Manchester’s first trans councillor to stand to be an MP as Liberal Democrats candidate in general election

Chris Northwood will contest Lucy Powell's Manchester Central seat.
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The Liberal Democrat challenger for the general election contest in the Manchester Central constituency has been named.

The seat, which has always been Labour since its creation in 1974, is currently the 28th-safest in parliament. It is held by Lucy Powell, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, who will be standing again at the next poll, her office has confirmed.

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Now, the Lib Dems have confirmed Chris Northwood will be her challenger at the general election, which is thought to be taking place in ‘the second half of the year’, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Northwood is currently a councillor for the party representing the Ancoats and Beswick ward on Manchester City Council.

The Lib Dems celebrate Chris Northwood's win in Ancoats and Beswick last May. The Lib Dems celebrate Chris Northwood's win in Ancoats and Beswick last May.
The Lib Dems celebrate Chris Northwood's win in Ancoats and Beswick last May.

Coun Northwood, who has lived in the city since 2011, is a software engineer by trade. She also holds the honour of being Manchester’s first trans councillor, when she won her local election in May 2023.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, she said: “We have to be realistic about the chances. It’s as much about giving people in our current electoral system they can send a message. Although this election (nationally) is about getting the Tories out, it’s not that in Manchester Central. The last time the Tories won in the old Manchester Exchange constituency was in the Second World War.

“This is about making the case that you can vote for a liberal candidate on things we want nationally… (like) getting a fair deal for residents. England is breaking down and people are feeling they are not getting what they want — a good, fair deal from the government.”

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Coun Northwood added that the Lib Dems had ‘established ourselves as the opposition party in the area’, having beaten two incumbent Labour councillors in Ancoats and Beswick. Coun Northwood was one of those, defeating Majid Dar a few months ago, with Coun Alan Good the other Lib Dem winner in a February 2022 by-election.