Labour picks controversial London candidate to take on Chloe Smith

Alice Macdonald the Labour candidate for Norwich North 

Alice Macdonald the Labour candidate for Norwich North - Credit: Supplied

Labour has selected a London councillor to stand against Chloe Smith at the next general election, despite criticism from within the party that she does not have enough local knowledge.

Alice Macdonald, who serves on Southwark Council, has been picked to contest the Norwich North constituency.

She was educated in Downham Market and is the daughter of a former county councillor from West Norfolk.

When she first announced her intention to apply to stand for the Norwich seat, she was criticised by senior Labour figures in the city, who questioned her local credentials.

However, she was selected after a vote by local party members.

She said: "What we really need is a fresh start, and that can only be achieved by holding a general election and electing a Labour government. The fight to win back Norwich North for Labour begins now.”

Last month, when Ms Macdonald announced her intention to apply to be parliamentary candidate, she posted a video online showing her in various Norwich locations.

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In it, she said: "I'll be a powerful voice in Westminster, using my local knowledge and national experience to stand up for Norwich North."

That prompted an angry response from county councillor Emma Corlett, deputy leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council.

Ms Corlett tweeted: "Use your local knowledge? What, on a postage stamp? Shameless."

Among her rivals to be the candidate was city councillor Karen Davis, who stood against Conservative Ms Smith in 2019.

Ms Corlett was also angered that Ms Macdonald's video used campaign material that Ms Davis had helped produce.

Ms Corlett tweeted: "This video literally uses photos from Karen Davis' campaign on holiday hunger and has you walking past the Vote Labour boards she and I put up with our bare (splintered) hands.

"I have no problem with open selection. I do have a problem with people shamelessly grifting off others' hard work. Especially when a woman is doing it to another woman candidate."

Ms Smith first won the seat of Norwich North in 2009. She held it with a majority of 4,738 in 2019, an increase from a majority of just 507 votes over Labour candidate Chris Jones in 2017.