Val Shawcross, the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark and Ken Livingstone’s running mate in May’s Mayoral election, heads the list of candidates to stand for Labour in the Croydon North by-election, according to reports this weekend.
Although the other leading parties were out campaigning in Croydon yesterday for the by-election, Labour is still going through its selection process. The deadline for nominations is not until midday on Monday, and the final selection meeting to choose the candidate to succeed Malcolm Wicks, the MP for the area for 20 years before his death last month, will be on November 3.
As Wicks was the sitting MP, it is the Labour party that gets to “move the writ”, calling the by-election and choosing the date. Many, including the LibDems and Conservative parties, had assumed that the Croydon North by-election would be set for November 15, the same date that electors go to the polls elsewhere in England and Wales to select their police commissioners, and the same day that parliamentary by-elections are to be fought in Corby and Cardiff.
However, it seems increasingly likely that the Croydon North by-election may now not be held until the end of next month – November 29 has been suggested; Sir Stuart Bell, the long-time Labour MP for Middlesbrough, died last weekend, and it may be that Labour arranges matters so that November becomes a month of by-elections on the failings of the ConDem government’s economic policies.
Over two decades, Wicks turned his Croydon seat from safe Conservative into a 16,000-majority Labour constituency. Whoever Labour selects will have a month’s worth of national attention and a considerable legacy to work with.
Shawcross is a long-term resident of the Croydon North constituency and before she ran for the London Assembly, she was a Croydon councillor and was leader of the council.
Snipe reported last night that if selected, “Shawcross would be expected to resign from the London Assembly, prompting the first ever by election to the body since it was set up in 2000”.
Also expected to be on Labour’s list of those seeking selection to stand in Croydon North could be Louisa Woodley, the Thornton Heath councillor who made serious in-roads into the majority of Steve O’Connell when she stood for Croydon and Sutton in the London Assembly elections in the spring. Councillor Gerry Ryan, from Selhurst, the runner-up in Croydon Central in the 2010 General Election, may also put his name forward. Another Croydon councillor who may be considering going forward is Shafi Khan (Norbury).
- We interviewed Shawcross earlier this year. Click here to read it
- Candidates by the bus-load start their campaigns in Croydon North
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
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- Labour’s Malcolm Wicks dies at 65 (bbc.co.uk)