The MP for Ilford South has questioned Labour leader hopeful Sir Keir Starmer’s image as a “north London lawyer”.

Labour MP Sam Tarry won his seat from the incumbent Mike Gapes who had represented the constituency as a Labour MP since 1992 before leaving the party in February 2019.

Speaking on BBC Two’s Politics Live yesterday (January 7) he said he was looking forward to working on issues faced by the party with Mr Starmer.

However, the newly elected MP questioned whether Mr Starmer was the right man to appeal to the working class and northern communities which had widely abandoned Labour at the 2019 election.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Sir Keir Starmer previously endorsed Mr Tarry as Labour candidate for Ilford South. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA wire

Mr Tarry said: “I think he, as someone that’s kind of a north London lawyer, has got to recognise the fact he led the campaign in terms of opposition and remaining in the EU and the consequences of that in those northern seats.

“He has got to have a very good answer that I have not yet heard about how he addresses that particular perception of what he will be standing for and what he will be about and how he will win back voters in those seats.”

Mr Starmer had previously endorsed Sam Tarry’s selection as candidate for Ilford south.

The endorsement followed a selection process marred with controversy, after frontrunner and leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, was suspended from the party after 'serious' allegations were made against him the night before the selection meeting.

At the time, Mr Starmer said: “Sam has worked hard to inform our party’s Brexit strategy, to put us in the best position to win a general election.

“He would be a strong advocate for Ilford South. Please vote for him to be your next MP.”