Lara Norris selected in Great Yarmouth

20th January, 2013 3:06 pm

Great Yarmouth CLP (target seat 73) selected their PPC yesterday ahead of the 2015 General Election – Lara Norris. Here’s a biography of Lara:

Lara Norris is a community campaigner and was backed by Unite in the selection. 20 years ago Lara left her home with her two children for a women’s refuge. After the Labour Government took office in 1997 she had the opportunity to go to university, working part time, and raising her two children as a lone parent. After finishing university, Lara started working for Home-Start, a local charity who support parents with children under 5. She has also worked for the Labour Party as an organiser, on community campaigns in Bedford, Luton and Norwich, and around the region, until the 2010 General Election when she was offered her current role – managing the office of Luton South MP, Gavin Shuker. Lara is married to Paul and has two grown up sons, Alex and Max, both in full time education.

Congratulations to Lara and commiserations to the other shortlisted candidate.


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  • LabanTall

    “After the Labour Government took office in 1997 she had the opportunity to go to university”

    One of the little-known achievements of the Blair administration was its removal of the ban on women attending universities.

  • aracataca

    Sounds like a great candidate. The usual critics who say we only select Oxbridge people and SPADS as Parliamentary candidates are strangely silent on this particular selection – I wonder why? Good luck Lara – this is a completely winnable seat.

    • Daniel Speight

      So you ask the question twice, but I think I will only answer it the once if you don’t mind.

      • aracataca

        I only asked twice because answer came there none,

        • ColinAdkins

          25% of MPs are Oxbridge educated yet less than 1% of the UK voting age population goes to these hallowed institutions so there is some basis to this assertion.
          Now I will tell you a story. I was invited to a bash to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Anti-Aparthied Movement in the last days of Brown’s premiership. Getting pissed because they insisted on serving an unsophisticated alcholic drink largely made by European peasants called wine in preference to a sophisticated drink made by British artisans called beer, I started baiting the SpAds in attendance. I queried where their job was advertised. They looked perplexed at the question and couldn’t answer. I was surprised because it was a simple question and they had all been Oxbridge educated to a man so you think they would be able to answer.
          I don’t think there is any conspiracy but I believe if you are educated at Oxbridge there are assumptions made about you which others have to establish. Further being academically gifted does not mean you will be good at a role. Look at the most overrated politician of the modern era – David Miliband to sustain my point.
          Further many have subsequently developed skills in post e.g. Ed Richards, Director General of Ofcom. So the opportunity to develop these skills and the fairness of this is all too important particularly for people like me who have a chip on their shoulder.

          • aracataca

            Nice anecdote Colin. Trying to work out what it’s got to do with Lara’s selection for the Great Yarmouth seat. Can you help?

          • ColinAdkins

            I thought I picked up a thread which raised questions about people alleging all candidates are Oxbridge educated. Sorry if I wrongly associated you with this thread or misunderstood your reasons for doing so.

  • NT86

    Now here’s a candidate selection that I firmly approve of! Well done and best of luck. Gt Yarmouth is a key marginal. Labour took the council last year there. Very important that the party has a revival of fortunes in East Anglia.

    • aracataca

      Correct but where are those who say we routinely parachute in Oxbridge people and SPADS?
      Any suggestion that it is because Lara’s selection doesn’t fit so snugly into their repetitive and negative anti-Labour narrative is, and must remain, pure speculation.

      • Daniel Speight

        Correct but where are those who say we routinely parachute in Oxbridge people and SPADS?

        Actually very pleased with the first look at this selection. I will remind you that Ed Miliband has publicly backed the call for more working class PLP candidates.

        • aracataca

          I am also very pleased. It is clear that this woman has ‘seen life’ so to speak. Why do you need to give this selection a ‘second look’ before ‘approving it’? I don’t understand why such a deprived place like Great Yarmouth has a Tory MP in the first place.

          • Daniel Speight

            Oh – a second look is always worthwhile. I remember listening to Shirley Williams talking about when Tony Blair was still looking for a seat. He apparently called members ‘comrade’ when he thought that it was of benefit to his selection. Now I do think both Blair and Williams were worth a second look, don’t you?

      • Chilbaldi

        Wow – one candidate out of hundreds.

        • aracataca

          A lot of fuss on here about Emily Darlington’s selection in MK North – a whimper about Lara’s selection in Great Yarmouth. The party should be congratulated re:Lara’s selection in Great Yarmouth but it isn’t – while at the same time it is lambasted over ED’s selection in MK North. Balance is all I’m looking for.

          • Balance is a fine thing – shame it wasn’t present during the selection of Sarah ’13 votes’ Parachute of Rotherham. The Unite-backed candidate there was, I understand, discreetly liquidated.

            The selection of Ms Norris certainly does appear to be a move in the right direction. Let’s hope, in the interest of balance, Unite and successful Unite-backed candidates like Ms Norris begin to organise PPC training events. If an undemocratic outfit like Progress can do so, there should be no objection to a democratic organisation like Unite doing the same.

          • Chilbaldi

            Not just Progress mind… Labour Women’s Network and other groups do a lot of PPC coaching too.

          • aracataca

            Well done Dave. As one of the usual suspects when it comes to criticising selections at least you have had the courage to come out and applaud this particular selection. Be interesting to see if the NHS party runs similar kinds of candidates at the next general election.

            In similar vein I applaud UNITE’s continuing endorsement of our party, however our party isn’t and nor should it be an adjunct of UNITE or for that matter Progress. Attempts by factions to control or dominate our party have usually had negative outcomes (IMHO).

          • “Attempts by factions to control or dominate our party have usually had negative outcomes ”

            This certainly explains current difficulties.

            National Health Action Party candidates will, to be sure, have plenty of real-life experience. Let me just remind you of our watchwords: Honesty. Transparency. Accountability. ; )

          • aracataca

            Aren’t most of the PPCs going to be doctors? Not entirely sure the hospital porters or cleaners will get much of a look in.

          • None selected yet. Though I’ll wager there’ll be proportionally more hospital porters and cleaners than you’ll find in Labour’s PPC cohort.

          • aracataca

            Well no but it is likely to be almost exclusively hospital doctors and consultants (IMHO) and that is a rather narrow cohort of society -no? But let’s wait and see shall we Dave?

          • I’ll be happy as long as they’re not triangulating, New Labour-like ‘cradle to the grave’ career politicians.

            Only 7% of people trust politicians. 80% trust doctors. 82% trust nurses:


          • aracataca

            OK -but it looks like there aren’t going to be any cleaners or porters as PPCs though?

          • Why the concern for political representation by cleaners and porters?

          • NT86

            In fairness to Sarah Champion, she was only with the Labour party for a short time and had worked for a children’s hospice in Rotherham. That’s a really meaningful job in my book. I used to volunteer for a hospice and recognised how important it was to gain real empathy and understanding into the lives of terminally ill people.

  • Kokopops

    Really happy for Lara, who finally sounds like a candidate with a bit of “life experience”!

    She does though currently work for an MP, as it says above, and would probably have had contact with some of the political elite for advice etc so what would be interesting to know is how many people out there, who have had “life experience”, who haven’t had extensive contact with current/former politicians, SpAds or work for Progess, Fabians etc – how much of a chance do they have in becoming a PPC in a winnable seat….someone like Dr Sarah Wollaston MP (who had no contact with politics or politicians before she ran in an Open Primary) or Jane Horrocks’ character Mrs Pritchard from the tv series The Amazing Mrs Pritchard?

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