Labour Activists Stage Walkout As Party Chooses By-Election Candidate

Labour activists staged a walkout as the party chose its candidate for a crunch by-election.

Simon Lightwood was picked to stand in Wakefield following a controversial selection process.

The by-election is taking place after the previous Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, resigned after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

HuffPost UK revealed last week that Keir Starmer’s office had blocked the deputy leader of the local council, Jack Hemingway, from standing over his previous support for Jeremy Corbyn.

At the final selection meeting today, the Wakefield constituency Labour party’s executive – who resigned their positions on Friday – walked out after hearing from Lightwood and Kate Dearden, the other candidate shortlisted.

In a statement, they said: “Today’s meeting should have had a good range of candidates to choose from, including quality Wakefield based aspirants. Instead they had just two, with all the Wakefield options already stripped out.”

In a further blow to Labour’s campaign, the powerful GMB union has also said it will not endorse the party’s candidate.

But a Labour source hit back: “We are rightly setting a high bar for our candidates at every level.

“The Labour Party has changed and our priority is the voters, not obsession with internal machinations and niche political issues, and we know that Wakefield and Britain deserves better than this Tory government and that’s what we’ll set out to do in this campaign.”

Speaking after his selection was confirmed, Lightwood said: “It is an honour to be the Labour candidate for Wakefield.

“Twenty years ago I joined the Labour Party here in Wakefield, and for ten years I lived, studied and worked in this great city. We have a lot to be proud of in Wakefield, and a huge amount of strength and resilience in our communities, but the Conservatives and their disgraced MP Imran Ahmad Khan have failed us.

“I will fight tooth and nail for our hard working communities. Wakefield deserves a fresh start, and someone who is going to be their voice at Westminster, help people through the cost of living crisis, fix our broken transport system and ensure people feel safe on our streets. ”

“Wakefield has been without an MP and a voice at Westminster for over a year. The Conservatives now need to call this by-election so local people can finally get the representation they deserve.”

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