And then there were five…
The official list of candidates standing for the post of MP for Hastings and Rye was published last week, showing five contestants instead of the expected six. The missing person is David Lofts of the Respect Party, who has decided to stand down. Nick Terdre reports.
In an unusual display of electoral altruism, Mr Lofts decided that support for his candidature, although low, could have serious consequences for Labour’s Sarah Owen.
“I was polling at around 4% (according to my own telephone poll) which was clearly not enough to win the seat, but enough to spoil Sarah Owen’s chances of taking victory,” he tells HOT. “I therefore decided to do the right thing and stand down in favour of a candidate who has a real chance of bringing change to the area.
“I will continue to represent the Respect Party in the ward, and post-election I will be continuing with all my plans to develop non-profits in the area. I don’t believe that being your MP is necessary for me to do that.”
“Until the election you’ll find me on the Labour doorstep with Sarah Owen’s canvassing team, trying to ensure a favourable outcome to the election for the working people of Hastings and Rye.
“I will be issuing a full media statement later this week as there are a number of other factors which influenced my decision to take this course of action – all of which I think are based on my desire to actually help local people in the short term, rather than as part of a mythical ‘long-term economic plan’.”
Mr Lofts’ plans for promoting non-profit enterprises are explained in the electoral statement he provided to HOT before deciding to stand down.
According to its website, Respect is fielding just four general election candidates, but none in the South-East – two are in Yorkshire and two in Birmingham.
The five candidates left standing for Hastings and Rye are (in strict alphabetical order, by surname) Jake Bowers (Green Party), Andrew Michael (Ukip), Sarah Owen (Labour Party), Nick Perry (Liberal Democrats) and sitting MP Amber Rudd (Conservatives).
In the last general election in 2010, there were candidates for six parties. They included the BNP and the English Democrats, neither of which is represented this year, as well as Ukip, but not the Greens. The election was won by Amber Rudd, who polled 20,468 votes, 1,993 more than Labour’s Michael Foster.
Links to the other candidates’ electoral statements can be found in the box about HOT’s election coverage on the front page.
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