Conservatives will select their candidate to stand in the upcoming by-election for Sleaford and North Hykeham tomorrow (Thursday).
Members of the Sleaford and North Hykeham Conservative Association have been informed that the Special General Meeting to select their by-election candidate will take place on Thursday night.
The meeting – for members only – will take place at 7.30pm, at The Bentley Hotel in South Hykeham. The selected candidate will instantly begin a four week campaign towards the by-election date set for December 8.
Association members have not yet been told who the shortlisted candidates are in the race to succeed Stephen Phillips, who announced his shock resignation on Friday, but expect to hear later today.
Sleaford and North Hykeham Labour Party will choose from two candidates tonight: Rosanne Kirk and Jim Clarke of Leasingham. An announcement will be made tomorrow.
Last year’s general election Labour candidate Jason Pandya-Wood has already ruled himself out. He told The Standard via social media: “Not this time but we’ll be mounting a strong campaign and I’ll be out for the candidate!”
The Liberal Democrats have not come forward with a name yet either. According to the local party, selection is scheduled for late Friday evening when an announcement will be made.
Matthew Holden who stood as a Lib Dem in 2015 ruled himself out and told The Standard: “I have family and work commitments that have to come first, but I will be supporting the candidate when selected.”
Commenting on the resignation of Stephen Phillips, Liberal Democrat Party President Sal Brinton said: “Stephen Phillips has said he has irreconcilable policy differences with the government; child refugees, keeping the UK in the Single Market and the Government’s reaction to the Brexit court case to name but three.
“I think there will be many backbench Conservative MPs who are feeling the same about this Conservative Brexit Government today. My message to them is this: search your conscience and make your voice heard. We cannot carry on like this.
“Stephen is a thoroughly decent man and even though we are not in the same party I have admiration for a person who stands up for what they believe in. I wish Stephen well in the next chapter of his life.”
Meanwhile Tory Lincolnshire County Councillor Richard Davies has put himself forward, as have UKIP county councillors Victoria Ayling and Robin-Hunter-Clarke and UKIP party leader candidate Suzanne Evans. Another UKIP county councillor Daniel McNally has also not ruled himself out, and broadcaster and former Sleaford student Joseph Hayat is keen to be in the running. Peter Hill (aka Arty Pole) of the Monster raving Loony Party has also vowed to stand.