Akef Akbar: Independent candidate in Wakefield by-election

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A local solicitor is standing as in independent candidate in the upcoming Westminster by-election in Wakefield.

Akef Akbar has lived in the city all his life, and is already a local councillor, having been elected in 2021, defeating a Labour held seat.

He said: “I won the election, their stronghold had been taken and the headlines read “Shock result in Wakefield East”.

Independent candidate Akef Akbar says people are tired of party politics, and he wants to do things differently.

The independent candidate was originally elected to the local council as a Conservative, but resigned the local party as he wanted the independence to speak his mind on issues at all times.

“I stood to make a difference, to my home where I was born and raised. I stood for the benefit of my community in order to make a real difference. When I was elected, I made significant financial sacrifice in order to fulfil my obligations as a councillor.

“I have never taken my role lightly, I always acted with integrity and honesty. I did not allow anyone to influence or change my direction. I have always been true to my residents.

Westminster by-election

The vote for a new member of parliament takes place on June 23, as a result of the sitting Conservative MP resigning after being convicted of assault and jailed.

Akef is hoping people will back him in the vote, saying he is a true representative of what a local can achieve, having built up several businesses and created local jobs.

He said: “I have lived in Wakefield my entire life. I proudly studied at Pinders Primary School, Outwood Grange High School, and Wakefield College, I am Wakefield through and through. I continued my studies at the University of Huddersfield where I graduated with a First Class degree in Law.

“I grew up on a local estate like many of my residents where the chances of success were low, unemployment was rife and the endless cycle of seeing those dear to me struggling to break the mould was upsetting.

“Our remarkable tutors at Wakefield College played an instrumental role in helping me to see my full potential, encouraging me to break away from the norm and assisting me to secure my place at Huddersfield University. I am proud to have emerged from Wakefield College and I will forever be indebted to my tutors for their reassuring words.”

His working live began at 14 with a part-time job selling fresh vegetables in Wakefield market, and he qualified as a solicitor at 23, opening his own law firm in the city by the age of 25.

“I was presented with an opportunity to open my firm anywhere in England, but being able to create job opportunities locally, supporting the local businesses and Wakefield has always been my priority,” he added. “I have several other businesses locally and across Yorkshire and my success has not gone unrecognised, as I was awarded Wakefield’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019.”

Personal story

Akef is a single father with a two year old son, and describes his time with him as invaluable, and a “constant reminder that I need to do everything in my power to ensure that him and our young people have access to the best education and opportunities that Wakefield can offer them”.

“I have always been regarded as an underdog throughout my career, having been advised not to be too ambitious when opening my own Law Firm and having been discouraged from standing for local councillor due to Labour’s historic hold over East Ward.

“When I commit my mind to something I ensure that I do not stop till the goal has been achieved. I pride myself in wanting the best for my local community. I am a product of Wakefield and a true representation of this amazing city that I call home. I am proof that with having the right guidance and mind set, anyone from Wakefield can go on to achieve great success.”

Politics

“In 2021 I was elected as your local councillor having caused a major upset within the Labour Party as I made the impossible, possible. I stood for election in Wakefield East which has historically been Labour and caused major uproar and upset by winning the election.”

He has since built his political career fighting for his local town and tackling local issues.

He added: “I stood to make a difference, to my home where I was born and raised. I stood for the benefit of my community in order to make a real difference.”

Born and bred in Wakefield, part of the reason why Akef is standing is to battle other parties who ‘parachute’ candidates in from beyond the area.

“Like many of you, I am sick of both the Tories and Labour Party failing us time and time again, ignoring the needs of our residents. Our city NEEDS real representation, in the interests of Wakefield, not national parties. We deserve a chance to prosper.

“We all talk about change, but do nothing. Here I am, one man, putting everything on the line, for Wakefield taking on the National giants. I ask that you stand with me and show me your support,” he said.

Election pledge

Akef added: “If elected, I intend to use my business skills to encourage entrepreneurs to fill the empty shops and help local businesses to thrive in our town, tackle unemployment, improve public services, reduce waiting times for medical care and invest heavily in our local NHS.

“Dealing with the cost-of-living crisis will be at the forefront to ensure that our residents can provide for their families without the worry of losing their homes or how their bills will be paid. I have a posted a video of my campaign pledges on my Facebook page which you can watch to gain a better understanding of what I intend on doing if elected.

“I do not ask you to ‘lend’ me your vote or take a chance with me. I ask you to hear what I have to say on my Facebook page @CllrAkefAkbar by watching my videos. Once you have heard me, vote for me only if you have confidence in me and trust that I am the rightful voice for Wakefield. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I would be happy to answer any of your queries if you send me a message.”

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