Independent candidate Paul Halloran, who stood in Batley & Spen in 2019 and received 12.2% of the vote, has announced he will not be standing in the forthcoming by-election. A major boost to the Tories’ chances.
The statement has just been put out by Laurence Fox’s Reclaim party, with whom Halloran had been in discussion for some time. Reclaim says neither they, nor Halloran, will stand in the by-election, however Halloran does intend to stand as Reclaim’s candidate in the constituency come the next election.
“Paul and I have decided that we will not stand in the by election.
It has been made clear to both of us that many people in Batley and Spen are fed up with the Labour Party.
The Labour Party have lost their way. We cannot in good conscience stand and risk splitting the vote and condemning Batley and Spen to any more years of Labour control.
The Labour Party is one of the most divisive and intolerant political parties in the UK.”
The statement is far from an endorsement of the Tories’ candidate, however, accusing Ryan Stephenson of only caring about his party, and being someone “who couldn’t find Batley & Spen on a map four weeks ago”. With Galloway taking votes from the left, and the right narrowing down to one main contender, this by-election just became a major headache for Sir Keir…
UPDATE 06/06: Reform Party also standing aside so as not to split the right-wing vote. Richard Tice’s statement:
“We do not want to split the vote and reduce chances of Labour being ousted. While do not support this government, particularly with its approach to lockdown’s, the Northern Ireland Protocol and its new globalist tax agenda, a Tory win would lead to an early election, possibly next year and hopefully the final nail in Labour’s coffin.”