A SECOND Barnsley councillor has announced they will stand in next month’s general election, challenging sitting MP Dan Jarvis for the Barnsley Central seat.

Coun Victoria Felton represents the Monk Bretton ward as an independent and, like Mr Jarvis, is a former soldier.

However, she has been selected as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate to represent Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in the Commons.

She joins council colleague Coun Hannah Kitching in the contest to win a Parliamentary seat. Coun Kitching has already been declared the Lib Dem candidate for the Penistone and Stocksbridge seat, which was held by former Labour MP Angela Smith until Parliament dissolved.

Mrs Smith had switched to the Lib Dems earlier this year and will now fight an alternative seat elsewhere in the country.

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The announcement of Coun Felton’s status as Brexit party candidate also represents a further twist in the town’s politics, with the council’s Barnsley Independent Group - made up of various opposition councillors - announcing a u-turn on its plan to field candidates in all three Barnsley constituencies.

Group leader Coun Phillip Birkinshaw said the proposal to challenge those seats had been taken because of the lack of progress from mainstream politicians in progressing Brexit.

But with the likelihood of the Brexit party putting up candidates for the Barnsley seats, including Coun Felton’s appointment as the Barnsley Central candidate, the group had decided against tactics which could split the pro-Brexit vote, he said.

Coun Birkinshaw said re-electing existing MPs would not help bring about Brexit and said: “I think we need to do service to those who wanted to come out.”

A new Brexit deal negotiated by Jeremy Corbyn would be little different to staying within the EU, he said, with the Conservatives having tried and failed to take the country out of EU and the Lib Dems campaigning to remain.

“People made an overwhelming decision in Barnsley,” he said. “When we are out talking to people the vast majority who say they are going to vote say they will vote Brexit.”

The BIG group had been registered and able to field Parliamentary candidates, he said, but recent developments had made its members reconsider their position.

He said: “This is a chance for Barnsley to elect a local Barnsley Brexit champion.

“Labour had their chance to do the right thing and they failed.

“Let’s all get behind Vicky Felton and the Brexit Party in this general election and elect an MP to get Brexit done.”

Coun Felton was elected in May. She is a former soldier who is now a mother in her home town.

* Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.