Politics

Lib Dems are spying on one other by-election alternative over Tory MP’s danger of chapter

They may have just tallied their by-election victory in North Shropshire, but the Liberal Democrats have already set their sights on their next target seat for Tory “Blue Wall”: Windsor.

The Lib Dems began promoting the seat this weekend with their new candidate Julian Tisi.

Afriyie, a Windsor MP since 2005, is being prosecuted by HMRC for unpaid taxes following the collapse of his IT company in 2007, the Guardian reported in November.

Under parliamentary rules, a sitting MP who has been declared bankrupt can be forced to stand aside if a bankruptcy restriction order is passed against him – potentially triggering a by-election.

Afiyie’s spokesman told the newspaper that negotiations were ongoing and his advisors were working towards an agreement. Afriyie said, “I will of course pay any taxes due.”

Tisi, who ran for Lib Dems in the 2019 general election, hopes to build on successes in Chesham and Amersham and most recently in the North Shropshire by-elections, in which the party toppled a conservative majority of 23,000.

In the last parliamentary elections, he increased the Lib Dem’s share of the vote by more than 11 percent. In the local elections last May, the party also won eight council seats in Windsor and Maidenhead, in which the Tories lost 15 seats.

Opposition to conservative planning reforms, spearheaded by then Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, has largely been credited with the victory of Chesham and Amersham, while in North Shropshire the drip of number 10 party scandals and the resignation of former MP Owen Paterson for paid lobbying have been big .

Similar local fears exist in Windsor over a plan to build a 2,000-household garden village on Jealott’s Hill that Tisi believes is incompatible with climate change and green belt protection.

Lib Dem chairman Ed Davey told HuffPost UK that the Conservatives “take Windsor for granted.”

“As we saw in North Shropshire last month, people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his grossly incompetent government.

“The endless drumbeat of filth and scandals that comes from Downing Street will stink on the southern Blue Wall of the Tory.

“Windsor is a winning seat on the Blue Wall and it will clearly be a two-horse race between a dedicated local Liberal Democratic team and a contactless Conservative party led by Boris Johnson.”

Meanwhile, Tisi said there was “a real sense of anger and frustration in Windsor at the way the Conservatives have run the council”.

“The local councils led by the Conservatives have completely disregarded the views of the locals and splashed out on unpopular decisions endlessly.

“The Liberal Democrats are fighting for a fair deal for the local people, including the struggle to save green spaces from undesirable development, including the Windsor riverside and Jealott’s Hill.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Conservatives are focused on helping people across the country as we better recover from the pandemic.”

HuffPost UK reached out to Afriyie for comment but received no response.

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