Parmjit Singh Gill was selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Leicester South less than a week ago, as had been expected in the run up to the selection. Gill was the Lib Dem MP for the constituency from 2004-5, as well as being their candidate in both the 2005 and 2010 general elections. As recently as May he wanted to be an MP. As recently as last week, he wanted to be an MP.
Now, as Political Scrapbook have noted, under the cover of PMQs and the budget, the Lib Dems have “replaced” their candidate. Zufar Haq will now be the Lib Dem candidate for the seat. How democratic of them. Lib Dem Voice have a bizarre statement from Gill, which doesn’t really explain his swift about-turn:
“Given much reflection and after talking with my family, it is with regret that I have decided to stand down as a candidate for the by-election.”
“I remain committed to the people of Leicester and am proud to represent the Liberal Democrats, but I have a very young family and I fear the toll that fighting the by-election with all the commitment and dedication it deserves would be too much.”
“I have decided instead to concentrate on representing the people of Stoneygate as a councillor, as I have been proud to do for the last eight years.”
With the Lib Dems in second place in the constituency, Labour’s Jon Ashworth must now be an even stronger favourite to take the seat in the May 5th by-election.