Former Tory MP Christian Wakeford confirmed as Labour candidate

Elliot Chappell
©️ Richard Townshend/CC BY 3.0

Christian Wakeford, elected to represent one of the ‘Red Wall’ constituencies lost to the Conservatives in the 2019 general election, has been confirmed as the Labour Party’s next parliamentary candidate in Bury South.

Wakeford, who defected from the Tories to join the Labour Party in January, said today that he is “delighted to be confirmed as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Bury South” and thanked local members for a “warm welcome”.

“I will continue to bring people together to deliver the Labour government Bury and the rest of the country so desperately needs,” he added.

“Rising mortgages, more food banks than branches of McDonalds, trade unions under attack, homelessness at record highs, a health service on life support and a bankrupt economy with delays everywhere. Only a united Labour Party can give people the stability needed.”

Wakeford was appointed as the candidate without a trigger ballot process. Normally, an electoral college of local party branches and affiliated organisations (branches of trade unions and socialist societies) votes to decide whether an incumbent Labour MP becomes the candidate or a full selection process is undertaken.

Other Labour MPs are currently undergoing the trigger ballot process. Apsana Begum and Sam Tarry, both members of the left-wing Socialist Campaign Group of MPs in parliament, have been ‘triggered’ by their local parties. Tarry lost the subsequent selection contest to Labour to Win backed Jas Athwal.

A Momentum spokesperson described the decision to appoint Wakeford, who they highlighted has voted against workers’ rights and domestic abuse victims accessing benefits irrespective of immigration status, as a “democratic disgrace”.

“Meanwhile, Apsana Begum, the first hijabi-wearing MP, has seen the Party machine actively facilitate attempts to deselect her, even after being signed off sick from work. Tory men are welcomed with open arms while working-class Muslim women are shut out,” they added.

“The sad truth is that Keir Starmer’s leadership is failing members and failing to live up to Labour’s own values, let alone his pledge to unite the party. This destructive abuse of process and purge of socialists must end.”

The Labour leader said during his campaign to become leader in 2020 that “we should end NEC impositions of candidates” and that “local party members should select their candidates for every election”.

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