Labour reclaims Wakefield from Conservatives

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Labour reclaims Wakefield from Conservatives

Labour has regained Wakefield from the Conservatives in a byelection triggered by a Tory MP being imprisoned for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.

Simon Lightwood, a Labour MP, is an NHS communications executive who used to work for the previous Labour MP. Lightwood won with 13,166 votes, a majority of 4,921 votes. Nadeem Ahmed came in second with 8,241 votes.

He told voters that it was their chance to boot Boris out of Downing Street despite his victory only nibbling into the 75 seat majority Boris Johnson enjoyed before the polls closed on Thursday.

But his victory has a symbolic value for the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, to show that the party is making progress in red wall seats won by the Conservatives in 2019.

Starmer ordered the party to throw everything at Wakefield if Labour didn't win the seat back, because Starmer ordered the party to throw everything at Wakefield. He visited three times and ordered his shadow cabinet to follow suit.

Campaigners flooded the seat after some of the Wakefield constituency party executive resigned in protest against a local councillor failing to make the candidate shortlist, amid reports that the party was short of local canvassers. Though Lightwood made a big play of having gone to the university in Wakefield and bought his first house there, he lives with his husband in Calderdale.

Local members had rallied around Lightwood, according to David Pickersgill, a Labour councillor in Wakefield. The people who resigned from office but not from the Party still asked to vote for Labour. There are about 10 people from that group who have not campaigned. A number of other members, including a number from the Executive, have campaigned and worked bloody hard for a UKLabour MP and future Govt, he tweeted on Thursday night after the polls closed.

In interviews with the campaign, Lightwood talked about growing up in poverty. I know what people are going through in this cost of living crisis. After my childhood home was repossessed, I shared a bedroom with my nan, my aunt and my sister, he tweeted.

Local councillor Nadeem Ahmed, the Conservative candidate, received little support from the Tory party HQ, which was preoccupied with defending its 24,000 majority in Tiverton and Honiton in Devon.

Ahmed was the group leader of Wakefield Conservatives until he was ousted by a vote of no confidence last year, as a former teacher who claimed to read the Guardian.

During the campaign he got into a muddle when he tried to explain to a reporter why he should not be punished for the sins of the former MP, Imran Ahmad Khan. He said voters should vote for the Conservatives in Wakefield as they still trust GPs after Harold Shipman killed 250 people.

Wakefield has been marginal for 20 years, even though often described as a typical red wall seat. Mary Creagh, elected for Labour in 2005 with a majority over just over 5,000 votes, managed to hang on until 2019 when she was defeated by Khan, who won by 3,358 votes. A passionate European who once said she would be a stayer until I die, Creagh found herself out of step with many constituents in a seat that voted 66.4% to leave the EU.