A music industry activist and Mercury Prize winning songwriter has announced he will stand to be Labour’s candidate in Brighton Pavilion.

Tom Gray, founder of the Broken Record campaign which calls for fairer remuneration for artists and songwriters, aims to win the seat for Labour for the first time in more than a decade at the next general election.

Speaking exclusively to The Argus as he launched his campaign, Mr Gray, who is also a founding member of the award-winning band Gomez, said he would bring the passion and commitment he has had to campaigns in the music industry to Westminster.

The Broken Record campaign, which attracted support from more than 300 high-profile artists, helped shift government policy and ensured artists earned money from streams of their recordings.

Originally from Merseyside, Mr Gray first came to Brighton in 1997 at the age of 20 to play a gig with his band and has stayed ever since.

He said: “I made the decision then and there I was going to live here.

“I love the people, I love the sense of energy, excitement and creativity.”

The Argus: Tom GrayTom Gray (Image: Tom Gray)

If selected, he has promised to prioritise tackling the climate emergency, improving mental health provision and addressing the housing crisis.

Mr Gray, in particular, was critical of recent sewage outflows along the South Coast.

He said: “What better symbol of failure have we got, in the face of a climate emergency, than sewage pouring into the sea.”

On mental health, he said there is inequality in and a lack of provision of services, including for children.

“The government has run down our services so badly that even our children can’t access them,” he said.

“The mental health crisis is very visible in this city and it is painful for a lot of people. The next Labour government should be the first to achieve parity of esteem across mental and physical health.”

He also said the housing crisis in Brighton is a “significant problem” that requires support for housing associations and reform to planning laws.

“It is a privilege to live here, but it shouldn’t just be for the privileged,” he said.

Brighton Pavilion is the only Green seat in Parliament, held by Caroline Lucas who is stepping down at the next election.

Mr Gray said: “People have always said to me when am I going to become an MP and when Caroline announced she was standing down my phone rang all day - saying ‘Tom, are you going to do it?'."

He said Caroline Lucas had been a “wonderful” MP adding: “I think having a Green MP when there was a Tory government was an important mark of protest but with a Labour government the opportunity is significantly different.

“There might be a Green MP but Rishi Sunak is still digging oil wells - a Labour MP here fixed on the needs and interests of this constituency can effect real change.”

Mr Gray has already attracted support for his bid to reach Parliament from The Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey.

He said: “From all of the years I have watched Tom campaign, I can say, without doubt, he is one of the most committed, disciplined and fantastically effective people I have ever met. 

“There is no question, he will be the best MP Brighton Pavilion has ever elected.”

In his message to the wider electorate, Mr Gray said: “I’ve a reputation for challenging powerful vested interests. I’ve a reputation for being a fierce campaigner. I’ve a reputation for delivering and I’m often outspoken.

“I know this city, I know our community and its needs - let me deliver against them.”

Labour’s candidate for the election is expected to be announced by the end of the year.

Tom Gray is the second person to throw his hat into the ring, with comedian Eddie Izzard launching a campaign earlier this year.

A number of others are also understood to be planning a bid to be the party’s candidate, including councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council.

The Green Party has already selected its candidate for the constituency, with Sian Berry hoping to keep the party’s only seat in Westminster.