Simon Lightwood parachuted in to stand for Labour in Wakefield.

Simon Lightwood parachuted in to stand for Labour in Wakefield.

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After a farce of a hustings, after party rules had been broken, after the CLP exec resigned, Lightwood is selected.
The Labour shortlist for the Wakefield by-election consisted of two people, both establishment, both with parachutes firmly strapped to their backs, but the one who landed on the target was Simon Lightwood.
It’s not his first foray into skydiving to challenge for a seat. In 2011 he was shortlisted to stand for Loughborough in Leicestershire whilst according to his phone there, he was based in Charnwood. Having failed there, he got himself shortlisted to stand in Bradford West, despite his phone once more indicating that’s not where he was, down in Camden. However this time he’s not missed his mark and that has a lot to do with Keir Starmer ensuring he’d tightened the straps for him, a parachute Lightwood inherited from his Labour predecessor there and indeed his former boss apparently, Mary Creagh.
Of course there were candidates already on the ground in this seat and the fact they were cast aside so that Lightwood could hit his landing has not gone down well. The National Party arrogantly has said it makes no apologies for this, when they want the highest standard of candidate, clearly implying that the locals, including the Deputy leader of Wakefield Council I might add, simply aren’t good enough and by good what I really mean is Starmer supporting enough because ultimately that’s what it all comes down to.
Starmer has imposed a candidate here, breaking party rules to do so and disgusting the local CLP so much that the entire 16 strong executive have quit, paralysing the party locally. Compounding Starmer’s stupidity further, despite both candidates shortlisted being very much Team Keith types, he chose to enforce ID in order to come along and vote for a given candidate. 77% of those who could vote, were unable to because of this. Just 132 local members, the remaining 23% showed up to the hustings and given many, including those resigned CLP executive members refused to vote, over how the Party has handled this, plus of course some votes going to his rival Kate Dearden we don’t know how many actually voted to endorse him, but it’s certain to be in just double digits.
By disenfranchising members, by forcing another outsider on them that they don’t want, they won’t turn out to campaign. In a seat Labour should win easily, given the nature of the departure of the Tory incumbent, Starmer has handicapped his own party yet again.

►SOURCES:
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/may/15/wakefield-labour-party-walks-out-of-final-vote-on-bylection-candidate

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