Lewisham and Deptford, Croydon Central, Poplar and Limehouse are the hot seats to watch along the line in the run up to the elections on May 6th. There will be no foregone conclusions in these constituencies –specially not if younger voters get out and make their votes count.
We will start here because this is the home of Goldsmiths, where EastLondonLines.co.uk is based and one of our old alumnae is standing. Darren Johnson, veteran Green campaigner, represented Brockley on Lewisham Council and now sits in prime position in one of the Green Party’s target seats. It would take a lot for him to get elected because he would have to beat Joan Ruddock, a Labour stalwart and Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, with a majority of nearly 12,000.
Just as important is the election for Labour Mayor. The Labour incumbent Steve Bullock is likely to be returned in this Labour stronghold but he is standing against a BNP candidate, ‘Nazi Granny’ Tess Culnane.
Moving south, the interesting fight is in Central Croydon where Andrew Pelling, formally Tory MP is standing as an independent in order to defend his wafer thin majority. An allegation of assault against his wife (never proven) cost him the Tory whip and Gavin Barwell is standing as a Conservative against him. According to Pelling:
” David Cameron is putting around a letter to every household in this constituency saying ‘don’t vote for this man, don’t vote for Andrew Pelling’, which seems like a very negative approach to campaigning.”
There is a chance that the Tory vote will split, handing the seat to Labour candidate, Geraint Davies.
Poplar and Limehouse
George Galloway, member of Respect, and possibly best know for his appearance as a cat on Celebrity Big Brother, was MP for Bethnal Green and Bow but he has moved over to Poplar leaving his seat, most likely, to Labour candidate Rushanara Ali. Poplar and Limehouse is now the place to watch. It is likely to be a hard fight between Jim Fitzpatrick, long serving Labour MP and George Galloway but the fight could well hand this Labour stronghold to Tory Tim Archer, a local councillor and former Parliamentary candidate for the Poplar and Canning Town. Archer has more in common with the affluent incomers of the new Docklands whereas the other two candidates represent those residents of the area that have not done so well out of the boom years.