Louisa Woodley, the Labour candidate who beat the Conservatives across Croydon in May’s London Assembly elections, has made a late push to be her party’s candidate for the Croydon North parliamentary by-election.
The by-election is expected to be held on November 29, and follows the death of Malcolm Wicks. But the Croydon North Labour party won’t select the candidate to inherit the 16,000 majority that Wicks built-up over 20 years until a meeting on Saturday.
Woodley is one of five candidates short-listed by Labour’s National Executive Committee, but she missed the succession discussions that went on at last month’s Labour Conference in Manchester – she is a full-time teacher, rather than a full-time politician – and she got left at the start somewhat in the internal party campaigning by the well-organised Val Shawcross, the former Croydon Council leader and now Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, and Steve Reed, the leader of Lambeth Council.
Woodley has now sent her own leaflet to Croydon North Labour party members.
Reading between the lines, Woodley has clear concerns that Respect, with its by-election candidate Lee Jasper, could yet pose a serious challenge to Labour in Croydon – she cites 2011 council research that showed more than 50 per cent of jobseeker allowance claimants were black Caribbean or mixed race.
Woodley describes herself as the local candidate who has been involved in Croydon politics continuously – an implied contrast with Shawcross who has been at City Hall for 12 years. As a member of one of Croydon’s minority communities who has worked closely with other minority groups as a cabinet member on Croydon Council, as a Thornton Heath councillor and as a surprisingly successful London Assembly candidate, Woodley sees this as her strong suit.
Woodley also promises to stand down as a councillor if her party wishes her to – a challenge to Shawcross who is being obliged by Labour to hold a dual electoral mandate until May 2014 on the London Assembly and in parliament.
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