Friday, 26 June 2009

Gibson may stand as independent in Norwich by-election

Ian Gibson, who stood down as Labour MP for Norwich North last month, has hinted to (Michael Crick) that he may stand as an independent in the forthcoming by-election for the seat.

Talking to Newsnight in his first TV interview since he announced his resignation, Dr Gibson refuses to rule out the possibility of standing as an independent. He implies that his decision will partly depend on who Labour pick as their candidate to replace him.

The national Labour Party will tomorrow reduce the current shortlist of around 12-13 contenders down to three names. Members of the Norwich Labour Party are due to meet on Sunday to choose their candidate from these three.

Gibson is a popular figure in Norwich and if he does stand in the by-election, it would probably wreck any chance Labour has of keeping the seat. The Conservatives need a swing of just under six per cent to win Norwich North, an easy target in the current political climate.

An ICM poll in Norwich North commissioned by Norwich University and College Union gives the Tories a four per cent lead over Labour - 34 per cent to 30 per cent. The poll suggests the Lib Dems will simply be fighting Greens to avoid coming fourth, with the Lib Dems on 15 per cent and the Greens on 14 per cent.

Michael Crick
BBC Newsnight

This may bring the number of independents standing to three: Craig Murray, Bill Holden and now, possibly, Ian Gibson.

Winning as an independent after leaving the Labour party has happened three times before.

The more independents there are the less predictable is the voting outcome, as the traditional parties will lose votes.

Another wild card is the Libertarian candidate for Norwich North, Thomas Burridge.

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