A former Royal Navy senior commander has been selected by local Labour Party members to
take on Boris Johnson supporter Johnny Mercer MP in the Plymouth Moor View seat at the next
Gareth Derrick, a popular former Ham ward city councillor, aims to win the seat for Labour in
what will be a closely contested election.
During his speech to party members on Sunday Gareth highlighted the paralysis at the
heart of Boris Johnson’s caretaker government which means the Conservatives are failing to
focus on the many pressing issues facing people in Plymouth.
These include the crisis in health and social care, inequalities in the education of the city’s
children and young people, poor quality social housing and most urgently, the cost-of-living
“I know from my Royal Navy career that if the Captain gets distracted from their duties, the ship
will hit the rocks,” said Gareth, who served in the Falklands conflict and the Cold War on
Devonport-based submarines, and later in the Gulf and Iraq wars, as well as in diplomatic roles
in Bangladesh and Japan.
With many experts predicting the cost of living crisis will get worse next year, Gareth put party
members on a war footing warning that whoever becomes the new Tory party leader may call a
general election as early as this autumn to try to unite the Conservative party and win a
mandate for their own agenda.
Speaking immediately after the hustings meeting at Tor Bridge High in Estover, Gareth said the
Tories were in “utter turmoil” at Westminster.
“While the Tories at Westminster are fighting amongst themselves, where the candidates to
succeed Boris Johnson are kicking lumps out of each other and trashing their own government’s
record, I will be setting out a positive vision for the north of Plymouth and the whole country that
there is a better future under a Labour government,” he said.
“Everyone can see that the Tories are asleep at the wheel. Even Liz Truss has said that Rishi
Sunak’s economic policies are steering the country towards a recession.
“As can be seen from the chaos in Dover, this Tory Government has given up running the
country while they choose their third leader in six years to replace the disgraced Boris Johnson.
“With the country facing a cost of living crisis and war in Ukraine, now isn’t the time to take their
eye off the problems facing the people of Plymouth, the country and the world. It’s a dereliction