LABOUR has chosen its parliamentary candidate for Durham, following Robert Blackman-Woods’ announcement she would not stand for re-election as the city’s MP at the next election.

The party this morning confirmed that Mary Foy will be its parliamentary candidate for the City of Durham constituency in the next general election.

Following the announcement, she said: “The next general election could be at any time and we are ready for it whenever it comes. I’m thrilled to have been selected by the local members to fight for Labour here in City of Durham.

“Roberta Blackman-Woods has been an excellent MP and it would be an honour to continue her great work. My main priority now is to be out and about talking to voters campaigning tirelessly to keep a Labour MP here.

“Throughout my life I have seen the worst impacts of Tory policies with cuts to vital public services. This includes police being cut from our streets and neglect of our NHS which has been pushed into crisis.  I know that only a Labour Government can bring the change we need to make people’s lives better.”

Councillor Foy has been a Labour member for 30 years, is chair of Blaydon Constituency Labour Party and a trade unionist.

She was elected to Gateshead Council in 2006, representing the Lamesley ward, and was appointed to the cabinet in 2009, where she holds the portfolio for health and wellbeing.

She was chosen from an all-women shortlist which included Durham County Councillor Maura McKeon, who represents the Coxhoe ward and is chairwoman of the Durham Women’s Gala group; nurse Angela Hankin, Durham Constituency Labour Party vice-chair and co-founder of Durham Labour Left; and Taiwo Owatemi, a pharmacist from London.

Ms Blackman-Woods, who has represented the constituency since 2005, announced over the summer she would not fight another election, citing “largely personal reasons”.

Ms Blackman-Woods retained her seat at the last general election in 2017 with a majority of more than 12,364 votes.