Kingswood Labour candidate resigns over unpaid fines

Josie Channer

Josie Channer

The Labour Party candidate for Kingswood, Josie Channer, has stood down after it emerged she owed more than £2,000 in parking fines and late payment fees.

The would-be MP apparently accrued the fines in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, where she sits as a councillor and chairs the committee which  scrutinises parking.

The Labour Party will now be looking to reselect a candidate to fight the key marginal seat of Kingswood, currently held by Conservative Chris Skidmore who ousted Labour’s Roger Berry at the 2010 General Election.

Ms Channer was selected in July as the prospective Parliamentary candidate (PPC). Also on the shortlist at the time Rowena Hayward from Willsbridge, a membership development officer at the GMB union, and a Wandsworth councillor, Leonie Cooper.

Just last weekend Ms Channer was outside Kings Chase Shopping Centre with local Labour members promoting party leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 if they win the next election.

A Labour Party spokesperson said tonight: “Following Josie Channer’s decision to stand
down, the process of selecting a new Parliamentary candidate will begin in due
course. Labour Party members will then choose a new candidate to  stand up for the people in Kingswood against this out of touch, failing Tory-led Government.”

Chris Skidmore tweeted this afternoon: “Sorry to hear that @josiechanner has resigned over parking fines. Rather than abandon Kingswood and Lab party there, she should reconsider.”

UKIP Kingswood tweeted: “Labour has got into a mess as Kingswood PPC leaves.”

And Tweet4Labour said: “Sad that Josie Channer has had to resign. Not enough black candidates in winnable seats.