HomePoliticsMid Beds by-election: Candidates line up to replace Nadine Dorries MP

Mid Beds by-election: Candidates line up to replace Nadine Dorries MP

Nadine DorriesImage source, EPA
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Nadine Dorries announced she was stepping down on 9 June but did not formally resign until 26 August

Nominations have now closed and 13 candidates will stand to replace Conservative MP Nadine Dorries in the Mid Bedfordshire by-election with voting taking place on Thursday, 19 October.

It was triggered by Ms Dorries’ formal resignation – with a statement attacking Rishi Sunak – more than two months after she announced she was stepping down “with immediate effect”.

In 2019, she had a majority of 24,664 in a constituency that has been won by the Tories since 1931.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

Festus Akinbusoye – Conservative

Image source, Festus Akinbusoye
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Festus Akinbusoye was elected as Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner in May 2021

Mr Akinbusoye became Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) in May 2021, standing for the Conservatives.

His campaign office said: “He has a strong connection to the constituency, having been a resident for nearly 15 years, and has demonstrated his dedication through his role as the elected police and crime commissioner.

“He cannot wait to get out campaigning to get his message across to everyone and wants to help deliver the five clear priorities Rishi Sunak and the government are focused on – halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting waiting lists and stopping the boats.”

Mr Akinbusoye added: “I’m not taking anything for granted… people know what my track record is, what I’ve delivered here in Bedfordshire for them, for our young people, for our communities, and that’s what I’ll do again if I’m elected as an MP.

“I’m visible around here, I live locally, people know what I’m about and I think people will make their judgements come polling day.”

He has been asked to stand down as PCC while he campaigns for election.

Sid Cordle – Christian Peoples Alliance

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Sid Cordle – Christian Peoples Alliance

Formed in 1999, the Christian Peoples Alliance says it seeks to demonstrate God’s love and God’s holiness and truth in the political world.

It says its core values are promoting marriage and family stability, upholding the sanctity of life from conception until natural death, supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, caring for the poor and needy, and fighting crime.

Sid Cordle is the party leader and stood in local council elections in Hitchin, and also in the 2019 general election – when Bim Afolami won the Hitchin & Harpenden seat for the Conservatives, with Mr Cordle finishing fourth.

He told the BBC he was standing in Mid Beds this time, but at the next general election (due by January 2025) there would be boundary changes, and he intends to stand in a revised Hitchin constituency that includes Shefford, which is currently in Mid Beds.

“We’re not thinking short term. I’m afraid when you have got a small party like the Christian Peoples Alliance. You can’t afford to think about one election.”

In terms of policies, Mr Cordle said his party “believes in fighting crime and working with people when they come out of prison to cut reoffending”.

“Where Christian charities have worked with people coming out of prison, they’ve got reoffending down below 10%, which is a win for everyone,” he added.

Dave Holland – Reform UK

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Dave Holland will stand for Reform UK, having grown up in Mid Bedfordshire

Mr Holland grew up in the constituency in Ampthill.

Originally founded in 2018 as the Brexit Party, Reform says it will “stand up for our core democratic values, our civil liberties, our right to free speech”.

Mr Holland said that locally he is fighting hard to prevent the Greenwoods development between Barton-le-Clay and Silsoe, which would see some 4,000 homes built on farm land.

However he adds that “local issues won’t win or lose an election” for any of the candidates.

He added that he was “irritated” over events involving Ms Dorries and the Conservative party, saying “while the country is struggling with the cost of living, the Tories are fighting amongst themselves over who should be ennobled or not”.

Mr Holland said the NHS backlog “needs to be addressed”, arguing that “we all need to look after ourselves better to ease the burden on the service”.

Emma Holland-Lindsay – Liberal Democrats

Image source, Liberal Democrats
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Local councillor Emma Holland-Lindsay said if elected she would “fight tirelessly for our local health services”

Ms Holland-Lindsay, who grew up in the county, represents Leighton Buzzard for the Liberal Democrats on Central Bedfordshire Council – having recently won her seat from the Conservatives.

She is head of public affairs for the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and oversees the organisation’s campaigning and influencing work. She has also previously worked for national disability charities.

She said her by-election campaign would focus on local health services.

Ms Holland-Lindsay said: “I am determined to be a strong local champion for communities across Bedfordshire.

“Our local health services have been neglected and underfunded, leaving local people unable to see their GP or dentist.

“It is frankly scandalous what this government has done to our NHS in Bedfordshire.”

Ann Kelly – Monster Raving Loony Party

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Ann Kelly – Monster Raving Loony Party

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party was established in the UK in 1982 by the musician David Sutch, also known as Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, or simply Lord Sutch.

Candidate Ann Kelly has lived in the constituency for 35 years and this will be the fourth time she has stood in Mid Bedfordshire.

She has twice been the mayor of Flitwick and is a school governor, foster carer and former nurse.

The party website said that if elected the candidate it describes as the Mid Beds Minx “will not have a party whip and will say and do what she likes”.

It added Ms Kelly would “not do deals and will be behind her constituents 100%”.

And in a reference to Nadine Dorries appearance on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here in 2012, “she will not appear on any television programme involving jungles and eating bush tucker” and would set up “an open and public auction of honours from knighthoods and peerages”.

The party said it would “replace employees of the Boarder Force with GP receptionists” to “dramatically reduce the number of people getting in”.

They also claim they would sort out train delays by “setting all clocks late by at least 10 minutes”.

Prince Ankit Love, Emperor of India – independent

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Prince Ankit Love, Emperor of India

Prince Ankit Love, Emperor of India (to use his full name) was the Leader of the One Love Party that was formed in 2015 and then de-registered in 2017.

Mr Ankit Love is a musician and film-maker who has previously stood as a candidate in 2017 in Richmond Park, and in Westminster in 2019.

He is also listed as a candidate for the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election, which is being held on 5 October.

He told the BBC he wants to tackle the issue of “air pollution and trying to build social housing” and to provide “free education to university level” and “quality healthcare as I’m concerned about people’s health”.

He added “with modern technology and innovation, you can really enhance civilisation in ways we can’t imagine” but says other parties are “too busy fighting jealous politics”.

Gareth Mackey – independent

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Gareth Mackey is already an Independent Councillor in Flitwick

Mr Mackey has been an independent Central Beds councillor for Flitwick since 2019, and following May’s local elections he is now on the executive team on the unitary authority, which is run by independents.

He pointed to independent success in the last two local elections as evidence that his candidacy in any Parliamentary by-election should be taken seriously.

Mr Mackey said “a caring, viable and interested independent candidate can actually do more for a community than someone who is elected on political ideology because they are in touch with residents and deeply care what happens to the area”.

He admitted he was appealing to voters who “vote Conservative and always will”, but said that the only way to change that was “to work hard for people and keep working hard”.

He said a number of former Conservative voters now support him in his Flitwick ward and that “keeping promises and being responsible with people’s votes” is the only way to persuade people not to vote for traditional parties.

Chris Rooney – Mainstream

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Chris Rooney – Mainstream

On its website, Mainstream says it wants to be one that “unites us more than one that divides us” asking why “there can’t be a party that gets 60% of the electorate’s vote?”

They claim they want to be the party for the majority.

Mr Rooney says he’s “not a lawyer, not a politician, not a millionaire and not a celebrity but just an ordinary person with an ordinary job”.

He lives in the West Midlands, and stood in Coventry South in 2015, but says he knows Mid Beds well as he has lived in Shortstown and his children were born in Bedford.

He told the BBC he’s “a different kind of person from most candidates” as he says “exactly what I think and don’t really care what upsets people”.

One policy he has is to cancel the HS2 rail project, the London to Birmingham section of which is already being built on a route that takes it through Buckinghamshire. There has been speculation about the future of the Birmingham to Manchester section due to rising costs.

Mr Rooney says: “It’s like the elephant in the room; all the major parties know it has to be cancelled, but none of them will say it.”

Cade Sibley – Green Party

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Cade Sibley is the Green candidate and lives in Toddington

Mr Sibley, on his social media, described himself as the “Green Party candidate for Mid Beds in the campaign for real change”.

He lives in Toddington and works in Adult Social Care looking after disabled people.

He told the BBC he was standing because of the climate change issue and he had “felt hopeless watching the news waiting for someone to change things”.

He added that he was the type of person who “if I don’t do things myself, worries they won’t be done at all” and added that “even I fail, I know I’d have at least tried”.

He decided to stand because he found after meeting people that there was “a lot of support for the Green movement, and a lot of belief we can change things in society”.

Alistair Strathern – Labour

Image source, East of England Labour Party
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Labour’s candidate Alistair Strathern is a councillor in London

Mr Strathern is a former teacher who now works for the Bank of England, as well as being a cabinet member on Waltham Forest Council in east London.

The Labour Party candidate said: “Bedfordshire’s towns and villages are where I grew up, where I first found work, and where my parents and many of my friends have built their lives.

“People here have been completely overlooked by a Tory government too busy fighting amongst themselves to address the issues that really matter.

“The people of Mid Bedfordshire deserve better. They deserve a full-time, hard-working MP who puts their needs first.”

Alberto Thomas – Heritage Party

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Alberto Thomas is standing for the Heritage Party

The Heritage Party was formed in May 2020 as a “socially conservative political party” and on the party website say they want to “defend our heritage and restore our nation.”

Its aim is to form local branches in all UK Parliamentary constituencies and enter candidates in the next general election.

Mr Thomas stood in the Bedford Mayoral Contest earlier in the year finishing in fifth place.

He told the BBC that the Heritage Party will block all Net Zero policies, including low traffic neighbourhoods, home energy compliance and 15 minute cities.

He claims “the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change as part of the UN hasn’t declared a Climate Emergency but our Government has.”

Mr Thomas added “What’s following this emergency is electric bills, gas bills, electric cars, no cows, no butter, no milk and no cheese.” saying “if you’re going to call a climate emergency. Then you need to back it up with some evidence.”

Alan Victor – True and Fair Party

Image source, True & Fair Party
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Alan Victor said the mainstream parties were “hijacking our democracy”

Alan Victor, 63, has lived in Bedfordshire for 32 years.

A retired car company executive, he decided to change course because he was “fed up with the current state of UK politics and mainstream political parties hijacking our democracy”.

Mr Victor stood in the Central Bedfordshire Council elections in 2023 as an independent, coming 59 votes short of being elected.

The True and Fair Party is led by Gina Miller, who mounted a legal challenge to the government’s Brexit process under Theresa May.

The party promises “radical reforms to fix our politics” and to “fight for a fairer country.”

Mr Victor says: “This is our first campaign; we were gearing up for the general election, but as the by-election is on our doorstep we need to gear ourselves up, from a small base, but we’ll go for it and see how it pans out.

“If we can get to people who normally don’t vote, then we could get a significant result.”

Antonio Vitiello – English Democrats

Image source, Antonio Vitiello
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Antonio Vitiello is standing for the English Democrats

The English Democrats Party was launched in 2002 and on its website says its the only campaigning English nationalist party.

Leader Robin Tilbrook says “Far less money is being spent in the Mid Bedfordshire area, than if we were being treated equally to Scotland.”

Mr Tilbrook added that “the people of England need to be looked after properly, in a way that they’re not currently by the British political establishment.”

Candidate Antonio Vitiello has previously stood in Buckingham in the 2019 General Election and in the 2021 Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner contest.

He has lived in the county for a decade and works in IT, having previously worked at Central Bedfordshire College and as a volunteer for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Mr Vitiello said he “rejects not only net zero on climate change” but also “all the profane novelties which have plagued modern society”.

The list of nominated candidates, election agents and polling stations appears on the Central Bedfordshire Council website,

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