Inside sources suggest that Reed may have won the ballot by as few as three votes from his closest rival, Val Shawcross, after the ballot went to second preferences.
Reed was chosen after a three-hour meeting of the local Labour party at Praise House on London Road today, with members voting on five shortlisted candidates: Simon Burgess, Faz Hakim, Shawcross and Louisa Woodley were the others.
Reed’s presentation to the members was described as “inspirational”, while Shawcross’s candidacy was seen by some members as being undermined by her “dual mandate” – being a London Assembly Member and not being able to resign immediately if elected as an MP.
Labour announced its shortlist on October 24, after the Conservatives, LibDems and UKIP had chosen their candidate and begun campaigning, since when Respect, the Communists and even the Monster Raving Loony party have had candidates out on the streets of Croydon North canvassing for votes.
The by-election, which is expected to be called for November 29 after the writ is moved by Labour in parliament this week, follows the death at the end of September of Malcolm Wicks, the MP for the area for 20 years.
From first winning the seat for Labour, Wicks developed the constituency into a safe seat with a 16,000 majority at the 2010 General Election, a significant inheritance for his party successor.
The voting was conducted on the single transferable vote system, although Labour officials were reluctant to release details of the count.
Reed is a Labour councillor in Lambeth, where he has been leader of the council since 2006. Resident in Streatham Hill, he has promised to resign from the inner London council if elected as an MP.
Reed’s selection means that none of the candidates of the three major parties actually live in the constituency.
4pm update: LabourList is reporting that Reed may have won the nomination by a single vote: “Our understanding is that the first preference vote had Val Shawcross leading 88-87 over Reed. A recount was conducted which put Reed ahead 89-87. The final result after the remaining votes were redistributed was 97-96 in Reed’s favour over Shawcross.”
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- Tributes paid to former energy minister Malcolm Wicks who has died aged 65 (dailymail.co.uk)