Bath Voice News: The battle to unseat Jacob Rees Mogg at the next general election is joined by Labour’s Metro Mayor Dan Norris

By Harry Mottram: Former Wansdyke Labour MP Dan Norris and current Metro Mayor for the area has come out on top to be the party’s candidate in North East Somerset constituency at the parliamentary election voted on by Labour Party members. It means Dan Norris will take on the Conservative’s Jacob Rees Mogg who is the current MP and who has not suggested he will step down at the election, as well as the Liberal Democrat Bath and North East Somerset Councillor and Mayor of Bath Dine Romero.

The constituency has been altered in area with boundary changes which has taken away much of rural north Somerset and now includes Hanham and Cadbury Heath in north east Bristol which has led some commentators to speculate it favours the Labour Party. With the Conservative Government’s ratings in recent public opinion polls at a low ebb it suggests that Mr Rees Mogg could be in trouble when voters mark their preferences at the ballot box this year. That is assuming the election is called by Rishi Sunak this summer or autumn as it is possible he could leave it to Christmas or even as late as January 2025.

Mr Norris immediately confirmed this week he would continue as the Metro Mayor if he was to win the seat which will no doubt lead to criticism but at the same time preventing the need for an election of a new West of England Combined Authority (WECA) known as the West of England Metro Mayor. Mr Rees Mogg defeated the Labour politician and one time Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Environment in Gordon Brown’s Government in the 2010 election which sets up a return contest in which many see Norris as favourite.

The Metro Mayor came out on top in a selection process against Dr Becky Montacute and Cllr James Coldwell – both seen as strong candidates but lacking the high-profile Norris enjoys with his history as a previous MP. He won the seat back in 1997 when Tony Blair’s New Labour swept to power as they defeated John Major’s administration.

Conservative Mr Rees-Mogg has been the MP for 14 years, during which time he has enjoyed positions including Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency and Leader of the House of Commons. Considered to be on the right wing of the Conservative Party and in favour of Brexit he has run into criticism in recent times from local farmers for endorsing Australian hormone injected beef.

In 2019 the constituency result was

Conservative: Jacob Rees-Mogg. :28,360

Labour: Mark Huband: 13,631

Liberal Democrat: Nick Coates: 12,422

Green: Fay Whitfield 1,423

Independent: Shaun Hughes 472

In 2010 the North East Somerset Constituency saw this result:

Conservative: Jacob Rees-Mogg. :21,130

Labour: Dan Norris: 16,216

Liberal Democrat: Gail Coleshill: 11,433

UKIP: Peter Sandell 1,754

Green: Michael Jay: 670

In an indication how politics can do an about turn the current Bath MP Wera Hobhouse trailed in fourth position in 2015 in North East Somerset behind UKIP with just over 4,000 votes. UKIP have shrunk in size since its heyday in the build up to the EU referendum and is led by former Tory MP Neil Hamilton with the successor Reform Party taking much of their base vote these days. The Green Party is the largest party in Bristol City County so it will be interesting to see what effect they will have since much of the constituency is in Bristol and Kingswood.

Bath Voice Monthly Newspaper is distributed free to thousands of homes and some supermarkets – distributed from the first of the month. Harry Mottram is the News Editor

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Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Mobile: 07789 864769