In this Eastlondonlines constituency profile, we visit Lewisham East, where Labour MP Heidi Alexander is likely to be re-elected for her second parliamentary term. However, she is contesting against very experienced political rivals. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are hoping to strengthen their positions in the constituency.
The constituency of Lewisham East contains urban centres such as Catford, Blackheath, Lee and Grove Park. The issues affecting the constituency are varied, but common to all residential areas are economic uncertainty and deprivation.
This inner London constituency has returned a Labour MP since 1992, when Bridget Prentice was elected. In the last local elections, the wards inside the constituency returned 21 Labour councillors. The constituency will likely be a safe Labour seat once again.
Looking at the statistics, the other parties have a long way to go: in the last general election, Labour’s Heidi Alexander won with 43.1 per cent of the overall vote (17,966 votes) leaving all the other candidates far behind.
Alexander is contesting for her second parliamentary term. Liberal Democrat candidate Julia Fletcher was a member of Downham Council for 12 years and Conservative candidate Peter Fortune is a current Bromley councillor. It is likely that one of these three candidates will be the constituency’s MP come May 8.
In Lewisham East, affordable housing is the single greatest issue in the upcoming election. The diverse constituency suffers from a chronic housing shortage. Eastlondonlines has previously reported on the different housing policies parties are proposing to tackle the problem.
The current state of the economy is also a hot topic for this constituency. The narrow financial room for manoeuvre reflects both in the vitality of the area and the services available here.
In addition, the recent cancellations and failures of public transport in the south-east London area have had an impact on the polls, as many residents commute to work daily by train. The Bakerloo line extension through Lewisham and Catford may improve the current transport situation in the constituency.
Heidi Alexander – Labour
“I’ve worked hard over the last 5 years and while I have had my disagreements with people, I hope people will feel that I have done my best to stand up for our community.”
“London’s housing crisis affects everyone, from the young professional wanting to buy their first flat to low-income families in overcrowded, poorly-maintained properties.”
Peter Fortune – Conservative
“I’m really concerned that we’ll have a generation of young people who’ll have nowhere that they’ll consider ‘home’.”
Julia Fletcher – Liberal Democrats
“Figures show that in the last quarter of 2014, Lewisham had the lowest number of new homes approved of any borough in London – only 11 compared to over 1,000 in the best-performing borough.”
Anne Marie Waters – UKIP
Störm Poorun – Green
Nick Long – Lewisham People Before Profit
Maureen Martin – Christian People’s Alliance
No information about this candidate was available at the time of publishing.