Fourth Time Lucky for Labour’s Wakefield By-Election Candidate



Fourth Time Lucky for Labour’s Wakefield By-Election Candidate


Following yet another rank-and-file enraging candidate selection stitch-up, Labour have finally parachuted in the man of the hour for the people of Wakefield: former staffer to ex-MP Mary Creagh, Simon Lightwood. With Imran Ahmad Khan resigning from the Red Wall seat earlier this month, Wakefield’s constituency Labour party hoped to fill the spot with a local figure – preferably a darling from the left. Jack Hemingway, the Corbynite deputy leader of Wakefield council, seemed like a great fit. LOTO had other plans.

In the final hustings yesterday afternoon, the entire local executive committee stormed out in protest after Southside waded in to force a shortlist of two candidates, neither of whom live in the constituency, and neither of whom were the preference of the CLP. Every single member of the executive resigned claiming an “unfair and anti-democratic selection process imposed on Wakefield CLP members”… although some reportedly had second thoughts, with one claiming they’d been “bullied into” a walk-out by more belligerent comrades and apologising as they walked out. Unity is strength et cetera… 

Lightwood eventually won with just 132 members present at the hustings, or 23% of the local membership. Lightwood himself fits the Starmerite mould: a Remainer from the soft left who hopefully won’t cause any grief for Southside. He’s also been trying to get on the ballot for over ten years. First he was interviewed for shortlisting in Loughborough in 2011, with no luck. Then a year later he gave it a go in Bradford, only to fall short again. For round 3 he tried Scarborough and Whitby, and still got turned down. Now he’s finally hit the jackpot, albeit in a seat which voted 66% for Leave, and swung blue with 43.7% of the vote in 2019…

A Labour insider pushed back against the CLP’s botched walk-out last night, claiming the local executive is “obsess[ed] with internal machinations and niche political issues” and the party is now “setting a high bar for our candidates“. A bar Lightwood failed to meet three times before…

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