Damien Egan. Pic: Lewisham Council
Damien Egan, the Mayor of Lewisham, has resigned to stand for Labour in the by-election for MP in the Bristol constituency of Kingswood, his childhood home.
There will now be an election for a new Mayor although a date has not been fixed.
Egan, 40, had served as Lewisham’s mayor since 2018, after having been a Labour councillor for Lewisham Central since 2010. He won re-election in 2022 with 58% of the vote.
In his role as mayor some of his major priorities included, attracting investment into the borough, social housing, climate action, and equality.
Egan previously stood as the Labour candidate in the 2005 General Election in Weston-Super-Mare and in the 2010 General Election in 2010 in Beckenham.
Egan was selected as Labour’s candidate in July last year for the Bristol North East constituency, defeating the Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, but intended to remain in his position as Lewisham mayor until the general election. He said at the time: “I am excited to have the opportunity to be able to give back to the community that I grew up in (Kingswood)…tackle the real issues locally…and give residents a hardworking representative who is on their side.”
The Kingswood seat is due to be split into two at the next General Election and Bristol North-East will become one of the two replacement seats.
The by-election has been triggered by the resignation of Chris Skidmore, the former Conservative MP of Kingswood just before a vote in the Commons on new licenses for oil and gas. Skidmore, former energy minister under Theresa May, and who also served in Boris Johnson’s government, has been an advocate for green energy and climate action.
He said that he resigned to protest at the: “…government’s decision to prioritise and politicise new oil and gas licences above a sensible investment plan for the future.” He had already announced that he would stand down at the next election.
Skidmore had a 11,220 Tory vote majority from the previous election that Egan would have to overcome to become MP, although in the last two by-elections, Labour have taken formerly Conservative seats that had a greater vote majority.
The probable date for the Kingswood by-election is said to be on February 15.