The race to become Labour’s first MP in Worthing is heating up, with a number of candidates all vying to be selected to represent the party at the next general election.

The Argus understands that at least five people are in the running to become the party’s candidate for the constituency, currently represented by Conservative MP Tim Loughton.

Although Worthing has never elected a Labour MP, the party is hopeful of gaining at least one of the town’s two constituencies after gaining control of the council last year.

The Argus: Scott Gilfillan has received support from Love Island star Amy HartScott Gilfillan has received support from Love Island star Amy Hart (Image: Scott Gilfillan)

Among those hoping to be selected is Scott Gilfillan, head of policy to chairwoman of the Labour Party Annelise Dodds.

Mr Gilfillan hopes to, if selected, fight for funding to improve local coastal defences, deliver safe and affordable homes and work to bring more green investment.

He said that his record of delivering successful political campaigns and more than a decade of experience in frontline politics makes him best placed to beat the Conservatives at the general election.

He said: “I moved my young family to West Sussex because I love it here, but after 13 years of Conservative failure, it’s time for change in this area.

“Local people are working harder than ever but are still struggling with the cost of living. Families can’t get a school place for their kids or a secure home. Many are waiting ages for a GP appointment. Everyone I speak to is furious about sewage pumped onto our beaches and nobody lifting a finger to stop it.

“Things don’t have to be this way. They can be so much better with a Labour MP who gets what local people are going through and who will give them a voice in Westminster.”

Mr Gilfillan has received support from former Love Island contestant Amy Hart, who told her followers that “Scott would be an amazing MP for East Worthing and Shoreham”.

The Argus: Stuart BradyStuart Brady (Image: Stuart Brady)

Stuart Brady, who stood as a Labour candidate in Loughborough at the general election in 2019, is also in the running to represent the party in East Worthing and Shoreham.

Mr Brady, who started his working life as a professional rugby player, has served as a barrister and acted in a number of high-profile cases, some of which see him act for rugby players suing in relation to brain injuries.

Mr Brady said: “We need someone who can establish a high profile very quickly, has the stature to stand up to Tim Loughton, and who can appeal to all the types of voters across East Worthing and Shoreham.

“I have the experience of leading impactful parliamentary campaigns in a marginal seat and appearing regularly on the BBC and ITV. I know that swing voters find my professional background, from rugby with Saracens to becoming a barrister, reassuring.”

He also highlighted his experience working on the detail of climate policy and said he would “use that expertise to create low-carbon jobs in the area”.

Mr Brady also committed to moving to the constituency “in an instant” if selected as the candidate for the general election.

The Argus: Tom RutlandTom Rutland (Image: Tom Rutland)

Lambeth councillor Tom Rutland has also thrown his hat in the ring, describing himself as being the candidate “with the energy, commitment and campaigning experience to win”.

Mr Rutland works with the trade union Prospect and became a volunteer vaccinator after the death of his grandad during the pandemic.

Among his priorities if selected include tackling the cost-of-living crisis, fighting the climate emergency and ensuring Labour win control of Adur District Council.

He said: “With me, you will get no complacency. I’m ready to go door-to-door from Southwick to Sompting to persuade every voter.

“I don’t just want to be your Labour candidate - I want to be your Labour MP, so that we can deliver the kind of change East Worthing and Shoreham needs from Westminster.

“It won’t stop at the next election - I will work tirelessly to keep the constituency red for decades to come.”

READ MORE: Third time lucky? Council leader in bid to become Labour MP for Worthing West

Mr Rutland has received support from Lord Adonis, who served as transport secretary in the last Labour government, and veteran Labour MP for Exeter Ben Bradshaw.

Mr Bradshaw said: “I know what it takes to win a seat off the Tories in the south, having won Exeter in 1997 after three decades of Tory control.

“Tom has what it takes to beat Tim Loughton and, having seen him campaign, I know he’ll run a first-class campaign that turns East Worthing and Shoreham red for the first time ever - and be a fantastic MP who stands up for local residents.”

The Argus: Deputy leader of Worthing Borough Council Carl WalkerDeputy leader of Worthing Borough Council Carl Walker (Image: Carl Walker)

Deputy leader of Worthing Borough Council Carl Walker is also running to be Labour’s candidate, having previously stood in 2015 and 2017 in the constituency for the National Health Action Party.

Mr Walker, who was elected as a councillor for Selden ward in Worthing in 2019, also works as a community psychologist and lecturer at Brighton University and founded the Worthing Food Foundation during the pandemic, which supports over 600 residents every week.

Some of his work as a councillor has included declaring a cost-of-living emergency and action plan to work with local businesses and community groups to prioritise food and fuel support.

He said: “My aim is to be a genuine community MP, that works with residents to empower them and take their voice to Westminster.

“I have a track record in delivering the political changes our local communities need and have lived and raised my family in Worthing.

“I understand our constituency and the challenges we all face around housing, climate, education and the cost of living.

“I believe I have the local knowledge, experience and capability to take Tim Loughton on and win.”

The Argus: Abdi MohamedAbdi Mohamed (Image: Abdi Mohamed)

Abdi Mohamed, chairman of the GMB union’s ethnic minority network and former parliamentary and Labour Party staffer, is also running to be Labour’s candidate in the constituency.

Mr Mohamed said his time as a charity campaigner gives him experience of "taking on the Conservative government and winning".

He said: "My skills, experience and energy are precisely what this constituency needs. I am eager to continue to engage with the community and share my vision for a better, fairer future.

"I am proud to be running in the Labour Party's selection and I look forward to discussing my ideas for addressing the pressing issues facing East Worthing and Shoreham. Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive East Worthing and Shoreham."

The Argus: Worthing seafrontWorthing seafront

A sixth candidate, Cat Arnold, is also rumoured to be running to be Labour’s choice for East Worthing and Shoreham. Ms Arnold is a councillor for St Mary's ward in Shoreham on Adur District Council, founder of Adur Community Cafe - which provides "pay what you feel" meals, and CEO of Adur Voluntary Action, which supports local charities in Adur.

Ms Arnold did not respond to a request for comment.

While no timetable has been announced for when Labour will select its candidate, the process is expected to be complete by the end of November.