General Election: Labour select Harlow councillor and Dunmow teacher Chris Vince to contest Hertford and Stortford seat
Labour have selected their candidate who will look to achieve something unprecedented in the 36-year history of the Hertford and Stortford constituency: stop a Conservative from being elected MP.
On Wednesday, constituency Labour Party members gathered in the New Apton Centre in Bishop's Stortford and chose Chris Vince, who is a councillor in Harlow.
Mr Vince, who works as a maths teacher in Great Dunmow, beat a short list of three other candidates: Jim Brown, Stuart Shipton and Saqhib Ali.
All four were grilled by members for over an hour on a range of national and local issues before the vote.
Mr Vince was the Labour candidate for Chelmsford in the last two General Elections, coming second each time behind Conservatives Simon Burns (2015) and Vicky Ford (2017) and increasing his party's share of the vote, from 11% to 17.6% four years ago and then to 29.8% two years later.
Most recently, he was one of Labour's candidates for the East of England in June's European Parliament elections.
He was previously his party's parliamentary spokesman for the local constituency and said: "I am delighted and honoured to be selected by local members to represent Hertford and Stortford Labour in the next General Election.
"I have already been busy campaigning in the ward, listening to residents about their local concerns. It is clear many of them are fed up with this divisive Tory government and want a change, which is why I am confident we can improve on our 2017 result.
"I am looking forward to speaking to more of you over the coming weeks to show you why I am the right choice to be Hertford and Stortford's next MP."
David Jacobs, chairman of Hertford and Stortford Labour, said after the hustings: "Chris is a fantastic choice for Hertford and Stortford.
"He is one of the most dedicated and passionate campaigners I have ever met. His concern for the community shines through every time we speak.
"We are looking forward to the coming election campaign, where I am sure we will continue the Labour renaissance that began earlier in this year when Labour won seats on local town and district councils."
So far Mr Vince has three opponents in Hertford and Stortford: Conservative Julie Marson, who was selected on Thursday evening, the Green Party's Lucy Downes while the Liberal Democrats are fielding Chris Lucas.
Hertford and Stortford General Election result 2017
Mark Prisk (Con) – 36,184 votes, 60.3% (+ 4.2%)
Katherine Chibah (Lab) – 17,149 votes, 28.6% (+ 10.7%)
Mark Argent (Lib Dem) – 4,845 votes, 8.1% (+ 0.3%)
David Woollcombe (Green) – 1,814 votes, 3% (- 1.7%)
Majority: 19,035 (31.7%, - 6.5%)
Turnout: 59,992 (72.8%, + 1.5%)