New Central Beds Council chairman to contest Mid Bedfordshire by-election after Nadine Dorries' resignation

It comes after the announcement by Conservative Nadine Dorries that she has quit the seat with immediate effect
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The new chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council is to stand as an Independent candidate in the Mid Bedfordshire by-election.

Independent Flitwick councillor Gareth Mackey had said already he would contest the seat at the next General Election.

But after the announcement by Conservative Nadine Dorries that she has quit the seat with immediate effect, a by-election will now be held for Mid Bedfordshire to replace her.

Councillor Gareth MackeyCouncillor Gareth Mackey
Councillor Gareth Mackey

In a social media post, councillor Mackey said: “As I’ve made clear previously, I will be running as an Independent candidate to be elected as your member of Parliament for Mid Bedfordshire.

“Many of you know me as I have represented Flitwick and Steppingley as ward councillor on CBC.”

He was elected to chair the local authority at CBC’s annual meeting last month. It followed the local elections in which the Conservative group lost control of the council, leaving a network of Independent candidates as the biggest group overall.

Councillor Mackey listed what he stands for in his Facebook statement, including, “hard work not just at election time”, and being “accessible, responsive and visible in the community”.

Nadine Dorries. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Nadine Dorries. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Nadine Dorries. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Other characteristics are “being a proper constituency MP who lives here, is in touch with residents, works on your problems and is dedicated to Mid Bedfordshire”.

He wants to “reject the traditional way of doing politics, fight for effective, properly funded policing, push government to offer access to decent healthcare for those who need it, and to provide investment in education”.

Councillor Mackey promises “a pragmatic, common sense politics where it’s about good ideas and action, not political ideology”.

In her resignation statement, Ms Dorries said: “I informed the chief whip today that I’m standing down as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, with immediate effect.

“It’s been an honour to serve as the MP for such a wonderful constituency. But it’s now time for someone younger to take the reins.”

She was first elected MP for the constituency in 2005 winning it by 11,355 votes, before being returned to Parliament again in 2010, 2015 and 2017.

Ms Dorries won the seat with a 24,664 majority in 2019 polling 38,692 votes, with Labour’s Rhiannon Meades runner-up on 14,028.

A date has still to be decided for the by-election, which is expected to attract several smaller parties, as well as the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

The last time a by-election was held in Mid Bedfordshire was in 1960.