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Blackpool South by-election dates and candidates set

The Blackpool South by-election follows five others since October where Labour has won Conservative seats. 

March 28 2024, 10.22am

Voters in Blackpool South will head to the polls on 2 May to elect their next MP. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Reform and the Green Party have all announced candidates from Blackpool to rival homegrown Labour candidate Chris Webb. 

Scott Benton resigned from his position as an independent MP on Monday, amid a suspension from the Commons for a lobbying scandal and a recall petition that allowed constituents to have their say on whether he should be sacked. The petition was due to close on 22 April and was likely to lead to a by-election in June. 

Now the by-election has been moved forward by a month after Government chief whip Simon Hart moved the writ in the Commons on Tuesday. This process leaves the Blackpool South seat vacant and begins a countdown to a by-election. Blackpool Council announced yesterday that it would be held on 2 May to coincide with the election for Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner. 

Polls predict Labour candidate Chris Webb has a 97 per cent chance of taking the seat which was held by long-serving Labour MP Gordon Marsden for 22 years before it became one of the ‘Red Wall’ seats taken by Conservatives in the 2019 general election. Benton’s majority in 2019 was just 3,690 votes. 

Webb said on Monday that since then Benton had “brought headlines to Blackpool for all the wrong reasons” but that he had “finally done the right thing”. 

“The people of Blackpool South have been in limbo for the past 12 months,” Webb said, adding Benton’s “inability to do the right thing has cost taxpayers half a million pounds on a wasted recall petition. 

“People here deserve so much better. Voters now have the opportunity to elect someone who is Blackpool born and bred and who will always put Blackpool South first.” 

The Tories advertised the vacancy for a candidate for Blackpool South on Monday at 4pm with a deadline of 9am on Tuesday. Fylde Conservatives chairman David Jones was revealed to be their candidate on Wednesday evening. Jones, who lives in Fylde, has a background in the construction industry and charitable fundraising.

The Blackpool South by-election follows five others since October where Labour has won Conservative seats. 


The Liberal Democrats have selected Andrew Cregan, a British Gas-employed political lobbyist, to run in the Blackpool South by-election. Announcing his candidacy, Cregan, whose family runs a B&B in Foxhall, said: “I’ve seen with sadness, on every return visit, the tightening grip of neglect and urban decay… I’ve come home to Blackpool because I’m tired of seeing my family and community being let down.”  

Reform has selected Mark Butcher, founder of Christian soup kitchen Amazing Graze, as its candidate. Butcher’s campaign is built around his profile as a homelessness campaigner – values apparently at odds with the party's newest MP. Lee Anderson, the controversial former Tory MP who is now with Reform, previously came under fire after saying people rely on food banks because they can’t cook or budget.

The Green Party is set to announce Ben Thomas as its candidate. Thomas, who grew up in a working-class family on the Fylde Coast, told The Blackpool Lead he will be campaigning for tighter regulations to protect the environment “particularly for companies such as United Utilities which has done too much damage to our coastline and rivers”. 

He added that he intends to focus on Blackpool as a whole, however, campaigning for improvements to youth services, greater infrastructure and “community schemes aimed at helping people develop their skills and confidence to increase their employability”. 

George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain – which won its first parliamentary seat at last month’s by-election in Rochdale – is said to be considering standing a candidate. 

Webb has been campaigning to become a Blackpool MP since 2019 when he stood as Labour’s candidate for Blackpool North in the 2019 general election. He has built his campaign on being Blackpool’s first homegrown MP and his charitable work. He is a volunteer driver for Blackpool Food Bank and chair of trustees for Counselling in the Community. 

He said he intends to: “fight for residents through the cost of living crisis, reduce crime and regenerate our town to deliver new, well-paid jobs.

“I’m standing because I care about our town and I want to put Blackpool first. People are hard up and they’re fed up and they want a hardworking MP who will deliver for our town.”

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