The Conservatives have selected their candidate to defend its seat against the resurgent Labour Party in Norwich North at the next general election.

Nick Rose, a former Bournemouth councillor and children's author, will replace the outgoing Chloe Smith - who has held the seat for almost 15 years.

Mr Rose, who has published a series of tales about 'Myro, The Smallest Plane in the World', said he was "delighted to have been selected" and "to continue the great work of Chloe Smith".

On his website, Mr Rose says he served in the Army Reserve for 20 years and was deployed to the front line of Afghanistan and helped evacuate British Nationals from Kabul.

Norwich Evening News: Alice Macdonald, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Norwich NorthAlice Macdonald, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Norwich North (Image: Alice Macdonald)

On his website, the candidate also described himself as "anti-woke" and, referring to gender identity issues, that "I know what a woman is".

He has also appeared to suggest he does not believe in man-made climate change, arguing: "As the son of a geomorphologist, and the son of an English teacher, I could spell 'inter-glacial period' when I was four, so I know climate change is natural.

"As an engineer, I do not agree with net-zero, particularly when it punishes our poorest."

Ms Smith increased her majority to 4,738 at the 2019 election, as the Labour vote dropped by 6.3pc for Karen Davis, but in 2017 there were just 507 votes in it when Chris Jones stood for Labour.

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And Mr Rose will be hoping to retain the constituency next year, but faces a tough battle against Labour's Alice Macdonald and the Green Party's Ben Price.

A Labour candidate has not held Norwich North since Ian Gibson stood down in 2009 over the MP expenses scandal.

Speaking on his selection, Ms Smith posted on X: "With experience, strong record in public service and keen commitment to Norwich, Nick will make a great MP.

Norwich Evening News: Norwich North MP Chloe SmithNorwich North MP Chloe Smith (Image: PA)

"I look forward to working closely with Nick & our Norwich Tories volunteer team."

Ms Smith, who has represented the constituency since 2009, has not given a reason for her departure.

The MP has had a series of roles in government, most recently having served as work and pensions secretary. 

She served in government under four prime ministers - David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss - but was booted out in a reshuffle by Rishi Sunak. 

At the 2019 election, the Lib Dems picked up 5.8pc of the vote in Norwich North and the Greens, despite being the second biggest party at Norwich City Council, just 2.3pc.

In August, the Conservatives announced David Thomas, a former Jane Austen College headteacher, as their candidate for Norwich South. 

Mr Thomas has been selected "to increase social mobility and grow the Norwich economy".

He is hoping to become the first Tory to hold the seat since John Powley in 1987.