RIVAL candidates are forming battlelines as each prospective MP’s election campaign gains pace.
Now with just months to go until the general election, rumoured to be on May 6, the Weaver Vale constituency is wide open and with Labour yet to name Mike Hall’s replacement, who knows what will happen?
The Chronicle spoke to the candidates hoping for a successful summer.
Conservative candidate Graham Evans said: “It’s a surprise, I’m very sorry to hear the news that Mike has to have an operation and I wish him well.
“I was looking forward to debating with him in the future and I’m sorry he has had to end his political career.
“In terms of an election nothing has changed from my point of view, I have always been focused on my campaign, it was never a negative campaign against Mike.
“It’s up to the good people of the Weaver Vale to have their say on May 6, it was always going to be a long fight to the end.”
Peter Hampson, Liberal Democrat candidate, said: “I am very surprised indeed, I fully expected Mike to stand this time as well.
“I am sure it’s something that he has been thinking long and hard about, it’s not something he has wanted to do.
“I think it makes it a lot more interesting because he was going to have a big personal support.
“He has done a lot of work for the constituency and although we had our differences politically, I would look to build on his good work.
“It’s inevitably going to have a impact on the election because I think a lot of people voted for him as opposed to for Labour and I believe Labour’s credibility as a party has gone down quite considerably.”
Peter Remfry, UK Independence Party candidate, said: “I think it throws the whole thing wide open, everything’s up for grabs.
“I don’t think it will affect my campaign really, but I understand his decision, you don’t want the pressure.
“I wouldn’t say it’s thrown a spanner in the works but it’s definitely a blow to Labour’s campaign.
“I give my best wishes to the man and I hope he gets well soon.”
A Labour spokesman said: “As a result of Mike’s decision to stand down the Weaver Vale Constituency Party will meet on Thursday to set in motion the process of selecting his successor.”