Council leader Bella Sankey will not be among the Labour hopefuls vying to become the next MP for Brighton Pavilion.

It had long been rumoured that Cllr Sankey, who was first elected as a councillor last December, would make a bid to be Labour’s candidate in Brighton Pavilion at the general election next year.

Labour are hopeful of winning the Greens only seat in Parliament following success at the local elections and the decision of Caroline Lucas to stand down.

Some politicians told The Argus that Cllr Sankey was believed to be applying to be the candidate in Brighton Pavilion. However, she has never confirmed this and she has not been included in the longlist of hopefuls.

The Labour has not revealed if she was among those who applied and did not make it on the longlist.

When The Argus asked Cllr Sankey if she was running to become Labour’s candidate in an exclusive interview earlier this week, the council leader said: “I am really happy with the job I’ve got at the moment.”

Former political editor for Newsnight Michael Crick posted on X, formerly Twitter, to say he had been told that Cllr Sankey had "been excluded" from the longlist of hopefuls.

The news will come as a disappointment to some of the party’s activists and supporters, with one Labour source privately expressing hopes she would be the candidate to fight the election in the seat.

The Argus understands four candidates are in the running to be the Labour candidate for Brighton Pavilion; comedian Eddie Izzard, music industry activist Tom Gray, Goldsmid councillor for Brighton and Hove City Council Birgit Miller and North Portslade councillor for Brighton and Hove City Council Lucy Helliwell.

The Argus: Council leader Bella Sankey told The Argus that she is 'really happy' with her current jobCouncil leader Bella Sankey told The Argus that she is 'really happy' with her current job (Image: The Argus)

Cllr Helliwell said that she, as a lifelong resident of Brighton, possesses an “intimate understanding of the city’s strengths, challenges and distinctive character”.

She said: “With a deep commitment to serving the residents of Brighton Pavilion, I will tirelessly advocate for the causes that matter to them, ensuring that our city remains a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous community.

“Labour needs a 24/7 candidate that understands our unique city and its challenges. My dedication to public service is evident in my eight years with the Labour Party, where I have served, for seven years, as a branch secretary and currently as a councillor.

“Brighton Pavilion deserves a Labour MP who will champion the residents' priorities and translate them into tangible action. It needs an MP that will be part of a Labour government to enable real change.

“We need a Labour government to reverse the course set by 13 years of depressing Tory rule.”