York’s council leader is running to become a city MP.
Cllr Keith Aspden has tonight (Sunday) been selected as the Liberal Democrat Party candidate for the York Outer constituency.
Cllr Aspden has been leader of the council as head of a Lib Dem-Green Party coalition since the May election.
But he could be in for a job swap if he wins the election to become York Outer’s first Lib Dem MP.
He will take on encumbent, Julian Sturdy. The Conservative has been the MP ever since the constituency was first created in 2010.
He has a chance
At first glance it looks like Cllr Aspden’s chances of being sent to Westminster are slim.
York Outer has always given a healthy majority to the Conservatives. At the 2017 election Julian Sturdy was returned with 51% of the vote, and a majority of more than 8,000.
Then, his nearest opponent was Labour’s Luke Charters-Reid, with the Lib Dems in a distant third place.
But Brexit has changed things. In the 2016 EU referendum, York Outer voted Remain by 55% to 45%. And the Lib Dem pledge to revoke Article 50 and stay in Europe may have struck a chord.
According to a ComRes opinion poll in September, the Lib Dems were ahead in York Outer.
The Lib Dems polled 31.78% to the Conservatives 28.47%. The next question is – will the Greens choose not to stand, to give Keith Aspden a clear run as the main anti-Brexit candidate?
Interestingly, Julian Sturdy finally joined Twitter last month – possibly suggesting that he realises he has a fight on his hand this time.
Cllr Aspden lives in Fulford. The election is on 12 December.