By Will Standring, News Editor
Epigram can reveal that the Labour Mayor of the West of England since 2021, Dan Norris, is strongly considering standing against Jacob Rees Mogg in the upcoming general election.
In a talk organised by the University of Bristol Labour Club, where Epigram was in attendance for an interview with the Mayor afterwards, Norris revealed that Labour party figures were asking him to stand.
Mayor Norris said that his initial inclination was to turn down the offer as he could make a greater change as Mayor.
However, he said the idea has grown on him and he was particularly persuaded by the argument that someone of his profile standing against Rees Mogg will increase press coverage of the election, boosting Labour's chances of winning the seat.
Mayor Norris was MP for Wansdyke, which preceded North East Somerset, from 1997 to 2010.
As Mayor of the region and a former MP, he holds high name recognition in the region which may aid him were he to stand in the upcoming election.
In order to stand as the Labour candidate in the seat, Mr Norris would first have to win a local Labour Party selection contest which, fellow Mayor, Marvin Rees, was unable to do earlier this year in Bristol North East.
Former Business Secretary Rees Mogg is currently MP for North East Somerset, a seat he won off Mayor Norris at the 2010 General Election.
Rees Mogg’s majority is 14,729 (26.2%), an increase of almost 10,000 since he beat Norris back in 2010.
However, North East Somerset’s constituency boundaries have been significantly altered, or ‘merrily chopped up’ as Rees Mogg put it, as a result of the 2023 boundary commission, which could leave the seat more favourable for Labour.
Mayor Norris also stated that the opportunity of unseating Mr Rees Mogg, for whom he expressed his dislike in the strongest terms, was a hard one to pass by.
Mr Norris was keen to hear the thoughts of those present on the matter, particularly on the potential conflict that may arise from being a sitting Member of Parliament alongside his role as Mayor.
When asked by a student whether he would stand down as Mayor were he to be elected to the House of Commons, Norris said that he could do both and that this was not unheard of.
He did not, however, compare himself to Boris Johnson, whose 2015 election to Parliament while he sat as Mayor of London is the closest parallel to Mayor Norris’ current situation.
As the Mayor of the West of England, Dan Norris oversees the strategic administration of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.
His main areas of responsibility are transport, business and investment.
Epigram will be releasing its interview with Dan Norris in the coming days.
Featured Image: University of Bristol Labour Club
What do you think about this exclusive?