Heavy Woollen District Independents will not contest by-election
The Heavy Woollen District Independents have announced that they will not contest the upcoming Batley and Spen by-election.
Paul Halloran, who stood for the party at the 2019 General Election, said he had made the decision not to stand after weeks of "sleepless nights and pure frustration".
But he hopes to run in the next General Election, and in the meantime will "hold all the candidates to account" ahead of next month's poll.
In a statement on behalf of the Heavy Woollen District Independents, Coun Aleks Lukic said: "We don’t enter elections for the sake of it, we target our resources where we can win so that we can achieve real change for our communities.
"There are about ten other candidates who have declared their intention to stand already, and the main parties are expected to spend up to £100,000 on their campaigns.
"Paul Halloran has also given his assessment that the electorate is generally leaning towards tactical two-party voting on this occasion and therefore does not wish to stand.
"It is deeply regrettable that our electoral system is so undemocratic that many people feel forced to vote against their own preference, and that some even feel the need to discourage their own preference from standing.
"There are several alternative systems that don’t have these flaws, but change only ever takes place if enough will demand it.
"In 2019 Paul inspired many who don’t ordinarily vote and polled over 6,000, one of the best independent results in the country.
"I personally encouraged him to explore his options for this by-election, and I know this has been a very tough decision for him.
"My message to those who voted independent two years ago is to engage with the candidates on the issues you care about, scrutinise them closely and vote for the candidate who you believe will best represent the area."