Kent councillor's bid to become MP in Scotland 500 miles away labelled 'outrageous'

Elizabeth Carr-Ellis is currently a Labour councillor in Canterbury
-Credit: (Image: David Goddard/Getty Images)


A Kent councillor’s unexpected bid to grapple for a Parliamentary seat 500 miles away has been slated as “outrageous”.

Canterbury City councillor Elizabeth Carr-Ellis (Lab) has been selected as Labour’s candidate for Angus and Perthshire Glens in central Scotland.

In a LinkedIn post about her candidacy for the far-flung seat, Cllr Carr-Ellis announced: “Incredibly proud to be standing for a place I have so much love for and so much connection with.”

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But the move has drawn criticism from Canterbury constituents, with some questioning how she can properly split her time between both locations over the next month.

Cllr Carr-Ellis describes Scotland’s east coast in her social media statement as: “The place I became me. The place I found my husband and a whole new family and incredible friends. The place I found peace.

“Scotland is being let down twice: by London and Edinburgh. That’s why I’m standing for Angus & Perthshire Glens. Because I know a better way is possible,” she wrote.

Cllr Carr-Ellis, a journalist originally from Newcastle, has also taken part in the Jo Cox Women In Leadership Programme.

Canterbury City councillor Elizabeth Carr-Ellis has been selected as Labour’s candidate for Angus and Perthshire Glens in central Scotland
Canterbury City councillor Elizabeth Carr-Ellis has been selected as Labour’s candidate for Angus and Perthshire Glens in central Scotland -Credit:LDR Service

The scheme, named after former Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered in 2016, is a “personal and political development programme for passionate women members who are ready to lead.”

However, her fellow ward member for St Stephens Cllr Mel Dawkins (Lab) is also running for Parliament – but closer to home for the seat of Faversham and Mid Kent.

The seat she wants is a new one under changed parliamentary boundaries, created out of five old constituencies – every one of which is currently held by the Scottish National Party.

Driving instructor Tony Carter, who lives in St Stephens’ ward, described the move as “bloody outrageous”. “Her workload is probably going to be trebled and the people of St Stephens are not going to get the representation they deserve are they,” he said.

Driving instructor Tony Carter, who lives in St Stephens’ ward, described the move as “bloody outrageous”
Driving instructor Tony Carter, who lives in St Stephens’ ward, described the move as “bloody outrageous” -Credit:LDR service

“Good luck to her being ambitious but if it means that you’re spending less of your time with people you’re a ward councillor for, it’s totally different.

“Something’s just come up and she’s caught the eye of Keir Starmer or somebody in there, and she wants to further herself, and it’s a way to get a lot more money.

“She should say right now ‘well I’m packing this job up’, would she? No she wouldn’t do that because she knows she’s not going to be successful. If she knew she was going to be successful she’d hang this job up now wouldn’t she.”

However, Pauline Walters, chair of the St Stephens’ Residents Association in Cllr Carr-Ellis’ ward was not as critical. “We would be very very sorry to lose her,” she told the LDRS.

“It would be easy to say she’s just used this as a stepping stone but I do think she’s more than that, she’s much more. She has great integrity and she honestly and truly believes in what she says.

“I would be very sorry to lose her but I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t have the experience of attempting to be an MP – and the same with Mel Dawkins. Mel would be a terrible loss for us,” she added.

It’s not unusual for candidates to stand many miles away from where they live – there are no legal residency requirements to run for parliament.

In April, the LDRS revealed that Medway councillor for Chatham and Brompton Cllr Damimola Animashaun (Lab) is standing in Tewkesbury – over 100 miles from Medway.

Dave Doogan MP – current MP for Angus – is standing for the new constituency in the upcoming General Election to be held July 4. Under the last research by Electoral Calculus, he is the favourite to win the seat.

CCC opposition leader Cllr Rachel Carnac (Con) declined to comment on Cllr Carr-Ellis’ MP bid, labelling Labour’s policies “sometimes baffling”.

To be selected as candidates for MP, prospective politicians have to go through rigorous internal selection processes within their party. As part of this, the aspiring parliamentarian must usually list constituencies for which they would like to stand.

However, it is understood that when applying for non-priority seats in the Labour Party for this election, one option is “any” – meaning the hopeful candidate is happy to stand anywhere at all.

Asked for a comment Cllr Carr-Ellis said she was too busy to respond.

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