Lewisham mayoral race: Deputy Mayor Brenda Dacres throws hat in the ring

A picture of Brenda Dacres
Brenda Dacres has been Lewisham Deputy Mayor for two years. Pic: Brenda Dacres

Lewisham’s Deputy Mayor Brenda Dacres has announced her mayoral candidacy in the race to replace her former boss Damien Egan, who recently resigned to stand in a by-election for the Labour Party.

Serving as Egan’s deputy for the last two years, Dacres, who is also Cabinet Member for Housing Development and Planning, promised to be a “different kind of Mayor”, after seeing “how much more needs to be done to give everyone in the community the life they deserve”.  

After Egan’s resignation on January 10, the mayor’s position, currently vacant, will be filled by a by-election within thirty-five days after the resignation.

Apart from Dacres, Amanda De Ryk, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy at Lewisham Council, has also announced that she’s running for Lewisham mayor.

‘Most approachable Mayor’

In a statement, Dacres said: “I want to be the most accessible and approachable Mayor Lewisham’s ever had. 

“I want to be present in every corner of our Borough and accountable to every local resident.  

“As your Mayor, I won’t rest until everyone in Lewisham has a home they feel proud of. ” 

Holding developers to account for building good, quality, affordable homes with community infrastructure is one of the things Dacres will be fighting for alongside investing in Lewisham’s existing housing stock and working with renters to drive out rogue landlords for good.  

She also said: “I’ll take urgent action on the climate crisis protecting our communities by making Lewisham the greenest borough in London.”  

Windrush root

Councillor Ayesha Lahai-Taylor, Councillor Stephen Penfold and Councillor Kim Powell are some of those who have shown Dacres support online.

Dacres went from a lifelong Labour voter in Lewisham to a Labour member after seeing “how the Tory and Lib-Dem coalition were hurting our communities”. 

Lewisham Council gave Dacres the grant, making her the first in her family to go to university, where she studied science and computing.

Dacres’s parents came to London in the 1960s as part of the Windrush generation and instilled in her their ethics of working hard and giving back to the community.

Juggling working full time and studying law, she brought up her son as a single parent, before being called to the bar.  

Lewisham is where Dacres first got involved in politics starting with a campaign to save teaching jobs at Lucas Vale Primary School, where her son Darnell was a pupil. 

Dacres’s competitor

Labour Councillor, Amanda De Ryk, is also running as candidate in the upcoming Mayor of Lewisham election.

Amanda De Ryk announced her candidacy on January 13

De Ryk is Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy at Lewisham Council with which she has been for 10 years.

In her candidacy announcement, De Ryk said: “I want to bring the change that’s coming to our country here to Lewisham too.

“First we must protect what is amazing about our borough and deliver more of what we need to thrive.”

Lewisham Councillor Paul Bell and former leader of Lewisham Council, Jim Mallory, are among those who have shown De Ryk support online.

The campaign period will be short as the mayor’s position is vacant following Damien Egan’s resignation, that was trigged by his selection as the Labour candidate in the upcoming by-election in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire. 

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