HISTORY has been made by the Liberal Democrats as they unveiled their candidate to fight May’s General Election in South Shields.
Mother-of-two Gita Gordon has been selected as the party’s Parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
Blackpool-based Mrs Gordon is the first BME – black and minority ethnic – candidate chosen to fight a North East constituency for the Lib Dems.
But she faces a tough challenge to turn round her party’s fortunes in the town, after its support slumped dramatically in the 2013 Parliamentary by-election, at which Labour’s Emma Lewell-Buck triumphed.
The Lib Dem candidate Hugh Annand lost his deposit, polling just 352 votes – compared to the party’s 5,189 votes at the 2010 General Election.
Mrs Gordon, who is married with two young daughters, has worked as a business development executive, including helping to launch new lines for Calvin Klein perfumes.
She has a degree in Welfare Studies from the University of Central Lancashire and also has career experience in the care sector, giving her particular experience and expertise in issues relating to victims of domestic violence, mental health, disadvantaged children, young people and adults, and those with disabilities.
Born in India, she speaks fluent Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu and has a working knowledge of Bengali.
She said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to stand as a candidate at the election for South Shields, and I look forward to campaigning on the Liberal Democrat record in government, including championing equal treatment for mental health and helping to secure a greater voice for the vulnerable and socially excluded.
“I believe in supporting people through a strong economy generating real growth in jobs, apprenticeships, and standards of living, as well as improving our surroundings and environment to make life more pleasant and beautiful.
“I will be looking to give South Shields voters a compassionate and competent alternative to decades of Labour domination and complacency in this constituency.”
Mrs Gordon is also a member and volunteer with Soroptomists International, a women’s organisation which focuses on improving life for women globally, and has also been a volunteer for the British Heart Foundation and Age Concern.
The other candidates known to be fighting the South Shields Parliamentary Constituency on Thursday, May 7, are: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour); Robert Oliver (Conservative); Shirley Ford (Greens); and Norman Dennis (UKIP);