Stoke & Staffordshire

Rob Flello: Ex Labour MP deselected as Lib Dem candidate

Rob Flello Image copyright Labour Party
Image caption Former Labour MP Rob Flello said the Lib Dem party "has not followed its own procedures"

A former Labour MP who was chosen to stand as Liberal Democrat's parliamentary candidate has been deselected by the party.

Rob Flello was MP for Stoke-on-Trent South until losing the seat in the 2017 election and had switched parties.

In a statement, the Lib Dems said it had become clear "how greatly his values diverge from ours".

Mr Flello said he was "concerned" people who adhere to their "religious beliefs" are not welcome in the party.

The removal of Mr Flello, who was announced as the party's candidate on Monday, appears to be over his views on same sex marriage, which he voted against in Parliament, and abortion.

In a statement, the Lib Dems said: "We do our best to screen candidates in our approval process

"In this case it only really became clear over the past few hours how greatly his values diverge from ours."

In a statement on his website, Mr Flello said he was "deeply shocked and very disappointed".

He continued: "I have been through a rigorous selection process and then encouraged to announce I'm standing as a candidate but now, despite my well-known position as a practising Catholic, the Lib Dems have gone back on what they said.

"The Lib Dem Party has not followed its own procedures and I will continue to take advice on further action."

Former party leader, Tim Farron, stepped down from the role in 2017 saying he was "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader" after questioning over his views on gay sex.

He has been reselected as the party's candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale.

A party spokesperson said: "Tim Farron voted in favour of same sex marriage in 2013."

Other confirmed candidates for the Stoke-on-Trent South seat are Conservative Jack Brereton, who won the seat from Mr Flello, and Labour candidate Mark McDonald.

The BBC webpage for the constituency will be updated with candidate information after the close of nominations later this month.

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