A council leader has announced her plan to run for Parliament and become a town's first-ever Labour MP.

Beccy Cooper, Labour leader of Worthing Borough Council, will throw her hat in the ring to be the party’s candidate in Worthing West at the next general election.

After becoming the first Labour councillor in Worthing for more than 40 years in August 2017, she became council leader last year after a landslide victory in the local elections.

Cllr Cooper ran as the party’s candidate at the last two elections in the constituency but placed second against Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley.

However, with Worthing West now a target seat for the next election, she is hopeful of becoming the town’s first-ever Labour MP.

Cllr Cooper said: “It’s still going to be lots of hard work, with lots of activists already knocking on doors, but I think we’ve got some good, strong policies coming forward locally and they marry with the national outlook.

“Locally, we are very aware of making sure people can live in communities where they do feel safe and go out of their front door and feel proud of where they live.

“I would like to, if possible, take what I have learnt as a local councillor and as leader of the council and take that to Westminster.

“I’ve always felt that all politics is local and if you’re making national decisions and you don’t have an understanding of the locality you represent or the communities whose lives you wish to improve, then you’re not basing what you are doing on the real world.”

Cllr Cooper said she has a good understanding of the needs of people in Worthing and said, from her background as a public health doctor, she has a strategic approach to certain issues.

“Marrying those two is hopefully a good combination for being an MP”, she said.

Cllr Cooper said she is “not underestimating the scale of the task” of electing the first Labour MP for the town and said: “Communities have had apathy from politicians for a long time and been taken for granted, so we have to work hard to show we are listening to what people’s issues are.”

If she is selected and becomes an MP, Cllr Cooper would stand down as a councillor and as council leader.

She said: “When I became council leader last year, I stood down as a county councillor. I don’t think it’s possible to have too many hats and do the job well.”

In a message to the voters of Worthing West, Cllr Cooper said: “I am a local resident and I will work hard for you and listen to you.

“Worthing as a town has an awful lot to offer, and there is a lot of learning from Worthing that could benefit the wider national picture.”

The selection process for Labour’s candidate is expected to take place later in the autumn.

Political forecasting website Electoral Calculus currently projects a Labour victory in the constituency with a slim majority of less than 300 votes.

If an election was held today, the website forecasts Labour to win 36.5 per cent of the vote, with the Conservatives on 35.9 per cent.