A Parliamentary by-election is looking possible in Sheffield Hallam (former MP: Nick Clegg) following the announcement by the Labour-turned-independent MP Jared O’Mara that he will resign in September.
“Looking possible” rather than definite because the Parliamentary convention is that it will be up to Labour to move the writ in Parliament to trigger the contest. Labour may well decide to stall in the hope that an autumn general election replaces the need for a by-election. The motive for that would not be about saving public money on a contest but rather political self-interest: avoiding a by-election in which the Liberal Democrats have a very good shot at winning.
Jared O’Mara took the seat from Nick Clegg and since has had a very controversial record, exacerbated, it seems, by serious health issues. The latest round of controversies has included accusations of sexual harassment.
Liberal Democrat PPC for Sheffield Hallam Laura Gordon said:
By resigning Jared is doing the right thing – both for himself and his constituents.
People in Sheffield will now get their chance to have their say, both on Boris Johnson’s dangerous Conservative Government and on Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to provide effective opposition at a time of national crisis.
This by-election can send a powerful message for change and the Lib Dems ready for the challenge.
Laura would be a fabulous MP, whether winning at the next election or – hopefully – having the chance sooner.
If the by-election does happen, having two Westminster by-elections in former Lib Dem constituencies within a year (following the Brecon one) would be a remarkable piece of good fortune for the Liberal Democrats. Winning Westminster Parliamentary by-elections has been a key part of previous party revivals. Being served up two such winnable contests in a year would be a big slice of fortune.