Exclusive: Gordon Nardell QC selected as Two Cities candidate

Sienna Rodgers
© Twenty Essex Chambers

Gordon Nardell QC has been selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for key marginal seat The Cities of London and Westminster, LabourList understands.

The decision was made by a panel rather than by local members, as Labour’s emergency selection procedures ahead of the upcoming general election have kicked in.

There was no hustings held locally – instead, the new candidate was picked by a panel composed of representatives from Labour’s ruling body, regional board and local party.

Commenting on the result, Nardell told LabourList: “This constituency may be the seat of wealth and power, but it’s also home to thousands of people facing familiar problems of low incomes and expensive housing.

“Our strong message on inequality can win here, and I’m looking forward to working with our members and supporters to gain this seat for Labour.”

The fresh selection contest was triggered by Steven Saxby, the Two Cities candidate chosen by members in 2018, being suspended from the party. Saxby withdrew his candidacy last month.

Nardell is a former Labour councillor in Southwark and a barrister who took silk in 2010. He quit as Labour’s inaugural general counsel in July, having set up its in-house legal services operation and helped to oversee its response to antisemitism.

At the time of Nardell’s departure, a Jewish Labour Movement spokesperson said his tenure was “remarkable only for the absolute chaos and political manipulation within the governance and legal unit that took place on his watch”.

Tory incumbent Mark Field is standing down at the next election, which means Nardell will fighting a new Conservative candidate, thought likely to be local council leader Nickie Aiken.

Chuka Umunna, previously Labour MP for Streatham, is also running in Two Cities as the Lib Democrat candidate. He will hope to make inroads into the area, which is strongly pro-Remain.

Longlisted candidates who were not picked include Momentum’s national coordinator Laura Parker and Momentum vice-chair Emina Ibrahim, as well as locals Pancho Lewis and Liza Begum.

Rail expert Christian Wolmar was not included on the longlist, despite only very narrowly being beaten in the original race by Steven Saxby – losing by just eight votes.

Former BBC journalist and current anti-Brexit Labour activist Paul Mason also applied for the seat, but was not longlisted by Labour’s national executive committee.

Liam Young and Grace Blakeley, both young activists and authors on the Labour left, also put in applications for Two Cities but were not longlisted. According to a Labour source, Blakeley submitted hers past the deadline and was therefore not considered.

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