THE Labour Party has announced the official candidate in the running to try and beat Conservative parliamentary candidate Rishi Sunak, who is currently serving as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Thom Kirkwood, who claims they are the first non-binary person to stand as a parliamentary candidate, will stand for Richmond MP in the General Election next month.

The Quaker and trainee beekeeper who grew up in Croft, near Darlington, is currently working as a supply teacher across the county and County Durham.

Conservative Rishi Sunak, who became Member of Parliament for Richmondshire in 2015, was appointed a third most senior ministerial role after Prime Minister Boris Johnson formed his government in July.

After his selection as parliamentary candidate ahead of the December 12 General Election, Thom said: "I am immensely proud to be standing to represent the area where I live and my family roots are.

"This is a wonderful area to live, but over the last few years ordinary people have been finding it harder and harder to get by, and I am worried that it might not last."

The Labour candidate claimed small villages are "dying out" and said young people were being priced out of living in the communities they grew up in.

Thom said: "Villages like the one I live in are dying out - businesses are closing, young people are priced out of living in the communities they grew up in, and public transport routes which are a lifeline for our communities are being cut.

"Our schools are in crisis, with funding cuts forcing rural schools to face the possibility of closure and teaching to the test replacing a broad education.

"The budget squeeze and reorganisation of our NHS services and social care have been putting the fabric of the service at risk, as I've seen affecting my own family.

"Cuts to police budgets are putting our communities' safety at risk, and the force are so stretched that most people don't get the chance to know their local police officer.

“People here in Richmondshire, Northallerton, and the Great Ayton area need a local representative that will put them first."

Hoping to swing the people of Richmondshire, Thom said "working tirelessly" over the election period would allow those who in the consituency to vote against a party that would sign Trade Deals with President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Thom added American imports would "undercut" the high standards of British Farming across the UK.