General Election 2019: Former Chorley Brexit Party candidate to stand against Lindsay Hoyle as an Independent
The former Brexit Party candidate for Chorley has announced he will stand in the 2019 general election as an Independent.
In August, Mark Smith was announced as the Brexit Party's parliamentary prospective candidate for Chorley.
Following the election of incumbent MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle as the new Speaker of the House of Commons on Monday, November 4, the party announced Smith "will not be contesting the seat against the new Speaker" when voters go to the polls on December 12.
Behind the scenes: Lindsay Hoyle's first day as Speaker of the House of CommonsThis was in line with parliamentary convention whereby political parties do not oppose the incumbent Speaker due to their non-political role as the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons.
But on Thursday, November 7, Smith took to social media to declare that he will be standing against Sir Lindsay as an Independent.
On Twitter he said: "I will be standing as an independent Brexiteer in Chorley in the forthcoming general election."
In regards to the role of the Speaker, he also tweeted: "The role is not to represent the UK but to chair debates in HOC [Hosue of Commons].
"It is a role you have to stand for hence a choice to represent your constituency or not.
"The voters of Chorley gain nothing from this other than no vote so I dislike the fact that the role exists in this way."
Green Party candidate James Melling will also stand for election in the Chorley constituency.
The Conservatives, Labour, and Lib Dems have all decided to not field candidates in line with convention.
Chorley Council’s Labour leader Alistair Bradley said: “Labour will not be putting up a candidate as we are delighted to support Lindsay Hoyle in the election and believe he will continue to serve the people of Chorley as well in the future as he has for the past 22 years.”
Phil Loynes, chairman of the Chorley Conservatives, said: “We will be following convention.”
Former Lib Dem candidate for Chorley, Paul Valentine, said: “As a main party we believe in upholding traditions. We stand by the speaker being elected unopposed.
"There’s no exceptional circumstances here to change that.”