Labour picks student, 20, for Brighton Pavilion after original candidate stands down

Posted On 08 May 2017 at 4:36 pm

Labour has selected a 20-year-old student to fight Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion after the party’s original candidate Michelle Thew stood down for personal reasons.

Solomon Curtis

Solomon Curtis, who lives in Moulsecoomb, is completing the final few weeks of a politics degree at Sussex University. But he can already call on his experience in the 2015 general election when he stood as an 18-year-old in Wealden, a safe Conservative seat in East Sussex.

Mr Curtis said: “I am proud and honoured to have been given the chance to contest Brighton Pavilion and I wish Michelle all the very best having come to this difficult decision.

“It is important that Parliament changes and is more representative of the community it seeks to serve and I hope to add to its diversity and be part of that change.

“Nevertheless I will represent all the people, regardless of their background with energy and commitment.

“The seat is a straight contest between Labour and the Greens with the Tories standing no chance of winning Brighton Pavilion.

“Only Labour can form a government other than the Tories. That is why it is important people vote Labour if they want Theresa May out on Thursday 8 June.”

Ms Thew, who lives in Hove, was originally in the running for the Brighton Kemptown seat. But after local activists campaigned for a candidate with stronger ties to the east of the city, she was offered the chance to stand against her friend Caroline Lucas in Pavilion instead.

The Kemptown candidacy went to East Brighton councillor Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

Ms Thew became the chief executive of Cruelty Free International, formerly the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), in 2006. She had previously served as the BUAV’s chief executive.

There has been a campaign – backed by some senior Labour members – not to contest the seat in order to “unlock” a progressive alliance with the Green Party in the election.

Almost as soon as Ms Thew was named as Labour’s parliamentary candidate earlier this month she was being targeted by campaigners urging her to stand down, saying she had “no realistic hope of winning” and that Labour had to give back.

A letter to the Guardian, signed by senior Labour figures including former policy chief Jon Cruddas, former shadow cabinet member Clive Lewis and Labour supporting journalists Paul Mason and Owen Jones, said that the party should stand aside in Brighton Pavilion and the Isle of Wight to “unlock” an alliance with the Greens which could be key in 20 other seats.

Michelle Thew

It said: “With the progressive vote split the danger of a Tory landslide and all it means for our country now looms darkly on 8 June.”

However, official Labour party policy is not to enter into pacts with other parties and to stand candidates in all constituencies.

The Greens have already decided not to field a candidate in Brighton Kemptown where Labour’s Nancy Platts lost to Conservative Simon Kirby by 690 votes in 2015. Davy Jones was due to stand again for the Greens. Last time he picked up 3,187 votes.

And the Liberal Democrats have also announced that they will not contest Brighton Pavilion in the interests of a progressive alliance.

  1. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    He seems nice.

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    These “alliances” make residents feel manipulated, as if they are regarded as Election fodder.

    Labour had a great chance with the Jenkins Report to do something about the Electoral system but Blair’s egostack was such that he thought Labour would be in charge forever, and so he junked it. And now, amidst everything, Labour seems to bringing him back. Madness.

    We have see in Hove and Brighton how unpleasant Labour is. Look, for example, at cllr Morgan’s absurd Vote of No Confidence. He himself must have realised it was folly, for he absented himself from much the debate which he had brought about.

  3. roy pennington Reply

    “a campaign – backed by some senior Labour members” : WHO?

    • Jo Wadsworth Reply

      It does mention names lower down the piece Roy

  4. Steve Reply

    We wouldn’t have suffered Simon Kirby if we’d had an agreement last time. Sorry solomon I’ll be putting my energy into lloyd’s campaign not yours.

  5. PHILIP. Reply

    PHILIP May-09-2017 01:57.
    The more I see of Labour the more I dislike them. Give me the Tories any day even if they are for the multi-rich and the privileged.

  6. J.L.W Reply

    So Brightons only hope is Conservative then.

  7. Go Firm Reply

    20 year old Labour candidate , says it all really , barrel,scraping,bottom spring to mind,
    20 years old , having a say in running Government ,
    I have spent more time in an ambush than Mr Curtis has politics experience,thank the lord I am the age I am and wont be here long to witness the way this country is sinking

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