An associate architect at Bell Phillips is running for the Labour Party in next month’s general election
Jay Morton trained at The Bartlett School of Architecture and has spent the past seven years at Bell Phillips, where she is now part of the firm’s management.
But on 12 December, Morton will go head-to-head with Conservative incumbent Gillian Keegan in the West Sussex constituency of Chichester.
Morton grew up around Chichester and went to school in the neighbouring town of Bognor Regis. She is a member of campaign groups Generation Rent, which advocates tenants’ rights, and PricedOut, which lobbies for lower house prices.
To win, Morton will need to overturn a majority of 22,600 votes amassed by Keegan in 2017 – and become the first-ever Labour MP for the constituency.
If Morton does seize the seat, she would likely also become the only sitting MP who is a qualified architect. The last parliament, which was dissolved on Wednesday (6 November), contained no MPs who were qualified architects.
However, Helen Hayes, a former partner at Allies and Morrison, was a town planner and urban designer before joining parliament in 2015. Hayes is seeking re-election in the safe Labour seat of Dulwich and West Norwood.
Meanwhile in June 2017 architectural journalist and design writer Emma Dent Coad became the first Labour MP in Kensington’s history and will be standing again next month.
Morton has already received support on social media from think-tank The Architecture Foundation and RCKa’s Russell Curtis, who both said the UK would benefit from policy-makers with more architectural experience.
During her time at Bell Phillips, Morton has worked on projects including Marina Gardens, a £25 million elderly care home for Pegasus Life in Portishead, as well as developing affordable housing across six sites for the London Borough of Newham.
More strategic spatial and urban thinking in parliament would massively enrich the quality of British policy making and government action. So it is Exciting to see trained architects standing for election in December. @Jaymorton8 is standing in Chichester.— The AF (@ArchFoundation) November 9, 2019
This is great...if we want to make meaningful change we need people with an excellent understanding of the built environment to get involved more widely in politics. Best of luck, @Jaymorton8! https://t.co/BwCi2Hpq8M— Russell Curtis (@russellcurtis) November 8, 2019