Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ashley Cowburn

Meet the Labour candidate hoping to oust Boris Johnson at the next election

Boris Johnson's rival in his west London constituency has insisted the seat is “winnable” for Labour - but the party faces an “incredibly tough” battle.

Danny Beales, 34, who was selected in December to face the ex-Prime Minister at the next election, told The Mirror he wanted to give the area a “full-time MP”.

The Labour challenger said that under Mr Johnson, people in Uxbridge and South Ruislip "feel like they don’t have an MP” and are struggling to get surgery advice appointments.

The Camden councillor, who grew up in the area before being made homeless at the age of 14, is now aiming to overturn the former PM’s 7,210 majority.

While the constituency has only returned Tory MPs since its creation in 2010, the mood nationally has switched dramatically over the past 12 months.

The latest Ipsos poll gave Keir Starmer a massive 25-point lead over Rishi Sunak ’s Tories - with some raising the prospect of a 1997-style victory for Labour.

Mr Beales said there is a “lot of anger and frustration” with the Tories.

“Knocking on doors a lot of former Tory voters are unhappy,” he told The Mirror at Millers Tap on Uxbridge High Street this week.

The former PM won the constituency with a majority of just over 7,000 at the general election in 2019 (Getty Images)

“They are clearly saying they don’t want to vote Tory, they’re thinking about not voting Tory - some of them for the first time.”

After the disaster of Liz Truss’s short-lived Government, one man told him: “‘I call myself a Tory and always voted Tory, but I don’t think I can vote for them again after everything that has happened’”.

“My sense is that this seat is winnable," Mr Beales added. "But you’re not going to sleep walk into being the Labour MP here."

“I don’t think we can take it for granted. Things can shift. Maybe polling can shift, national events can shift."

In recent weeks, rumours have circulated Westminster that the ex-PM Mr Johnson may flee the constituency in search for a safer Tory seat.

Does Mr Beales think he will stand? “He’s said he would. I normally take everyone at their word - but that’s very hard with Boris Johnson.”

But if Mr Johnson remains, he will find it “difficult” to win at the next election, according to the polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice.

He told The Mirror: “It will be very, very surprising if he [Johnson] held onto the seat at the moment.

“He, like lots of other Conservatives, needs his party to recover nationally in order to have some chance of hanging onto their seat at the next election.”

Professor Curtice added: “They [Tories] have got a battle on their hands to win more than half of the seat they currently hold at the next election”.

The Labour candidate also told The Mirror he first became homeless when he was around 14-years-old. His mum had lost her job at the funeral directors - directly below the Rusilip flat they both lived in.

Danny Beales was selected as Labour's candidate in the area in December 2022 (Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Without any prospect of a council house and his mum unable to afford the rent, “we packed up and moved to Northampton”, he said.

Following a short stint at his grandparents home they eventually moved back into the private rental sector - but were soon again facing homelessness. “My mum lost her job another time,” he added.

After several months in temporary accommodation - a B&B - they eventually moved into a council house in the area.

Mr Beales’s experience of homelessness is one of the reasons he is running at the next election. “To deal with those things I think we need people in Parliament who understand the problems, have experience of them, and are generally committed to changing them,” he said.

Asked whether politics was a talking point in the family, he replied: “No. Religion, politics, money - just don’t discuss it. It’s not to be discussed.

“The News at Six was always on in the background - there were various tuts that were had. We haven’t generally talked about politics as a family”.

Unlike the ex-Prime Minister, who grew up wanting to be “world king”, his Labour challenger said his “obsession” was to be either a doctor or policeman.

He eventually had a two-year stint as a special police constable in Westminster, but said he felt “frustrated that I couldn’t change the situation”.

“You’re dealing with incredibly difficult situations. But you’re not dealing with the causes of those,” he said.

Before becoming a councillor in Camden, Mr Beales also worked for the ex-Northampton North Labour MP Sally Keeble between 2008-10 - the final years of the last Labour Government.

“It was a tough time in the Labour Party,” he said. “A lot of people saw the writing on the wall. It was a marginal constituency, she did end up losing the seat.

“It wasn’t kind of a party on the up, rimming with possibility. It was like a crisis, control situation. It was a tough period”.

He added: “She would work incredibly hard, incredibly long hours trying to keep her seat. She was a good constituency MP.”

“For a long time I thought that’s not for me - tough being away from family. I haven’t been someone who has been bursting to be a Member of Parliament for their whole life and forever.”

But now - over 10 years later - he believes Labour is pursuing the right strategy.

“From my perspective it's vital we have a Labour Government to make the changes we need to make,” he said.

“Every seat really does matter. This seat really does matter. I think we need to win this seat for sure.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.