Denise McDonald runs towards the camera with David Gardner and Nick Williams
Denise Scott-McDonald after votes in Greenwich Peninsula with her fellow councillors David Gardner and Nick Williams (photo:

Greenwich Council’s former deputy leader is angling to become an MP in the East Midlands – just weeks after winning her seat back at the town hall.

Denise Scott-McDonald, the cabinet member for health and adult social care, is on the long list to be Labour’s candidate for Derby North, the authoritative Labour List website has reported.

The former Bloomberg business news journalist has been a Greenwich councillor since 2014, firstly in the old Peninsula ward and switching to the new Greenwich Peninsula ward last month.

She is on a shortlist of six for the seat, which is currently held by the Conservative MP Amanda Solloway with a slim 2,540-vote majority.

While the next election could be held as late as January 2025, Labour has been making preparations in case Boris Johnson calls an early poll to shore up his unstable position as prime minister.

Both seats in Derby are looking for Labour candidates, with Dame Margaret Beckett – a former deputy leader of the party and still an MP – standing down in neighbouring Derby South, where Scott-McDonald has also been doorknocking for the party.

Scott-McDonald’s parliamentary ambitions are no secret – she made the shortlist for the Cities of London & Westminster in 2017 and Erith & Thamesmead two years later.

A former deputy leader under Danny Thorpe, at 2018’s council election she aligned herself with opposition to the controversial Silvertown Tunnel, only to vote against a party motion the following year that would have reversed Greenwich’s long-held support of the scheme.

In the same year she also dismissed calls to make Greenwich carbon-neutral by 2030 – before suddenly reversing her position and announcing a plan to declare a climate emergency.

She is also president of the Co-op Group’s National Members Council.

Scott-McDonald is not the only Greenwich councillor to be seeking a position at Westminster. Her former Peninsula ward colleague Chris Lloyd has been tweeting from Swindon South since being elected for West Thamesmead five weeks ago. Lloyd’s attempts to win favour in Wiltshire include doing his first parkrun, eating curry and criticising the local Tory council over potholes.

All three Labour MPs in Greenwich borough are former councillors – Erith & Thamesmead’s Abena Oppong-Asare formerly sat in Bexley, while Matt Pennycook represented the old Greenwich West seat before being elected in Greenwich & Woolwich seven years ago.

The last Greenwich councillor to seek election to parliament elsewhere in the country was Liz Truss, who was councillor for Eltham South before quitting the town hall for the safe Tory seat of South West Norfolk in 2010.

Now foreign secretary, she is considered a likely contender to be leader if Johnson is forced out by his party.

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