Labour candidates not chosen locally

Richard Quigley and Emily Brothers

As previously reported, Island Labour has announced its candidates for the general election expected this autumn, which will see the Island divided into two constituencies.

However, the selection was not made by local members, as the local party was presented with ‘one person lists’, which they had no say in.

As widely anticipated, Richard Quigley will take on sitting Tory MP, Bob Seely, in the West Wight seat. Mr Quigley stood for Labour in 2019, increasing the vote share and coming second to Mr Seely. He and his wife, Leah, live in Cowes, with their two children, and have owned Corrie’s Cabin fish and chip restaurant in Cowes for 22 years. He was elected as the IW councillor for Cowes North in 2021. He said: “After 14 years of what can only be described as a malevolent Conservative government, we can all see nothing works anymore.

“What I hear over and over again is it’s time for change, and this is the best chance we have ever had to elect a Labour MP for the Isle of Wight that will hopefully be part of a Labour government.

“My focus is the Island, local issues and serving our community. We deserve better and I look forward to taking the fight to Bob Seely.”

In the East Wight, Emily Brothers has been selected, a Sandown town councillor since 2021 and an NHS Governor with Moorfields Eye Hospital in central London, who campaigns on transgender and disability issues. She stood for parliament in Sutton & Cheam, in London in 2015, and subsequently sought selection in other seats, including Liverpool West Derby and most recently, the Chester by-election in 2022. She has said she wants to be the first Labour transgender MP, and (according to Wikipedia) had sex reassignment surgery in Thailand in 2008. She is a lesbian who is divorced with two children.

She said: “Representing Labour is a privilege and exciting opportunity to secure change for Isle of Wight East. I look forward to engaging with local people, community organisations and business in the campaign ahead.

“Every vote counts, so I’ll be working hard to reach out to gain the trust of residents in Isle of Wight East. It is a great place to live, so I want it to thrive by getting our future back.”

Suggesting the national party thinks Mr Quigley might unseat the Island’s beleaguered MP, activists in West Wight can work to support Cllr Quigley’s campaign, while East Wight has been twinned with the more winnable, Southampton Itchen seat, and activists are also supposed to assist there.

Vice-chairman of the local party, Maria Villa Vine, congratulated both candidates, adding:

“They both have the interests of the communities that they represent at the heart of what they do, with the added advantage of lived-experience and an understanding of marginalised groups such as disabled people and their families.”