Natalie Fleet has replaced incumbent retiring MP Gloria de Piero as Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Ashfield, where she is set to face a tough job trying to keep the marginal seat red at the next election.
Gloria de Piero, the former GMTV correspondent first elected as a Labour MP in 2010, announced in July that she would be standing down. It was reported that she was retiring due to “intolerance” in the party, but in fact she was uncertain that she could “sustain the energy and commitment” necessary.
Labour members in the seat, which voted heavily for Leave in 2016 by almost 70% and where Labour has a tiny majority of 441, have now selected Fleet as their new candidate. She describes herself as “an Angela Rayner”, having left school heavily pregnant at 16 with GCSE qualifications.
In a 2014 Guardian article, Fleet is characterised as a “brilliant, inspiring 30-year-old” whose mother says: ““We want Natalie to be an MP! I’m her mum and she would be amazing.” Talking about her doubts over whether she would seek to be a candidate, Fleet says:
“It’s having the confidence, when you’re not a part of that Westminster world. When you don’t have those contacts or the support of a network. If it was a level playing field, it would still be difficult… but it’s not even a level playing field.”
Fleet was congratulated on her selection by Lisa Nandy, Rosie Duffield, Lucy Powell, Melanie Onn and Wes Streeting. She is considered to be on the ‘Corbynsceptic’ wing of the party and has been endorsed by Labour First in the past.
I’m one of Ashfield’s own.
I know the difference a Labour govt makes to areas like ours & lives like mine.
— Natalie Fleet (@Nataliefleet) October 17, 2019