The Northern Independence Party (NIP) have announced their candidate for the Wakefield by-election after a ballot of party members on Monday evening. Christopher Jones, an electrician who comes from a mining family and served in the British Army as a Lance Corporal until being made redundant in 2012, will represent the party in the contest.
The by-election, triggered by the criminal conviction and resignation of outgoing Tory MP Imran Khan, will take place in Wakefield on 23 June. The NIP is offering a platform of renationalisation and more devolved powers for the North that they believe will appeal to voters unimpressed by the responses of the government and opposition to the corporate greed-driven ‘cost-of-living crisis’.
Traditionally a Labour stronghold, Wakefield returned a Conservative MP for the first time in 2019, after many in the Leave-voting constituency rejected Labour’s policy of a second EU referendum that Keir Starmer had engineered. The NIP plans to appeal to these traditional Labour voters by running on a proudly pro-union, anti-privatisation manifesto.
In a statement, Mr. Jones said he was running because,
the people of Wakefield are sick of being taken for granted, and because we know that not only are better things possible for the North, they’re closer than we think.
Mr. Jones also promised to “stand up to the London-based Westminster parties and demand a fair share for Wakefield” if elected, proposing to fight for the nationalisation of energy companies, bring buses, trains and schools back under public control, and crack down on corporate fly-tipping across Wakefield.
In contrast, the Labour party is fielding a ‘parachuted’ candidate appointed in a process that triggered the resignation of the entire elected executive of Wakefield Labour.
The announcement of Mr. Jones’ candidacy comes just two weeks after local council elections where the NIP stood across the North, finishing ahead of the Liberal Democrats in Newcastle’s Wingrove ward and doubling their candidate’s vote share in Liverpool. The party has seen a surge in membership since the local elections, and party officials say that in Wakefield they are “in it to win.” The party’s manifesto can be found here.
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