Labour selects teacher and first non-binary parliamentary candidate to contest Richmond seat

Labour has selected its candidate for the Richmond constituency to stand in the upcoming general election.

Cambridge graduate Thom Kirkwood, from Croft-on-Tees, works as a supply teacher in schools across North Yorkshire and County Durham.

The party says Thom will be the first non-binary person to stand as a parliamentary candidate.

The candidate has been involved in campaigning for fair funding for schools, and in particular for a fair deal for students with special educational needs.

Thom grew up as a forces child, living on military bases all across the country until age 8, when the family returned to permanently settle in North Yorkshire.

Before teaching, Thom worked on local farms, in hotels, and in pubs to pay their way through university.

Thom is a Quaker, a keen gardener, and a trainee beekeeper.

Speaking after the selection, Thom said: “I am immensely proud to be standing to represent the area where I live and my family roots are.

“This is a wonderful area to live; but over the last few years ordinary people have been finding it harder and harder to get by, and I am worried that it might not last.

“Villages like the one I live in are dying out: businesses are closing, young people are priced out of living in the communities they grew up in, and public transport routes which are a lifeline for our communities are being cut. Our schools are in crisis, with funding cuts forcing rural schools to face the possibility of closure and teaching to the test replacing a broad education.

The budget squeeze and reorganisation of our NHS services and social care have been putting the fabric of the service at risk, as I’ve seen affecting my own family. Cuts to police budgets are putting our communities’ safety at risk, and the force are so stretched that most people don’t get the chance to know their local police officer.

“People here in Richmondshire, Northallerton, and the Great Ayton area need a local representative that will put them first.

“I will work tirelessly over the next month to let local people know that this general election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for all people in the constituency or a Conservative Party that will sign Trade Deals with Donald Trump that will let American imports undercut the high standards of British farming, and whose failure to address the environmental crisis is this green and pleasant land that we love at risk.”



  1. Do we need to know this person is non-binary, whatever that is. Would we need to know if he had red hair, or false teeth? Does being one of a minority pressure group make fpor a better MP?

  2. Sorry i am showing my ignorance, and could google it..but what is “non-binary”?
    Binary I was taught in Maths is a form of numbering using only either 0 or 1, rather than the 0-9 . So is non binary any number betweeen 2 and 9??

  3. Ok, googled it, and am not much wiser.

    But yes agree, that it is what a person does, says, and stands for that is important when deciding who to vote for.

    Good luck to you Thorn.

  4. Since gender is an entirely artificial construct I fail to see what relevance this person’s ‘non-binary’ status has. However, given the continuing preponderance of male MP’s in the House, it may be relevant to some voters to know the candidate’s biological sex since this is not a construct but a material reality. Your photograph appears to show a man. I’m glad we have cleared that up.

    • Thank you for a sensible comment. Gender relates to the artificial construct of sex stereotyping and it clearly shouldn’t be a straitjacket. This person is, as you say, clearly male, and it would be great if he doesn’t feel the need to conform to rigid notions of what a man should be – but that doesn’t alter his sex. The term “non-binary” gives credence to the idea that these binary gender concepts have some objective reality. They don’t.

  5. As a non-binary, non-cisggender, non-conforming, non-heteronormative, self-identifying, crypto-pansexual, transgender transwoman politician, I welcome this development with open all-BAME, non-white-privileged arms. It is now scientific fact that there are more than 5,000 biological sexes and over two million genders. Penguins are gender-neutral and 90% of Camels are gay. Humans will soon evolve into either Clownfish, Seahorses or Mermaids, and this will mean more representation of the “Queer Ocean” in Parliament. Good luck to him/he/she/her/they/xee/xer/it.

  6. As long as he does a good job, listens to people and acts in the best interest of the community, who cares how he chooses to categorise himself. Best of luck fella!

  7. Has this bright spark of a candidate not noticed that most of the problems he identifies have been caused – or at the very least significantly exacerbated by the TORIES! And we’re all ‘non-binary’ to varying degrees
    Let’s all just reject gender stereotypes and expectation’s and live our lives as we wish to the extent that we can do that without harming others or impinging on their rights. Deal?

  8. We already have a great MP who works tirelessly for his local community and is always happy to help all and any of his constituents. His name is Rishi Sunak and I’m sure when he meets people he doesn’t judge them on their sexuality

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