Tooting by-election: candidate prioritises independence for Tooting and fathers’ rights

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/14504753.Tooting_by_election__candidate_prioritises_independence_for_Tooting_and_fathers__rights/

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Bobby Elmo Smith, of the Give Me Back Elmo Party

Independence for Tooting is a key priority for the Give Me Back Elmo Party in June’s by-election.

Bobby ‘Elmo’ Smith, from Stevenage, is a campaigner for fathers’ rights through New Fathers 4 Justice and stands in by-elections across the country to highlight the problems he says fathers face in family courts.

In 2015, the 34-year-old set up the Give Me Back Elmo Party, Elmo being a merger of his two children’s names, and stood in his first election against David Cameron in Witney.

He said: “Everyone wants to get their cause out there.

“The Tooting by-election has come up and it is a high profile area because it is in London and it is not a safe seat any more.

“The other seats I have stood in have been safe.

Mr Smith stood in the Sheffield by-election in May after the death of the constituency’s MP, picking up 58 votes.

He began campaigning after his own experience when he split up with his partner, with whom he has two children.

After a number of years with 50 per cent parenting, he claims he was prevented from seeing his children and has not been allowed to see them or even find out where they live, for three-and-a-half years.

He said: “Going to court you have less right than an animal.

“I gave the courts the opportunity before I started protesting.

“I was on Boris Johnson’s balcony, on Buckingham Palace as well.

“The elections run parallel to that, there is a very slim chance I will be the MP as they are usually safe seats or a two horse race.

“But the Greens and UKIP still go up to get their case out there, mine is fathers’ rights.”

One of his latest protests landed him with a bail condition that he cannot go near City Hall or the Mayor of London, though not specifically Boris Johnson, which could create a problem at the count should Sadiq Khan attend.

Mr Smith said his main policies are a 50 50 split of child care between parents, legal carer status for grandparents to allow them to see the children, and an end to “secret family courts”.

He said: “I would like to make Tooting independent, though I can’t guarantee it.

“We would rename is Elmonia and we will have our own laws.

“We won’t have to answer to the laws of Parliament.”

Mr Smith said from what he knew of Tooting, gentrification and housing prices were problems facing residents.

He pledged to listen to any issues brought forward in the hustings.

He said: “Most constituencies are either one of two parties.

“People should step out of their comfort zones a bit and pick someone who will do their own thing and not follow a party line.

“Pick someone more individual and different, be unique to the rest of the country.”

The Tooting by-election will be held on June 16.

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