Wakefield's new MP Simon Lightwood wants to be a voice for the people of our city

THE CITY's new MP says he will be a voice for the people of Wakefield who voted him back and regained the seat for the Labour Party.

By Gavin Murray
Friday, 24th June 2022, 12:17 pm

Simon Lightwood won the seat with a majority of almost 5,000 in the by election with 13,166 votes.

That was 4,925 votes ahead of Conservative Nadeem Ahmed who received 8,241 votes.

Mr Lightwood gave a passionate speech after being announced the new MP declaring the next Labour government had been 'born in Wakefield tonight, the city had been turned 'red again' and that British people had shown their contempt toward Boris Johnson.

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Wakefield MP Simon Lightwood arrives at the count.

NHS communications worker Mr Lightwood said: " I am thrilled and honoured to be re-elected as the Wakefield MP.

"I am proud of the positivity and warmth we have met on the doorsteps.

"The people of Wakefield told me what they want us to focus on and that is what we will do.

People have been tired of having no voice and that is something I intend to address first thing Monday morning."

The result of the Wakefield by-election are announced.

The by-election was called after disgraced former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being convicted of historic sex offences in May.

He had been elected in 2019 after taking the seat from Mary Creagh which held by Labour for almost 90 year .

In 2016 voters in Wakefield chose Brexit and many felt their choice had been ignored by the Labour party and firm remainer Ms Creagh.

Mr Lightwood said that during his campaign Brexit never came up on the doortsep and it was time for a fresh start.

The leader of Wakefield Council Denise Jeffery congratulates the city's new MP.

He said: "It is time for Wakefield to move on and for the people to have a voice and to be represented,

"We need to move forward and we need to make sure it works for Wakefield."

Moments before the Wakefield result was declared it was announced the Tories had lost the Tiverton and Honiton seat in Devon by an even bigger margin..

Speaking before the result was announced, Andrea Jenkyns the Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, said the election was always going to be difficult for the Tories due to the circumstances in which the by-election was called.

"There has been apathy but it is mid-term and we have in 12 years. It is typical of by-elections.

"One thing that was really noticeable is Labour has not cut through. There is not a love for Starmer. He is not cutting through the North which they need to.

"We are starting from not a good starting point as a party, it is horrific circumstances regarding why we have got a by-election.

"Over 80 years this was a Labour seat and they gave the Conservatives a chance. No doubt they must have felt badly let down in the circumstances in which the MP resigned. That is certainly going to be a factor."

She insisted that there was still support for Boris Johnson across much of Wakefield.

"But on the doorstep in certain areas we went in there is a great love of Boris. I really found that in the very working-class areas.

"The history of by-elections there is usually a swing of 17.5 per cent to opposition parties. If Labour don't storm this, I question why. Look at the circumstances of the by-election."

Ms Jenkyns confirmed Mr Johnson had been due to visit the constituency in the run-up to the election but it did not happen.

"He was going to come and had been planned to come up later in the campaign. We have had nearly 130 MPs up, as a whip I have been one of the whips whipping them to get them here."

She said it was hard to say whether an appearance by the Prime Minister would have made any difference to the result.

"It was circumstances, he had to go to Ukraine and he has had an operation this week. Who knows, it is a difficult question to answer. There is Captain Hindsight, I'm not Mrs Hindsight. It is very difficult to answer that.

She said Partygate had only come up a "handful of times" on the doorstep.

"It was more about the cost-of-living. People are struggling to afford to pay the bills. That affects turnout as well."

Ms Jenkyns said she was not concerned about the potential of another rebellion against the Prime Minister following the recent confidence vote.

"We have got people who want to be leader, we have got ex-ministers who are on the backbenches, on politics you always get people with a gripe.

"A few days after the vote of no confidence, things changed in the party - there was a calmness and I know that as a whip. I think people want to feel they had their voice heard but the Prime Minister won it. The majority of us support him and Conservatives just want us to get on with things."

Later on Friday morning Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer made an appearance in Ossett alongside Wakefield's new MP to celebrate the victory..

Sir Keir said: "You didn't just get this over the line, you absolutely smashed it. A great result for Labour.

"This is vindication of all of our hard work over the last two years because what Wakefield could see was a Labour party confident, united and absolutely focused on the issues affecting working people.

“This puts us now absolutely on track for a Labour government, which is absolutely coming."

The turnout for the by-election was 39.5 per cent, at the 2019 general election it was 64.1 per cent.