Wakefield by election: "Choose our city's next MP very carefully"

POLITICAL heavyweights are becoming regulars in our city as we get closer to the by election to choose our next MP.

By Gavin Murray
Friday, 17th June 2022, 3:09 pm

Jacob Rees Mogg has been seen knocking on doors in Lupset and Sir Keir Starmer must be getting familiar with the platforms of Wakefield Westgate during the past few weeks.

As well as a flyover with an aeroplane towing a banner for city born Mick Dodgson of the Freedom Alliance Party, visits from The Green Party’s Baroness Natalie Bennett and the co-Leader Carla Denyer.

Even Party Leader, Howling ‘Laud’ Hope will be staying in the city to support the Monster Raving Loony candidate Sir Archibald Earls-Eaton Stanton.

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Wakefield went to the polls in 2019 and voted Tory.

And it seems not a day goes by without at least one of the national media focussing the spotlight on Wakefield claiming the by election is a barometer of how the country is feeling and that the vote could spell the end for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But is that really the case?

Back in 2016 66.3 per cent of voters in the city chose Brexit and began a slow change in the political allegiances of a once truly red city.

After much denial of the facts of the vote and attempts to stop Brexit from all sides the city went to polls in December 2019.

Election night 2019. Imran Ahmad Khan won the seat from Mary Creagh which had been a Labour seat for almost 90 years.

Sitting Labour MP Mary Creagh lost the seat she won in 2005 by a majority of 3,358 to Conservative Imran Ahmad Khan.

He was the first Tory MP since George Hillman in 1931.

Many traditional Labour voters felt betrayed by Ms Creagh, a remainer, and said they weren’t listened to.

Ms Creagh recently told me she couldn’t get past the then Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn , on the doorsteps of the voters.

Mary Creagh and Yvette Cooper at the 2019 election count.

And while many voted for Tory and anticipated a change, what they didn’t vote for as a sex offender, as we were all later to find out.

So realistically we were left without an effective MP, and since have had very little or no representation from a credible politician.

Add into the mix lockdowns ,furloughs, Covid, partygates, beergates and a massive cost of living crisis and we can see why many voters feel let down by politicians of all sides.

Many national commentators say the Conservatives need to retain Wakefield, one of the Red Wall gains made in 2019 that helped sweep Boris along and to what seemed an all powerful unchallengeable leadership.

Some say it will be the trigger to end his premiership if Wakefield turns red again.

The polls say the seat will definitely return to Labour who held it for almost 90 years in a row.

But the party needs a win to bring back voters in the traditional strong Labour seats where many working class voters felt abandoned in 2019.

The two main candidates are without doubt Labour’s Simon Lightwood and long serving city councillor Conservative Nadeem Ahmed.

Within both their respective parties there has been questions and in fighting over whether they are the best candidates.

But as the election day, Thursday, June 23 nears what becomes clearer is that the antiquated system left us without an effective MP.

We are in an age where we are exposed to some of the lowest grade politicians that there has been.

We have been left without representation for almost three years.

What we need is someone who can make the grade required and respect the vote.