The Labour candidate for Carlisle says she takes ‘nothing for granted’ as the general election draws closer.

Labour are comfortably ahead in the polls and the latest figures suggest the party could win by a 1997 style landslide.

Labour haven’t won in Carlisle since 2010 and haven’t won a general election in almost 20 years and Labour candidate, Julie Minns said she recognised the ‘challenge’ that lies ahead.

“It's a labour of love for me as I genuinely love Carlisle,” said Julie.

“We might be ahead at the moment, but an awful lot can change.

"We know that the polls will likely narrow as we get closer to the general election, and I went through the 1992 general election when the polls seemed to suggest that the party was on course to win, and we didn't and that was really painful.

“That loss drives me to knock on as many doors, to make as many phone calls, talk to as many people as possible.

“Every vote has to be earned and I completely respect the electorate.

“I know a lot of people think that Labour are a shoe in the next election, but I don't believe that at all, so I'll be working every single day until the election.”

Julie is an only child from a working-class family that has long standing roots in Carlisle.

Her distant cousin was Ernest Lowthian, the first ever Labour candidate for Carlisle in 1918 and her great grandfather, Thomas Hodgson Minns was a Carlisle councillor in the early 20th century.

In recent weeks there has been dissent in the Labour ranks with MPs calling on the leadership to back a call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, but Julie has backed Keir Starmer’s call for a ‘humanitarian pause’ rather than a ceasefire.

“I would have voted in line with what Keir Starmer said,” said Julie.

“I totally understand colleagues who weren't able to do that.

“But I think the reality is, you have both Hamas and the Israeli government fighting and neither of whom have asked for a ceasefire and neither of whom have got any intention of respecting a ceasefire and therefore our focus has to be on the art of the possible not the hypothetical.”

The Gaza conflict has been a real test of Keir Starmer’s leadership, and many have criticised the Labour leader for his apparent lack of charisma, but we’ve had ‘too much personality’ in politics over the past few years according to Julie.

“A lot of people talk about personality in politics, and I think we've possibly had a little bit too much personality in politics,” said Julie.

“We saw Boris Johnson's personality and what that meant in terms of partying in Downing Street and lying on a personal level so I would swap personality for competence and being the grown up in the room, particularly when we're facing the challenges that we're facing at the moment.”

But before there’s any suggestion that Keir Starmer could become Prime Minister there’s a long general election campaign to come.

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“We have got so much potential in this city and what we need is someone who's confident about being able to unlock that and has the personal loyalty to Carlisle, which I do,” said Julie.

“We've seen under previous Labour governments that Carlisle is able to progress, that we are able to make the most of our potential and I genuinely believe that's what will happen to Carlisle again under a Labour government.

“It's the only place I'd want to be the MP is Carlisle because what's not to love about this city?”