Labour MP Jim Dowd, who has served Lewisham West and Penge for 25 years, is to stand down following the announcement of Theresa May’s snap election in June.
In his two and a half decades as a politician, German-born Dowd has historically voted for; the Iraq war, smoking bans and equal gays rights. In more current affairs, he’s voted for Britain to remain a part of the EU and in favour of striking ISIL in Syria.
But before the former senior government whip – under Blair’s first government – secured a impenetrable stronghold in 1992, Dowd was defeated by a conservative landslide. In 1983, Dowd – who was a councillor at the time – lost to late conservative minister Sir Philip Goodhart by over 17,000 votes.
But who will replace the longstanding politician?
Hoping to clinch Lewisham West and Penge is Liberal Democrat former councillor, John Russell.
Speaking exclusively to ELL, the parliamentary hopeful said: “Lewisham West deserves a committed and hard-working local MP and I suspect they haven’t had that.”
Locally, Russell hopes to continue campaigning to protect train services and promote affordable housing and the environment. Russell also reassured ELL that the Liberal Democrats would: “Not implement a hard Brexit.”
The former councillor – also the chair of trustees for outdoor education charity Wide Horizons – believes in there being: “No guarantee that Labour have the will or power to implement the Remain agenda.”
And to those looking to fill Dowd’s place, Russell has one question: “What’s your position on Brexit?”
According to LabourList.org the following have a chance at replacing Dowd; solicitor and councillor Kevin Bonavia, entrepreneur Ibrahim Dogus, international development worker Jane East, former deputy director of the IPPR (a left-leaning think tank) Ian Kearns, employment law barrister Ellie Reeves and transport expert Christian Wolmar.
And just yesterday (Tuesday 25) The Guardian’s political editor, Heather Stewart reported that Blur’s drummer may inherit Dowd’s position.
I’m hearing Blur drummer Dave Rowntree is on the (already packed) shortlist for the plum Labour seat of Lewisham West.
— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) April 25, 2017
And how will Lewisham vote in this year’s general election?
Lewisham’s other constituencies – Lewisham Deptford and Lewisham East – are represented by MPs Vicky Foxcroft and Heidi Alexander who hope to retain their seats in this year’s general election. Both constituencies are Labour strongholds.
In a recent blogpost, Foxcroft said: “I will be re-standing to be the MP for Lewisham Deptford, in the hopes of continuing to represent my local community and voice the issues we face at a national level.”
On Lewisham Deptford, Foxcroft continued: “I’ve had to fight to protect our local hospital, our fire station and services for the homeless. I will continue to fight for our post offices, our nurseries, our transport and our schools.”
Meanwhile yesterday (Tuesday 25) Alexander promised to protect jobs by fighting for the best EU deal and for an NHS and education system that’s properly funded.
Liberal Democrats Bobby Dean and Emily Frith will continue to campaign to replace them. Lewisham Deptford’s conservative association chairman James Clark was out campaigning only yesterday.
Collectively, Lewisham’s three MPs secured an average of 55.3% of the borough’s vote in 2015.
With successful campaigning, Labour could increase their stronghold as only 63.5% of electorates voted in 2015.
Vicky Foxcroft – Labour
Bobby Dean – Liberal Democrat
Heidi Alexander – Labour
Emily Frith – Liberal Democrat
Lewisham West and Penge:
John Russell – Liberal Democrat
@john4London – https://twitter.com/john4london
[Data acquired from lewisham.gov.uk]