Ukip leader Paul Nuttall to contest Stoke Central by-election
Paul Nuttal, the Ukip leader, will contest the February 23rd by-election in Stoke Central, official party reports confirm. This will be a huge political test for a man who is keen at escaping Nigel Farage’s shadow.
The seat fell vacant after the resignation of Labour MP Tristram Hunt. The by-election will be held concurrently with another one in Copeland. This was also prompted by the resignation of another Labour MP, Jamie Reed.
This is an area that has traditionally been dominated by Labour. However, overtime the majority of the party has been declining. In the 2015 general elections it took the seat by 5, 500 extra votes as opposed to 1997’s 20,000.
Labour party is yet to select a candidate even as Nuttal was confirmed as the UKIP candidate. There is a wide expectation that he will sail through smoothly. The Liberal Democrats have also filled in a candidate, Zulfiqar Ali.
Ali was also a contestant for the seat in the 2015 elections, managing only 1,296 votes.
Paul Nuttal has high chances of winning
After having served under Nigel Farage for 6 years as his deputy, Mr. Nuttal took over the party’s leadership.
The by-election is seen as a test for UKIP support post-Nigel Farage leadership. It is also a measure post-Brexit politics and Jeremy Corbyn’s performance as opposition leader.
With much determination, Mr. Nuttal will make it. His ambition is to become UKIP’s second MP, joining Douglas Carswell who became its first MP in 2014.
Even though the seat has been dominated by Labour for a long time, Nuttal stands a high chance of winning. We are in a post-Brexit era where citizens need a leader who is for it. Nuttal served as Farage’s deputy, a man highly accredited for his role in the Leave Vote.
It is reported that this was not a hurriedly made decision. Rather, he took time to analyze his decision and the impact it could have on the party. Some feared that his name on the ballot would attract anti-Ukip forces and harm the party’s chances in what is not viewed as one of its key target seats.
UKIP will also field a candidate in the Copeland by-election. The party will contest for the seat through Fiona Mills, a pro-nuclear power candidate. She will face off with Labour’s Gillian Troughton, a former hospital doctor.
This is also another seat in which Labour has been losing its majority. In the past general elections, its majority was cut to 2,564 votes.