Lib Dems suffer setback as Hampstead and Kiburn parliamentary candidate steps down

Emily Frith has stepped down a month after she was named as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hamps

Emily Frith has stepped down a month after she was named as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn - Credit: Archant

The Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn has stepped down just a month after she was selected to contest Glenda Jackson’s seat.

Emily Frith withdrew from the battle for the hotly-contested constituency on Monday (February 18) after being selected on January 16.

The mother-of-two, who works as a campaigner for a prison reform charity and a dyslexia charity, said she was unable to continue as a candidate after being offered a ‘politically-restricted’ job in the government.

In a statement to Hampstead and Kilburn Lib Dems, she said: “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.”

Less than two weeks before Ms Frith, who is lives in Blackheath, had apparently expressed her desire to move to the area at the 150th birthday party for St James’s Church in West Hampstead.

Cllr Keith Moffitt, leader of the Camden Lib Dems, said: “Obviously our members and supporters in Hampstead and Kilburn will be disappointed as Emily had impressed during the selection and was already working hard with local campaigners.

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“But it is a tribute to her standing within the party that she has secured this important role supporting Liberal Democrat ministers in government and we wish her the best in the role.”

The party will now go back to the drawing board in its selection of a parliamentary candidate.

Not a single local candidate threw their hat in the ring during the last application process.

A party insider said: “It will be interesting to see of anyone applies for it locally, after reflecting on it for a bit.”

The seat is currently held by Labour’s Glenda Jackson who retained it with a majority of just 42 in 2010 and will step down at the next general election.

Last week the Conservatives formally launched their candidate Simon Marcus’ campaign for the seat.

Labour has yet to pick its candidate.