Sources reveal that the opposition parties could be allowed to stand aside in order to allow a Martin Bell-style antisleaze candidate to challenge the Tories in Owen Paterson’s North Shropshire seat.

  • Labour, Lib Dems, and the Greens are all discussing how to step aside
  • While some people think it’s a sensible idea, others are more concerned about the practicalities. 
  • After other parties had agreed to not stand, Mr Bell beat Tory Neil Hamilton.










It was claimed that the opposition parties could be allowed to stand aside in order to allow an independent antisleaze candidate to challenge the Tories in Owen Paterson’s vacant seat.

According to reports, Labour, the Lib Dems, and the Greens are in talks about allowing Martin Bell-style free reign over the North Shropshire constituency.

After other major parties had agreed not to stand, Mr Bell, a former BBC war correspondent challenged Neil Hamilton, the Tory incumbent, for the Conservative stronghold in Tatton, Cheshire.

The broadcaster won the independent election on an anti-sleaze ticket that had a majority of over 11,000. 

On Thursday, Owen Paterson, North Shropshire MP, resigned amid a scandal that rocked Westminster

Martin Bell (right), a former BBC war correspondent, challenged Tory incumbent Neil Hamilton (left) for the Conservative stronghold of Tatton in Cheshire in 1997 after other major parties agreed not to stand

Martin Bell (right), a former BBC war correspondent, challenged Tory incumbent Neil Hamilton (left) for the Conservative stronghold of Tatton in Cheshire in 1997 after other major parties agreed not to stand

However, while a Labour source stated to BBC that it would be a sensible move for the parties to avoid splitting non-Tory votes, others in the discussion were not happy about the prospect.

Lib Dem sources said that the technicalities of having an independent candidate who is supported by opposition parties are a complete nightmare.

According to reports, talks were held yesterday between opposition parties to discuss their approach for the by-election to the traditional Tory safe seat. 

Since 1997, Mr. Paterson occupied the North Shropshire constituency and won 62.7 per cent in 2019. 

The By-election is one of three that the Tories will have to contest in the next months. They will also need new MPs to replace James Brokenshire, the late Sir David Amess, and the murdered Sir David Amess.  

There is no date yet for the North Shropshire byelection.

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