Last Friday, More United members began voting on whether or not our movement should support Labour's Gareth Snell in the upcoming by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central, which is a close fight between Gareth and UKIP.
6,500 votes were cast, 89% in favour of More United supporting Gareth and 11% against.
This decision is clear and decisive: the More United community would like us to back Gareth, and so that is what we will do.
A few of you have been in touch about this vote. We really appreciate your feedback and are taking it on board, particularly how we can give more details of our candidate analysis in future votes.
Choosing which candidates to back is the most important decision More United makes. That's why it's our members who make that decision. Evidently, 11% of our members disagreed, and some of you have asked how we could nominate Gareth given the direction of the Labour party.
There are two priorities for us in nominating Gareth. First of all, we focus on people and not parties; we do not take party into account when looking at the candidates. It was our view that we need more people like Gareth in Parliament. He campaigned in favour of Remain, and although he has said he would vote for Article 50 as 70% of his constituents want, he would do everything he can to make sure Britain gets the best deal possible. He is committed to protecting local jobs, trade and investment and ensuring stability and security for his constituents.
Secondly, this is an exceptional by-election. Gareth Snell is the only candidate with a hope of stopping UKIP’s Paul Nuttall winning Stoke. Nuttall has championed an intolerant and divisive agenda for years and will continue to do so. If he wins, UKIP will have a second MP representing our country in Parliament. That means more airtime, more influence on legislation, and even more division in Britain.
More United is opposed to everything Paul Nuttall stands for. That's why we asked members to vote on the candidate who is ready and able to take him on.
Gareth is a 31-year-old local councillor, campaigner and trade union worker. He’s now lived in the area for 13 years - it’s where he met his wife and where his daughter was born and now goes to school. His campaign is focused on local issues, including his fight to prevent the closure of children’s centres.
This choice wasn’t an easy one, but More United will never dodge a choice because it's too hard, or because we might be criticised for it. We'll do what we and our members think is right, and we’ll listen to you in the process, so that together we can create a better Britain.
We'll be in Stoke tomorrow to join Gareth's campaign. If you're able to join us we'd love to see you there!
We look forward to helping Gareth win.