June 27, 2022

Image credit: BBC

Wakefield Labour candidate chosen after committee walks out

Following Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan’s resignation following his sexual assault conviction, Labour has chosen its candidate for the Wakefield by-election.

Simon Lightwood, an NHS worker who was picked to run for the seat, asked the Conservatives to call an election.

However, the local Labour Party’s executive committee stormed out of the final selection meeting.

Last Monday, the group withdrew after disagreeing with the way the final two candidates were chosen.

The retirement of Mr Khan, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old kid, forced the by-election. The seat was held by Labour for more than 87 years before the Conservatives gained it with a 3,358-vote margin in 2019.

Mr Lightwood, a member of the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum, was nominated by Kate Dearden, a community trade unionist.

He expressed his gratitude for being chosen after his selection. “I joined the Labour Party in Wakefield twenty years ago, and I lived, schooled, and worked for ten years in this great city,” he said.

“Times are much harsher than they should be for hardworking people across our district,” he added, promising to fight “tooth and nail” for the area.

Wakefield’s outgoing executive committee stormed out of the hustings today, claiming that it “could not endorse the unfair and anti-democratic selection procedure” foisted on party members in a statement.

They claimed that voting would have “condoned the practices” utilised and that they did not want to participate in a process that they considered violated Labour Party regulations.

The group claimed that only 23% of local members attended the hustings, stating that turnout was poor. The Wakefield by-election has yet to be scheduled.

Mr Lightwood stated, “ “For over a year, Wakefield has been without an MP and a voice in Westminster. The Conservatives must now organise a by-election to ensure that local residents receive the representation they deserve.