LABOUR members have selected their candidate for the Hexham constituency at the next General Election.

Hexham-born Joe Morris will look to take the seat for Labour for the first time at next year’s election.

He will be up against incumbent Conservative MP Guy Opperman, who has served since 2010 and has already been re-selected to contest the constituency for the Tories.

Mr Morris is described by the party as a “local lad” and “seasoned campaigner”, having worked in campaigns and public affairs. Speaking after his selection, Mr Morris pledged to put the area first.

He said: “It is the honour of my life to be selected to stand in my home seat of Hexham. I grew up here, I went to school here and its where I call home home.

“As someone who went to Sele First School, Hexham Middle and Queen Elizabeth High School, I will put Hexham, Northumberland and the people of our region first. I will fight for high-skilled, well-paid jobs in emerging green industries, for an NHS fit for the future, and the improvement of our local public services.

“Between now and the General Election, I will be spending every possible second listening to the people of Hexham and what they want from their next MP.”

Recent polls by the 38 Degrees Group and Survation suggested that the Conservatives were facing an almost total wipeout at the next election. The polls said the party would be reduced to a single seat – North Northumberland.

The polls included the Hexham seat, which is newly expanded to take in parts of Callerton following a boundary review, turning red for the first time in its 138-year history. The Tories have held the seat since 1923, bar the years between 1943 and 1951 when it was held by former Tory-turned Speaker of the House of Commons, Douglas Clifton Brown.

Mr Opperman won 54.5 per cent of the vote in 2019, beating out his nearest rival – Labour’s Penny Grennan – by 22.9 per cent, with a 10,549 vote majority.