Labour parliamentary candidate Jessica Asato quits London council job to focus on Norwich

Jess Asato, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North.

Jess Asato, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North. - Credit: Geoff Wilson

The Labour politician challenging Chloe Smith for the Norwich North parliamentary seat at the next general election has quit her local council job in London to concentrate on her campaign here.

Jessica Asato, chosen by Labour to try to unseat Conservative MP Miss Smith, has decided to stand down from Islington Borough Council.

The Labour candidate, who grew up in Gorleston, had been criticised by Islington Liberal Democrat councillors for spending too much time in Norwich since being announced as the Labour candidate last August.

Miss Asato has now written to her constituents in the St George's ward of Islington to announce her decision.

Last night the 31-year-old told the Norwich Evening News: 'I have proudly served residents of St George's in Islington for the last two years but, after my selection as Labour candidate for Norwich North I think it is imperative that I concentrate my time and energy fighting the Tory-led government cuts to services in Norwich North and holding the local MP Chloe Smith to account for those.

'I've recently rented a house on Magpie Road and hope to be spending as much time in Norwich North as I can.'

Miss Asato is also now looking for work in the Norwich area but, until she secures employment in Norfolk, will continue working in Westminster two days a week as political adviser to former cabinet minister and culture secretary Tessa Jowell.

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She said: 'I've still got employment in London two days a week but the rest of my time I'm in Norwich.

'Since I was selected, we've been out on the doorsteps pretty much every weekend. I'm doing the best I can. Getting selected doesn't always fit in with the plans you have.

'Until I find alternative employment in Norwich, I need to carry on two days a week at Westminster.'

She is also vice-chairman of the Fabian Society and a former acting director of New Labour pressure group, Progress.

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