I met Emily Frith last Monday at the local Area Action Group. She seemed rather nice, if perhaps a little timid. I am assured that she can turn on the steely politician-speak when needed.
|Emily, centre stage, when she won the nomination
Were she to have had any chance of playing a meaningful role in the next general election then she’d certainly need to find that inner steel. As the Lib Dem PPC for Hampstead & Kilburn she was going to face an uphill battle. But now we’ll never know if she had what it takes as she’s had to relinquish the role as would-be MP just a month and three days after being nominated.
She released a statement this afternoon:
“It is with regret that I have to let you know that I am standing down as the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn just a few weeks after I had the honour of being selected by Liberal Democrat members in the constituency.
This has come about because I have been offered a job in government in which I will be working to give the Liberal Democrats a stronger voice within the Coalition in key areas where I have expertise. However, as this job is politically restricted I will not be allowed to continue as a parliamentary candidate.
I am very sorry to be leaving the campaign at this stage, as I have enjoyed working with Hampstead and Kilburn’s excellent team of campaigners backed by the strong membership I have enjoyed getting to know in recent months.”
It’s a shame that she wasn’t able to be more specific about the job she’s taking on “in key areas where I have expertise”. One wonders what it says about her belief deep down of her chances of winning this seat. Remember that although the Lib Dems came third in 2010 here, Hampstead & Kilburn was the closest three-way seat in the country but at the moment pundits are calling the next election here a two-horse race.
Now the Lib Dems have to go through the selection process all over again – apparently it’s not as simple as just choosing the person who came second in their ballot. Cllr Keith Moffitt, who leads the Lib Dems in Camden said,
“Obviously our members and supporters in Hampstead & Kilburn will be disappointed as Emily had impressed during the selection and was already working hard with local campaigners… We will be looking to advertise for a new Prospective Parliamentary Candidate shortly.”
One would think that the Lib Dems need to put up someone that already has a power base in the constituency if they are to have any hope of taking this seat.
Meanwhile, Conservative PPC Simon Marcus will be thinking that the start to his campaign couldn’t be going any better – as things stand he has no Labour or Liberal Democrat candidate to campaign against. This would be a great opportunity for him to set out his stall before the party apparatus falls into the negative campaigning that – whatever the protestations of candidates and party workers – seems to be an inevitable part of electioneering.