Ukip leader Paul Nuttall 'will be his party's candidate for Stoke-on-Trent by-election'

Eurosceptic to make bid for former Labour MP Tristam Hunt's seat, claim reports

Harriet Agerholm
Wednesday 18 January 2017 13:21
Mr Nuttall will 'definitely' campaign for the West Midlands seat, reports say
Mr Nuttall will 'definitely' campaign for the West Midlands seat, reports say

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is to become the party's candidate in the Stoke Central by-election this year, it has been reported.

According to a political correspondent for ITV, Mr Nuttall will "definitely" contest the seat in the West Midlands.

A source said Mr Nuttall's campaign is to be announced in the city at an event on the weekend, ITV's Alison Mackenzie said.

But Ukip has refused to confirm the reports, saying the selection process is not yet complete.

A source within the party also told The Independent the claims are completely unfounded.

Labour MP Tristam Hunt gave up the seat earlier in January, saying he had accepted a role as director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Mr Nuttall had come under pressure from party colleagues to stand for the seat and capitalise on Labour's poor favorability ratings.

Ukip came second in the constituency by little more than 5,000 votes in 2015, despite only running a small campaign.

Around 70 per cent of voters in Stoke Central backed vote to leave the EU in June.

At odds with the majority of his constituency, Mr Hunt was a prominent campaigner for remaining in the bloc.

Mr Nuttall, who has tried to professionalise the party's images following a shambolic election contest, has recently said banning the burqa was one of the first policies he was considering as party leader.

If Mr Nuttall stands, it would be his fifth attempt at being elected to the House of Commons.

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