Former Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan becomes Labour MP for Kingswood

Damien Egan at the by-election victory gathering following the win in Kingswood. Pic: PA Media 

Damien Egan, former Mayor of Lewisham, has won the Kingswood seat for Labour with 11,176 votes in a by-election with a 16.4% swing, overturning the Tory majority of over 11,000 votes.  

The win came after a successful Labour campaign in the seat, on the north-eastern outskirts of Bristol, with Egan getting the backing of other MPs and activists coming into the constituency, in which he touched on various local issues, particularly knife crime, in the wake of the fatal stabbing of Mason Rist, 15, and Max Dixon, 16, in the Knowle West area of Bristol. 

Damien Egan with Pat McFadden (left) and Chris Bryant (right) and Labour supporters. Pic: PA Media

Egan, who grew up in the area, celebrated his win with a victory speech in which he said: “Kingswood feels neglected after 14 years of Conservative government… sucked the hope out of our country.

“There’s a feeling that no matter how hard you work, you just can’t move forward…we are left once again paying more and getting less. [The] things that our residents are telling us are the things that Keir and the Labour party have been talking about – the NHS, cost of living crisis, community policing.” 

Egan, who was born in Ireland and grew up a Roman Catholic converted to Judaism, the faith of his Israeli-born husband Yossi Felberbaum, to whom he paid tribute during his speech.

Egan moved to London to attend university had served as Lewisham’s mayor since 2018, after having been a Labour councillor for Lewisham since 2010. He won re-election in 2022 with 58% of the vote before resigning in January.  

Though the Kingswood seat is due to be abolished at the general election, when it will be split into four other constituencies, including Bristol North East, where Egan was already selected as Labour’s MP candidate last July, it is still a significant victory for Labour. This is because Kingswood was considered a relatively safe seat for the Tories after their build-up of the over 11,000-vote majority between 2010 and 2019. 

His early resignation as Lewisham mayor was triggered by the resignation of Chris Skidmore, the former Conservative MP of Kingswood, in protest over what he called the “government’s decision to prioritise and politicise new oil and gas licences above a sensible investment plan for the future”.  

‘Fantastic result’

Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, also said about Egan’s by-election victory: “This is a fantastic result in Kingswood that shows people are ready to put their trust in a Labour government… we can confidently say that Labour is back in the service of working people, and we will work tirelessly to deliver for them …” 

Sam Bromiley, the Conservative candidate, came in second with 8,675 votes and was reported to have left the count soon after Egan’s victory speech, declining to comment to reporters. Some in his party blamed the results on low voter turnout. 

This comes as the Conservative Party deals with yet another MP loss on the same day, February 15, in the Wellingborough seat, as Labour’s candidate Gen Kitchen became the new MP in Wellingborough, flipping the Tory majority of 18,000 votes. 

The wider Labour party had also dealt with a fall-out from last week, which saw the party withdraw support from two of their candidates, Azhar Ali, the Labour candidate for Rochdale, and Graham Jones, the former MP for Hyndburn in Lancashire who was seeking re-election, over their criticism of Israel. 

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