Steven Saxby has “formally withdrawn” his candidacy in the key marginal seat of The Cities of London and Westminster, according to a statement circulated to local party members today.
The so-called ‘Red Rev’, a Corbynite vicar, was suspended from the Labour Party last week pending investigation of a complaint related to sexual harassment, LabourList revealed on Saturday.
At that point, he was no longer a candidate – as suspended party members cannot be candidates – but had been expected to appeal and continue trying to represent Labour in the constituency at the next election.
It is now anticipated that the party will open applications in the seat, as it did for eight others earlier this week. Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Two Cities will compete against Tory incumbent Mark Field and Chuka Umunna as the Lib Dem candidate, amongst others.
Saxby released a statement today, which reads: “I have been suspended from the Labour Party over a complaint I strongly refute. It is right that complaints are properly investigated. I am expecting it to take some time for the disciplinary process to run its course whereby I am hoping to clear my name and return to campaigning.
“In the meantime, with the strong likelihood of an imminent general election, it is essential that Cities of London and Westminster Labour have a parliamentary candidate in place as soon as possible. It is therefore with deep regret but for the good of the local and national party that I have formally withdrawn my candidacy.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the last two years to build a campaign capable of electing a Labour MP in the heart of London. I encourage everyone to get behind a new candidate and help win for the vital transformation the constituency and country need.”