Election questions: Steve Reed, Labour (special edition)

If Steve Reed is fortunate enough to find himself elected by the people of Croydon North, and is ever promoted through the Labour ranks to a position of responsibility that sees him, say, called in to do an interview on Newsnight, let’s hope for his sake he does not have to answer Jeremy Paxman’s questions.

If he does, he’ll need to do much better than he did with our reasonably straightforward enquiries ahead of the by-election on November 29.

A week after being sent the questions, Reed, the Lambeth Council leader with a reputation for resenting being subjected to scrutiny by the hyperlocal blogs in that borough, returned his answers. But only to some of the questions. And with several one-worders that offered little enlightenment into his background, his hinterland (if he has one outside his rather trendy Streatham Hill kitchen) or policy.

His answers – unedited by Inside Croydoncan be read here.

Not until after some local Tories noticed that Inside Croydon had flagged up the unanswered questions (known in these parts as “doing an O’Connell”) did we get a call asking us if we would publish the answers to the rest of the questions.

We have never turned down any reasonable offers of free copy, so below are the additional answers we were sent.

It’s unclear why Reed did not answer all the questions in the first place, and make use of the platform offered by Inside Croydon, with its 10,000 weekly views. Was it carelessness? Did he just not bother to read all his emails, as has been suggested? Or was it the arrogance of the political classes, already so familiar to the ordinary people of Croydon?

Doesn’t this episode highlight the calibre of the candidate, the principal objective of the exercise?

Who would you describe as the biggest influences on your life and your political outlook? My parents

What is your favourite part of Croydon? Its diversity

Why is your party relevant to the people of Croydon North? We are tackling the issues that matter to local people – jobs, crime and Tory neglect

What would you do to secure the extension of the tram to Crystal Palace? Hold the Mayor of London to his promise to get it delivered

Do ethnic minorities and faith groups face discrimination in Croydon? We need to make sure that opportunity is extended equally to everyone regardless of their background

Should we have a referendum on our membership of the EU? No

Dougie Freedman or Ian Holloway? Ian Holloway

Would you scrap Trident? There is a review underway at the moment about whether there are alternatives to a like-for-like replacement of Trident. All options must be considered – ultimately national security is paramount

What do you think about the UKIP candidate making gay marriage a by-election issue? Not a single voter has mentioned this as a priority to me.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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