Britain’s first ever trans MP could be 49 days away
In 49 days, Britain could have its first ever trans MP.
Sophie Cook, a TV presenter and first trans woman to work for a Premier League club as a photographer, has announced her candidacy for the June 8 election.
Cook, who broke new ground when she came out to AFC Bournemouth after the team was promoted to the Premier League in 2015, hopes to stand as Labour’s candidate in Brighton Kemptown.
Cook said that when she heard the Prime Minister’s announcement and that former Labour candidate Nancy Platts would not be standing, she thought: “the time is right”.
In the 2015 election, Platts lost by just 690 votes to Conservative Simon Kirby, who will stand again.
But Cook, a former Royal Air Force technician who became the first ever trans news anchor in Europe last year, emphasised that this step had been a long time coming.
“From my days in the Royal Air Force during the 1980s, I always knew that I wanted to stand for Parliament, but was unable to pursue this in case I was outed as transgender.
“This is no longer an issue.”
And she said her different jobs had prepared her for parliament.
“As an ex-newspaper editor and broadcaster, as well as my experience as an inspirational speaker, I know that I have the skills and belief to serve the Party and constituency well.”
Cook, who is now head of Latest LGBT+ TV, Britain’s first LGBT TV channel, emphasised that she was putting herself forward for the role at an important moment in history,
“It is time for a united Labour Party to work together to defeat the Tories and work for the good of all, regardless of their position in society.
“I believe strongly in the values of equality and diversity, allowing everyone to thrive regardless of gender, sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, disability or wealth.”
And the candidate, who feared she would “never work in football again” after coming out, wanted to use her time in the Premier League to inform her thinking as a politician.
“At AFC Bournemouth, we have a motto: Together, anything is possible. It was true for us and it can be true for the Labour Party.
“The time for change is now, a united Labour Party working for a United Kingdom.”
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The presenter ended her statement with the paraphrased Mahatma Gandhi quote: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Those wishing to be considered as a Labour candidate for MP have from Friday until Sunday to apply.
Trans Labour activist Emily Brothers was selected as Labour’s candidate for Sutton and Cheam in the 2015 general election.
Coming third, Ms Brothers gained 11% of the vote, behind Lib Dem Paul Burstow, who received 34%, and Tory Paul Scully, who was elected with 40%.
She also put herself forward as a candidate in Tooting last year, following Sadiq Khan’s decision to step down and take up the role of Mayor of London.
Trans Liberal Democrat candidates Helen Belcher and Zoe O’Connell will both be standing in June’s election.
O’Connell was selected to stand for the party in the constituency of Maldon in the 2015 general election, coming fifth.
She was the fourth openly trans candidate to stand in the election, joining Brothers, Green PPC Charlie Kiss in Islington South and Finsbury, and Green PPC Stella Gardiner in Bexleyheath and Crayford.
More: AFC Bournemouth, Brighton, brighton kemptown, Conservative Party, football, general election, General Election 2017, Labour, Labour party, mp, parliament, premier league, sophie cook, Theresa May