Peterborough becomes Brexit battleground as final by-election candidate list revealed

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Peterborough has become the battleground for Brexit with numerous candidates for the upcoming by-election putting the issue at the heart of their campaigns.

The final list of 15 candidates was published this afternoon (Thursday) after the deadline to register passed.

Four of the candidates are representing parties whose names refer to Brexit, while many of the other candidates have already emphasised their pro or anti-Brexit credentials.

At the 2016 referendum nearly 61 per cent of voters backed leaving the EU.

The by-election is being held on Thursday, June 6 after Fiona Onasanya became the first MP to be removed by her constituents under a Recall Petition. The petition was signed by 19,261 of her constituents (27.64 per cent), passing the 10 per cent threshold needed to trigger a by-election.

As expected the Conservatives are represented by Paul Bristow, who has highlighted the fact he was a Leave campaigner, while Labour have put up union worker and former Peterborough election candidate (and city councillor) Lisa Forbes.

Despite rumours of an alliance between the Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Change UK to field a single, unity Remain candidate, the first two have stuck with their original candidate choices while Change UK has not put a candidate forward at all.

The Liberal Democrat candidate is vocal Remainer Beki Sellick, while the Greens are putting up Joseph Wells who wants to protect the environment for generations to come.

UKIP is represented by former North West Cambridgeshire candidate, and former city councillor, John Whitby, while others on the pro-Brexit ticket include city businessman Mike Greene (Brexit Party) and former Daily Express political editor Patrick O’Flynn (SDP).

On the opposite side of the Brexit debate are Pierre Kirk from the new UK European Union Party which wants to revoke Article 50 without another vote, Peter Ward from Renew which says it is made up of people from outside politics who are “dedicated to the restoration of our country’s broken political system,” and Dick Rodgers, who put on his nomination form he is representing Common Good: Remain In The EU.

Mr Rodgers, a reverend from Birmingham, also wants to create a “unified sense of national purpose” which can make the world a better place.

Other candidates include Stephen Goldspink, a former city councillor who stood to be crime commissioner and elected mayor. He said if mayor he would invite Donald Trump to Cambridgeshire.

Dr Tom Rogers from the Christian Peoples Alliance said his party has “down to earth policies that work for the benefit and good of everyone in the community”.

Peterborian Andy Moore from Garton End Road, who is chairman of Peterborough Lions Rugby Club, is representing the Peterborough People’s Party which he has just formed.

He said he was motivated to stand due to the “Brexit circus”, and that he wants to focus on areas such as crime and housing.

Fathers’ right campaigners Bobby Smith from Stevenage, who has previously scaled Buckingham Palace and Jeremy Corbyn’s roof to protest, is listed as an independent.

As for Monster Raving Loony Party candidate Howling Laud Hope, who has stood in numerous elections by-elections going back to 1983, he previously told the Peterborough Telegraph: “We are the party that’s on everybody’s side, no matter what political persuasion they are.”

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Peterborough by-election: Final list of 15 candidates revealed