Labour shortlists trade unionist and NHS staff member as potential Wakefield by-election candidates

A trade unionist and an NHS staff member are the two candidates who have made the Labour shortlist for the Wakefield by-election, the Yorkshire Post understands.

File photo dated 06/05/10 of a voter placing a ballot paper in the ballot box,
File photo dated 06/05/10 of a voter placing a ballot paper in the ballot box,

Local party members will consider this weekend whether they want Simon Lightwood or Kate Dearden to stand at the upcoming vote, triggered by the resignation of disgraced former MP Imran Ahmad Khan.

Ms Dearden, who works for the Community Union, has previously said in a campaign video that “Wakefield needs a strong voice in Westminster to get its fair share”.

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Meanwhile, Mr Lightwood, who is employed by the health service, has previously said the city “needs an MP who understands their concerns, has walked in their shoes, and will give them back a voice.”

The shortlisting comes as the Government has been urged to table a date for the by-election, triggered by Khan stepping down following a conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

The chief whip of the Conservative party must submit a written motion calling for a by-election in Parliament before a date can be set by Wakefield Council.

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said: “A new session of Parliament has started – the Conservatives must allow the people of Wakefield to be represented in it.

“The city has been without an MP for a year while Imran Ahmad Khan was on trial for sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Through the cost-of-living crisis and the last year of the pandemic local people have been without anyone in their corner.

“Even after being found guilty, the Conservatives allowed their disgraced MP to post-date his

resignation, causing even more delay.

“The by-election must be called immediately so the people of Wakefield can get back their voice in the House of Commons.”

Labour had held the seat for 89 years until Khan claimed a shock victory at the 2019 General Election.

He beat the Labour former frontbencher Mary Creagh by 3,358 votes. Khan has appealed against the conviction but is still due to be sentenced on May 23.