Mystery surrounds who will be the Tory candidate for Julian Knight’s Solihull seat

Solihull MP Julian Knight
-Credit: (Image: PA)


It remains a mystery who will stand as Tory candidate for Julian Knight’s Solihull seat at this year’s general election. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a general election for July 4 - but the surprise announcement means candidates for a number of seats nationally are still yet to be named by their parties.

Mr Knight won Solihull in 2019 with a majority of 21,273. The MP was elected as a Conservative MP but has sat in the House of Commons as an independent since 2022 after having the whip removed. That followed allegations made against Mr Knight about his behaviour - but he always maintained his innocence. The whip was never restored by the party despite police later clearing him.

The MP has previously announced he will not be standing in this year’s election. Under boundary changes Mr Knight's Solihull seat will become Solihull West and Shirley.

READ MORE: General Election 2024 as battle to win Solihull voters begin

The Conservatives are likely favourites to win the constituency despite currently having no candidate. Prior to the election being called the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) approached Solihull Borough Conservative Association on Monday, (May 20), to ask who their candidate is and when they are being announced. The LDRS has had no response.

Labour came second at the 2019 general election and are yet to name their candidate. Third was the Liberal Democrats and the same candidate who fought the 2019 election, Ade Adeyemo, will stand again.

The candidate, who is leader of the Liberal Democrats group on Solihull council, said: “The Conservatives have repeatedly shown they cannot be trusted to deliver on their promises - it’s time for a change.” The Green Party - who came fourth at that election but who are the second biggest party at Solihull Council - are yet to name their candidate for the seat.

Solihull General Election 2019 - Lib Dem candidate Ade Adeyemo in Solihull.
Solihull General Election 2019 - Lib Dem candidate Ade Adeyemo in Solihull. -Credit:David Irwin / LDRS

Meanwhile Conservative MP Saqib Bhatti has announced he will stand again in the Meriden seat which will become the new constituency of Meriden and Solihull East. The MP, who currently serves as parliamentary under-secretary of state for tech and the digital economy, was elected at the 2019 election with a majority of 22,836.

Mr Bhatti said: “I hope to be returned as MP and in the coming weeks I will be sharing more of my plans. Excited to get on the campaign trail now.”

Saqib Bhatti -Credit:Saqib Bhatti
Saqib Bhatti -Credit:Saqib Bhatti

Labour came second in the seat in 2019 - they are yet to name their candidate. The Liberal Democrats came third and have announced Sunny Virk will be their candidate.

Mr Virk, who recently failed in a bid to become West Midlands Mayor , said: “During the campaign I will hold the Conservatives to account for their failings. Meriden and Solihull East deserves an MP who will represent the people and be a strong voice in Parliament.”

Fourth at the 2019 election was the Green Party. They have announced Shesh Sheshabhatter, who is a serving councillor for Chelmsley Wood, as their candidate. He said: “This is an opportunity for residents to end the reign of unreliable and dishonest Conservatives.

“Cast your vote for the first Green MP to send a strong message to Westminster.”

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