The inspirational Sophie Cook is paving the way for transgender people in her campaign to become the first transgender MP for the Labour party.

Cook, who will be fighting to claim the seat in East Worthing and Shoreham on 8 June, said that she felt it "was the right time to put my name forward".

"With the unexpected decision by Theresa May to call a snap general election, I feel that the time is right for me to put my name forward to be the Labour candidate," said 50-year-old Cook.

"Over the past two years since I came out as transgender, I have been on the most amazing journey which has led me to this point.

Cook, who is also a TV presenter for Brighton's Latest TV, said that she feared that she would not be able to stand as a member of parliament for the fear of being outed.

"From my days in the Royal Air Force during the 1980s, I always knew that I wanted to stand for parliament but was unable to pursue this in case I was outed as transgender. This is no longer an issue," said the Brighton resident.

The fervent LGBT rights campaigner said that "the time is right, the time is now".

"The reception to me, as a trans woman, has been positive with many declaring that it's time for greater diversity in Parliament.

"The time is right, the time is now and we must all work together to achieve a more caring, more diverse society where everyone can live free from fear and where no one suffers from prejudice regardless of their gender, sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, disability or wealth."

Cook will be battling Tory MP Tim Loughton, who has held the seat since 1997. In the 2015 election, Loughton took 24,686 (49.5%) of the votes, while Labour's Tim Macpherson came second with 9,737 (19.5%), and UKIP's Mike J Glennon third with 8,267 (16.6%).