Blake chosen to ‘turn Two Cities red’ at next election

Friday, 29th July — By Tom Foot

Rachel Blake

Rachel Blake will challenge MP Nickie Aiken as Labour’s candidate for Cities of London and Westminster

RACHEL Blake will lead the charge to unseat Nickie Aiken at the next election after she was selected as Labour’s candidate for Cities of London and Westminster.

The “Two Cities” constituency is predicted to prove a nail-biting contest following boundary changes and the shock ousting of the Tories in May’s Westminster City Council elections.

A statement from the Two Cities Labour branch said: “Labour turned the council red, and now it’s time to flip the parliamentary seat.”

Ms Blake has said her parliamentary goals would be to better regulate short-term lets and the night-time economy, improve housing and air quality, while ending child poverty and boosting workers’ rights.

She has been a cabinet member at Tower Hamlets Council for seven years and was a former policy adviser in the Treasury under Gordon Brown.

Westminster’s housing chief, Liza Begum, who was born and raised in Pimlico, had made the shortlist of three.

Since the news of her defeat, the councillor has been retweeting the RMT union and posting messages in solidarity with Ilford MP Sam Tarry, who she said was sacked by Sir Keir Starmer for “doing what a Labour MP should be doing… Standing shoulder to shoulder with workers striking for better pay and better working conditions”.

The other losing candidate was sexual harassment lawyer Deeba Syed.

Ms Aiken was first elected in 2019 during the Boris Johnson Brexit landslide with a majority of 3,953, beating the Lib Dem and Labour defector Chuka Umunna, with Labour candidate Gordon Nardell coming in third.

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