences. That really is the primary reason I have decided to enter politics.

“It has been so frustrating over the last 14 years to see the growing inequality been the haves and the have nots, seeing an increasingly large number of people people allowed to slip off the edge. We’re seeing more and more people slip into homelessness.

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“Services such as youth services or drug and alcohol services that can stop people becoming homeless either aren’t there any more or are extremely under-resourced and overstretched. The charity sector has to step in – I’ve seen that first hand.

“It’s like being an ambulance at the top of the cliff. Yes, we can do amazing things if someone falls off, but at some point wouldn’t it be better to build a fence? Only through politics can you build those fences, it was a no-brainer for me.”

Asked about his chances at the next election, Mr Smith said: “I’m genuinely taking nothing for granted, no votes have been cast yet.

“The Berwick seat has never been Labour, so it will be challenging. That being said, we have been on the doorsteps and there’s a palpable sense that people want change.”

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One of the biggest issues is the campaign to dual the A1 north of Morpeth. Mr Smith said that he would like to see the road dualled but said he would first focus on improving safety.

He continued: “Everybody knows there is a lot of work that needs to be done. In an ideal world, of course we would want that dualled, it’s something to work towards.

“The current MP has been making a lot of claims for dualling it in recent years. I would rather focus on making sure that the road is safe and we do what we can as quickly as we can to make sure the dangerous junctions are as safe as possible.”

Incumbent Berwick MP Anne Marie Trevelyan, who was first elected in 2015, will contest the seat for the Conservatives. Katherine Hales is the Reform UK candidate, while the Liberal Democrats have put forward Natalie Younes.