Labour say they are “looking good” after their comfortable Croydon council by-election win in Selhurst Ward last week, despite only 1 in 5 residents turning up to polling day.
Newly-elected David Wood, 42, retained the seat for Labour after the death of Councillor Gerry Ryan in January, polling 1,517 votes.
In his acceptance speech, which he dedicated to Ryan’s memory, Wood said: “It’s a humbling experience to be elected to represent Selhurst in Croydon Council.”
Wood lives in Selhurst with his wife and two young children. He has been a governor of Whitehorse Manor Primary School for seven years.
During the election campaign, he pledged for cleaner streets, more police on the beat, jobs and investment in the local area, and backed Labour’s plan to freeze council tax this year after accordingly the Conservatives increased it to record levels.
“I will work tirelessly to make life better for the people who live in our community,” Wood said.
UKIP were widely criticised for calling for the election just weeks before the General Election in May, apparently costing tax-payers £15,000 with each vote costing £10.
Labour won over 71% of the vote, with the Tory candidate Tirena Gunter and LibDem Geoff Morley polling less than 350 votes between them.
This represents a 10.7% swing to Labour since the council elections less than a year ago.
UKIP’s candidate, Annette Reid, secured fourth place behind the Conservatives and the Greens, after seeing her party’s share of the vote in the ward decrease by more than 5 per cent compared with last year.
Speaking after the result was declared, Croydon North MP Steve Reed said: “I congratulate David Wood on securing a big victory for Labour in the Selhurst by-election.
“The scale of David’s victory sends a clear message that residents back Labour’s plans to clean up the streets after years of Tory neglect, bring new jobs and investment to the whole borough, and keep council tax down.
“He will be an outstanding and hard-working councillor for local people.”