In a move more surprising than it might seem at first glance, Beki Sellick – the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough – is now the Lib Dem candidate in the Parliamentary by-election.
She’s been very active for quite a while now. In fact, I was up there campaigning for her a few months back, burning some Christmas calories.
Why then it is more surprising than it might seem that she is the Lib Dem candidate? Because there was a flurry of activity to try to secure cross-party agreement for one Remain candidate.
But, as I touched on yesterday, that didn’t come through.
As Politcs Home reports:
Change UK have been left red-faced after a plan to join forces with other Remain-backing parties in the Peterborough by-election collapsed.
The party had been in talks with the Lib Dems, Greens and Renew about standing a single candidate in the vote on 6 June.
But in farcical scenes, the plan collapsed after the unnamed would-be MP – who is understood to be a member of the People’s Vote campaign – pulled out just hours before the deadline for submitting nomination forms.
And while the Greens and Lib Dems will still run their own candidates, Change UK will not be putting anyone forward in the seat.
The BBC’s Norman Smith adds to the story:
That Labour pressure looks to have been applied to the idea of high profile Remain campaigner Femi Oluwole standing.
Change UK also didn’t handle the talks well, as the New Statesman adds:
Change’s approach generated much consternation in the Green and Liberal Democrat camps: a premature tweet from Anna Soubry, sent with neither the knowledge nor authorisation or the other parties, presented the move as not only a fait accompli, but one over which Change had sole ownership.
Soubry’s announcement depleted goodwill on the other side of the negotiating table, already in short supply.
Or as a Liberal Democrat spokesperson said:
The Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, Change UK and Renew have been working together to put forward a joint approach for the Peterborough by-election, understanding the need for a collective effort in securing a People’s Vote and stopping Brexit.
We had all agreed to put our support behind an independent and pro-Remain candidate. Unfortunately, this effort has not been successful, and as the strongest remain party, the Liberal Democrats will be fielding a candidate ready to represent Peterborough.
We have therefore selected local businesswomen and campaigner Beki Sellick as our candidate, having previously fought the seat for the party in the 2017 election.
With over 100,000 members, 2,500 councillors across the country and an active team in Peterborough, the Liberal Democrats are the strongest Remain voice. If you want to stop Brexit then vote for the Liberal Democrats.