The great-granddaughter of a First World War hero is bidding to become a North East MP.
She is the great-grandaughter of John Gort who grew up in County Durham. He was an infantry soldier on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918 who received three Distinguished Service Orders, the Military Cross and nine Mentions in Dispatches before winning the Victoria Cross.
The 35-year-old now has a battle of her own as she works to become the constituency’s first Conservative MP.
A married mum-of-one, Ms Haitham Taylor, was selected at a meeting last week.
She is a professional fine artist who is currently a cabinet member in Wokingham Council in Berkshire, with responsibility for Children’s Services and Education.
Ms Haitham Taylor, who has moved to Shotley Bridge, said: “It is a real honour to be chosen as the Conservative candidate for North West Durham, an area that means so much to me personally.
“I am dedicated to serving this community and I look forward to spending the next nine months meeting as many constituents as possible.
“I will be listening to their concerns and setting out my own priorities, including creating new jobs and opportunities, building a better health service and delivering a referendum on Europe.”
Ms Haitham Taylor wants to see secondary standards raised in County Durham. She is also campaigning for more investment in local infrastructure.
She said: “Our young people have to be both nationally and globally competitive.
“As parents, teachers and governors, we need to build a fresh culture of high expectations in secondary education, so that a young person leaving any of our schools can have the qualifications, the confidence and the support to become a world leader in any field.”
She added: “Whether we are talking about health, immigration or education, the old-style fixed ideas of right and left are out of date.
“We are all living here on a small island in a time of fundamental national and local challenges.
“We have to pull together to find the solutions: For a health system that is excellent and affordable, for our country’s place in the world and for the fair and just society we and our children want and need. I want to help deliver this for everyone in North West Durham.”