Wakefield locals warn rebellion coming as Boris U-turns on trains

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The Wakefield by-election, which will be held on June 23, was triggered when former MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being jailed following a conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. The West Yorkshire seat was part of Labour’s so-called Red Wall heartlands for decades and returned a Labour MP every election from 1932 until 2019 when it turned blue. In the last general election the Conservatives gained a modest majority of 3000 votes.

But Labour will be doing everything to win the seat back and pile pressure on Boris Johnson.

After surviving a no confidence vote on Monday the Prime Minister will be looking to show Tory MPs that he is still electable.

Many Conservative MPs started their careers in 2019 by winning traditional Labour seats such as Wakefield.

The next UK general election is due to take place in 2024 and polls turning in Labour’s favour will be causing concern among the Conservative Party’s backbenches.

Who is standing in the Wakefield by-election?

All the major political parties are fielding candidates in the seat including Labour, the Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Green Party.

The Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed is a councillor in the Wakefield South ward in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Labour’s candidate is NHS worker Simon Lightwood who joined the party 20 years ago in the city.

Why is the seat so important?

A Conservative defeat in Wakefield would be bad news for the Prime Minister and would lead to more questions over his leadership.

If Labour won the seat it could be an indication that voters who swung Conservative in 2019 for the first time are turning their back on the party.

It also presents an opportunity for smaller parties to present themselves as a credible alternative and pull votes away from Labour and the Tories.

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Polls indicate that right now Labour is well ahead in the race for Wakefield.

Figures from JL Partners published on June 4 gave Sir Keir Starmer’s party a healthy 20 per cent lead over the Tories.

The research predicts Labour will pick up 48 per cent of the vote compared to just 28 per cent for the Conservatives.

The Lib Dems trailed well behind and are expected to gain around seven per cent of votes.

Wakefield is a city in West Yorkshire with a wider-area population of around 300,000 people.

Situated on the north bank of the River Calder which led to the city being industrialised in the 19th century, Wakefield became home to wool spinning mills and was famous for the production of ‘tammies’ – thin worsted fabric often used to make curtains and blinds.

Councillors in the city voted in opposition to the eastern leg of HS2 which has subsequently been scrapped but was due to connect Leeds with the Midlands.

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