Fighting Wakefield by-election 'massive responsibility' says Conservative candidate

Fighting the by-election in Wakefield is a “massive massive responsibility” the Conservative candidate has said, as he suggested the “Tory brand” is bigger than disgraced Imran Ahmad Khan.

Nadeem Ahmed was selected a the Conservative candidate last weekend, having served on the local council for more than a decade. He told The Yorkshire Post that he is “ready for the next chapter” and wants to represent the city he grew up in at Westminster.

“I’m a resident of Wakefield, I was born here,” he said, adding that it he feels “great” following his selection but a “massive, massive responsibility”.

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“I stood because I’ve been a local politician for 16 years and I’ve never put myself forward before.

Nadeem AhmedNadeem Ahmed
Nadeem Ahmed

“Roughly about three years ago I saw the tide in Wakefield turning towards the Conservatives.

“I saw the movement that we had locally in elections and nationally and I believe that it was a natural step for me as a local councillor as previous leader of the Conservatives to put my name in the ring and say ‘I think I’m ready for the next chapter of politics representing the city that I’ve grown up in’.”

The vote has been triggered by the resignation of Imran Ahmad Khan following his conviction for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 2008.

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Khan was elected to the seat for the Conservatives in 2019, but had the whip suspended and was later kicked out of the party following the trial.

When asked whether he thought the case had damaged the party’s reputation in Wakefield, Cllr Ahmed said that many of the issues coming up on the doorstep are local, such as the Government’s levelling up policies or changes to council tax arrangements.

“The Tory brand is bigger than any one individual person, we know that,” he said.

“We’ve had great leaders in the past, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, we’ve seen many other leaders come and go.”

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He added: “We’re the oldest national party in the history of England.

“But I think our brand and our identity is based on our work in national government, our work in local government and what we’re finding on the doorstep is people are talking about that.”