North Shropshire by-election: All the candidates announced so far

Voters will take to the polls next month to decide who should replace Owen Paterson as MP for North Shropshire.

The by-election will be held on Thursday, December 16
The by-election will be held on Thursday, December 16

Mr Paterson resigned in early November after being found to have broken paid lobbying rules.

The former Conservative minister faced a 30-day suspension from parliament until November 3, when Tory MPs backed a controversial plan to overhaul the disciplinary process for MPs and review the case.

However the Government U-turned on the idea the following day, leading to Mr Paterson announcing his resignation and intention to step away from the "cruel world of politics".

It means that North Shropshire will have a new MP for the first time since 1997.

Shropshire Council has confirmed the contest will be held on Thursday, December 16 after the parliamentary write declaring the Government officially triggered the process on Tuesday.

Already some candidates have stepped forward, while other political parties are yet to confirm who will be representing them.

Announced candidates

Russell Dean - The Party Party

Russell Dean is standing for The Party Party


The Wrekin College-educated 55-year-old, who is currently a consultant for a yacht broker, said the name of the party was not intended to be frivolous.

"It was set up with the idea of attracting young people into politics and encouraging them to engage.

"They and many others are very disillusioned with the political world," he said.

Mr Dean confirmed he would move back to the UK if elected and will open an office for The Party Party in Oswestry "as soon as election date is announced".

"I have long held the belief that politics needs to be cleaned up and recent developments have shown this," he added.

Howling Laud Hope - Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Howling 'Laud' Hope is standing in the North Shropshire by-election. Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party chairman, Alan Hope, is running in the by-election.

Alan Hope - better known as Howling Laud Hope - has been party chairman since 1999 and became the party’s first candidate to be elected into office when he stood unopposed to a seat on Ashburton Town Council in Devon in 1987.

His 10 nominations were collected by another party member - Nick the Incredible Flying Brick.

Duncan Kerr - Green Party

Duncan Kerr has been chosen as the Green candidate


Shropshire councillor and former mayor of Oswestry, Duncan Kerr, has been chosen as the Green Party's candidate.

Councillor Kerr said he would draw only the UK average wage if he became MP, with the rest of his salary going to local charities.

"We desperately need an MP who can hit the ground running and be a powerful and persuasive advocate for our market towns and rural communities," he said. "To be effective they will need a strong track record of lobbying and campaigning."

Helen Morgan - Liberal Democrats

Helen Morgan


The Lib Dems have chosen Helen Morgan, who fought for the seat in the 2019 general election, to represent them again in this year's contest.

Mrs Morgan said the by-election is a straight fight between her and the Conservatives after the results of the local elections earlier this year.

She has also pledged to put health services at the top of her agenda, saying: "If elected, I’d fight for investment into our local health services, back our local farmers and end the years of Conservatives taking our area for granted. I'd be an MP that listens to concerns and works hard for our area all year round.

“I am the local candidate who will stand up and champion our health services at this election. Shropshire’s health services have been crippled by the Conservatives, our ambulance stations are closing, our GP services are under immense pressure and A&E wait times are spiralling.

Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst - Conservatives

Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst


The party's North Shropshire Association chose barrister and former army officer Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst after a meeting on Saturday where they were asked to choose from a three-person shortlist to contest the seat vacated by Owen Paterson.

Dr Shastri-Hurst, from Birmingham, is a former British Army Medical Officer and honorary NHS consultant who now works as a barrister.

A statement issued following the confirmation of his selection said his campaign "will focus on delivering on the people’s priorities for North Shropshire, including building back better after the pandemic and supporting sustainable agriculture."

Kirsty Walmsley - Reform UK

Reform UK election candidate Kirsty Walmsley


Reform UK's Kirsty Walmsley was the first candidate to officially throw her hat into the ring.

The daughter of former Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow and current Conservative Shropshire councillor, Mrs Walmsley launched her by-election campaign at the foot of Oswestry's motte and bailey castle on Tuesday, November 9.

Mrs Walmsley became the UK's youngest councillor when she was elected onto the now-defunct Oswestry Borough Council at the age of 21. Since then she has worked in parliament as a caseworker for three MPs.

"In all honesty my experience of both local and national Government left me cynical about the world of politics. The reason I have put myself forward to stand as a candidate is because I believe the people of North Shropshire deserve an independent champion who truly knows and cares about the area," she said.

"I will never be forced or pressured into voting strategically as we have seen in the recent Government debacle. Our party believes its MPs should be free to act in the interest of their constituents first and foremost."

Ben Wood - Labour

Ben Wood, Labour's candidate


Ben Wood has been selected as the North Shropshire Constituency Labour Party's candidate to contest the parliamentary seat in the by-election, set to take place on December 16.

Mr Wood, 26, said he is "Oswestry-born and-bred" and wants to "bring back a sense of decency" into local politics.

He was selected by Labour party members in the constituency at a meeting on Sunday.

Deadline

The deadline for potential candidates is 4pm on Thursday, November 18.

Shropshire Council will publish the official list of candidates by 5pm the following day.

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