WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Steven Saxby quits Labour candidacy for Cities of London and Westminster

Radical Reverend withdraws from key marginal with 'deep regret' due to lengthy investigation

10 October, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Mr Saxby said disciplinary process would clash with ‘imminent’ general election

STEVEN Saxby has dramatically quit as Labour candidate for the hotly contested Cities of London and Westminster seat.

The “Radical Reverend” – a vicar faithful to leader Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum – had been forced to step-down because of an investigation by the Labour Party.

His website and social media accounts were frozen during the investigation into allegations that are yet to be officially confirmed.

But in a message to members sent last night (Wednesday), he said: “I have been suspended from the Labour Party over a complaint I strongly refute.

“It is right that complaints are properly investigated. I am expecting it to take some time for the disciplinary process to run its course whereby I am hoping to clear my name and return to campaigning.

“In the meantime, with the strong likelihood of an imminent General Election, it is essential that Cities of London and Westminster Labour have a Parliamentary Candidate in place as soon as possible. It is therefore with deep regret but for the good of the local and national Party that I have formally withdrawn my candidacy.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the last two years to build a campaign capable of electing a Labour MP in the heart of London.”

Mr Saxby’s case had been referred up from Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) to another disciplinary body, the national constitutional committee (NCC).

Labour List, a Labour party news outlet funded by unions and donations, has reported that the investigation is understood to over a sexual harassment complaint.

On Wednesday, Mr Saxby had told the Extra he was was “hoping for a speedy outcome of the complaint process and for the suspension from the Labour Party to be lifted as soon as possible so that I can get back to campaigning”.

A Labour Party statement had added: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with the party’s rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual cases.”

Mr Saxby’s withdrawal adds further intrigue to the formerly safe Conservative seat of Cities of London and Westminster. Chuka Umunna has recently been selected to stand for the Lib Dems, after leaving the Labour Party and Change UK this year.

The Conservative Mark Field, who has held the seat since 2001, was run close in 2017 when there was an 11 per cent swing to Labour.  Zack Polanski – a former Lib Dem – is standing for the Green Party, while Georgine Thorburn – a former chairwoman of the Chelsea Barracks Action Group – is the Brexit Party’s candidate. Jenn Selby is standing for the Women’s Equality Party.

 

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