The brother of Bernie Sanders, the defeated Democratic nominee for US president, will be the Green Party candidate standing for election in the seat of former British prime minister David Cameron.
Cameron resigned as prime minister on 24 June, within hours of the shock result of the UK referendum, which saw a narrow 52%-48% majority in favour of leaving the bloc.
Despite pledging to stay on as MP for Witney, near Oxford, Cameron then announced this month he would be resigning with immediate effect from the House of Commons.
His reason – he told journalists – was a wish not to be a “distraction” to the new government of Theresa May. However, it was widely reported that he disagreed with the government’s flagship new policy of reintroducing selective “grammar schools”.
Cameron now intends to write his memoirs, although his future plans beyond that are unclear, marking one of the most dramatic ends to a political career in recent British history.
On Thursday night (22 September), the local Conservative association selected Robert Courts, a lawyer and local councillor, to stand for the vacant seat.
The byelection is due on 20 October – the same date as the contest in Batley and Spen, Yorkshire, to replace the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered during the referendum campaign.
The Green Party will field Larry Sanders, the elder brother of Bernie, US Senator and would-be presidential candidate who fought a tight and bitter contest against Hillary Clinton this year to be the party’s nominee.
Sanders is the Green party’s national health spokesman, and also a local councillor.
The seat, in countryside outside the historic university town of Oxford, is rock-solid Conservative, and home to an array of wealthy media and political names, including the former editor of The Sun, Rebekah Brooks.
On being selected last night, Coutts said, “For the last 15 years we have had a brilliant MP and public servant in David Cameron and it is wonderful that he and his family plan to stay local.
“I believe it is vital that Witney and west Oxfordshire residents continue to have a strong local voice in parliament, and I will work tirelessly to ensure that residents’ views and concerns are heard.”