Reed, a Brixton Hill councillor who lives in Streatham, has led Lambeth Council since 2006. He is the driving force behind Lambeth’s “Co-operative Council” policy, a “fourth way” adaptation by this noted Blairite, intended to cope with the government’s massive cuts in funding to local authorities.
Reed’s position in Lambeth is not without controversy, having overseen some 600 job cuts at the council in the past two years. In 2010, he suspended a Labour councillor from the party whip at Brixton Town Hall over claims that emails had been leaked to a local newspaper.
Reed is known to have had ambitions to become an MP for some time, having been considered for the Streatham seat when Chuka Umanna was selected, and also reported to have courted Vauxhall Labour members in expectation that Kate Hoey might retire.
“I helped win back Lambeth Council from the Tories and LibDems in 2006 by reconnecting our party with the community,” Reed told Inside Croydon last night before going into a meeting in which the Living Wage was implemented for Lambeth council workers.
“I strongly believe every party has to earn every single vote they ask for, so as Croydon North’s MP I would be out, visible and listening to people’s concerns.
“I’ve shown I can lead major change. When Croydon’s Tories tried to close down the Upper Norwood Joint Library, I acted to support local campaigners by guaranteeing funding to keep it open. I’ve brought in investment to open a brand new library and three new leisure centres, and I’ve also opened six new schools – that’s experience I can offer Croydon North to challenge Tory plans to cut local services.
“The Tories – both nationally and locally – have really let Croydon down. I will stand up for Croydon North, lead the fight against Tory cuts to local services, challenge the government’s broken promises after the riots, and help to restore pride in Croydon,” Reed said.
The by-election has arisen following the death last month of Malcolm Wicks. The by-election is expected to be held on November 29.
The Conservatives, LibDems and UKIP have all selected their candidates. Labour is expected to announce a short-list of candidates on Wednesday afternoon, with local Croydon North members to make the final choice for their candidate.
Also on the long list with Reed is former Croydon Council leader, Val Shawcross, Gerry Ryan, Labour’s candidate in Croydon Central in 2010, plus a handful of other local councillors including Jane Avis and Paul Smith, while from outside the borough, Antonia Bance, an Oxford City councillor, and Simon Burgess, who in 2010 stood for Labour in the Brighton Kemptown seat, have also applied.
At the last General Election, Wicks increased the Labour majority in Croydon North to more than 16,000.
- Candidates by the bus-load start their campaigns in Croydon North
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- Conservatives face ‘crushing defeat’ in Corby by-election (standard.co.uk)