Opposition parties are calling on a Labour Councillor representing Pitshanger ward to “make his mind up” on whether he is living in Northampton or Ealing.
Councillor Ben Wesson, who was first elected to Ealing Council in May 2022, has been campaigning since January 2023 to be selected as the Labour candidate MP for Northampton South at the next general election and has been saying “I live here”.
Councillor Wesson in one of his five pledges states he lives in Northampton South: “Everyone has the right to live in a safe and secure home here in Northampton South. I live here, and I know this is not always the case. I am endorsed by the Labour Homelessness Campaign and would work to stop rogue landlords from exploiting local people.”
Ealing Liberal Democrats Councillor Jon Ball told EALING.NEWS: “Councillor Ben Wesson needs to make his mind up whether he lives in Northampton or Ealing. Pitshanger residents deserve to be represented by councillors who live locally not fifty miles away.”
Chair of Ealing Greens, Neil Reynolds told EALING.NEWS: “It is not uncommon for Ealing councillors to choose to run for Parliament in a general election and remain in office. However an admission of no longer living within 50 miles of the borough is not fair on ward residents or the Ealing council tax payer who funds the allowance.”
Having started his campaign in January, Councillor Wesson revealed last month that he has been shortlisted two weeks ago.
In a recent tweet and video on 15 February 2023, Councillor Wesson said: “Proud to be shortlisted to become our next Labour parliamentary candidate for Northampton South. Thanks to party members and councillors for backing my campaign. Looking forward to speaking with more of you. Join us to win Northampton South together.”
Proud to be shortlisted to become our next Labour parliamentary candidate for Northampton South.
Thanks to party members and councillors for backing my campaign.
Looking forward to speaking with more of you.
— Ben Wesson (@benwesson) February 15, 2023
Since January, Councillor Wesson has been on the campaign trail in Northampton South to get selected.
Through Twitter on January 10 2023, Councillor Wesson announced: “I am Northampton-made. I studied here, got my first job here, and bought my first home here. Now I want to take on the Tory MP & get the Labour government Northampton needs.”
Councillor Wesson becomes the latest Ealing Labour councillor to express their interest in standing to become an MP since being elected in May 2022. In October 2022, South Acton Councillor Callum Anderson sought to become the Labour candidate for Stevenage but didn’t make the shortlist.
Having now made Northampton South Labour shortlist, Councillor Wesson is challenging three other candidates Rachel Burgin, Tristan Koriya and Mike Reader to win local Labour members support to become their parliamentary candidate at the next election.
I’m standing to fight & win the next election as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Northampton South.
I am Northampton-made. I studied here, got my first job here, and bought my first home here. Now I want to take on the Tory MP & get the Labour government Northampton needs. pic.twitter.com/qHg9otiTY5
— Ben Wesson (@benwesson) January 10, 2023
In the campaign video, Councillor Wesson said: “As most you know, Northampton is where I studied, got my first job and bought my first home. I’m Northampton-made and would be honoured to represent out town. I’m proud of Northampton, but the Tories are holding it back.”
He added: “After over a decade of austerity, our public services, like Northampton General Hospital are at breaking point. Our public spaces, like the market square are crying out for vision and investment.
“We know all too well what a different Labour can make in government and that’s why I’m standing, to revive our services, our public spaces and our economy.”
“All of us in Northampton South and across the UK deserve better.
“I won a council seat that, until recently, was safe for the Tories. Door by door, street by street, we listened to local people and won their support and I’m ready to do it all over again.”
In his campaign, Councillor Wesson has been getting endorsements from both local and national Labour politicians.
Ealing Labour Councillor and Deputy Leader of Ealing Council & Cabinet Member for Climate Action Deidre Costigan said on Twitter: Delighted @benwesson is standing to be the next Labour MP for Northampton South. Northampton made and an active trade unionist, I know he’ll knock on every door to win for Labour and to make Northampton better.”
Ealing North MP James Murray endorsed Councillor Wesson by saying: “Ben is a top-rate candidate and campaigner. He was tireless at putting in the hard work during the last local elections – helping to win a ward in my constituency that was Conservative not long ago. As a Councillor, Ben immediately showed how effective he is at representing local residents and getting things done. He will make an excellent Labour MP for Northampton South.”
EALING.NEWS has reached out to Ben Wesson to ask for an interview about his campaign.